Throwback Thursday: “The Problem Isn’t YouTube, It’s CNN”

bloggers-coxThe problem is CNN? Don’t take my word for it—take the word of someone who works for a corpporate sibling to CNN.

This Cable Gamer has always been a fan of Ana Marie Cox, ever since her Wonkette days. Indeed, since she went to Time magazine, I have worried that her distinctive voice, both saucy and fearless, was going to be lost.

But I felt better when I saw this piece of hers, on the Republican backlash to a future debate to be sponsored by CNN and YouTube.

It would have been easy for Cox to heap all the blame on the Republicans, for being killjoys in the face of new technology. But instead, Cox dived straight into the heart of the issue, which is anti-Republican bias.

Her piece was fair, but it included this important graf:

The view from the right was less favorable about the impact of this technological shift on politics. White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters that the President had not even watched, saying Bush was “not big on YouTube debates.” Hugh Hewitt, a popular right-wing blogger and radio talk show host, got more specific about what conservatives might object to in a CNN/YouTube debate—he alleged that CNN cherrypicked the submissions for biased questions that a “responsible” journalist wouldn’t ask: “the CNN team used the device of the third-party video to inject a question that would have embarrassed any anchor posing it.” One staffer for a Republican candidate now leaning toward not participating put it this way: “The problem isn’t YouTube, it’s CNN.”

Those last words are worth noting, and repeating, and re-bolding:

“The problem isn’t YouTube, it’s CNN.”

In other words, Republican presidential hopefuls, and the GOP overall, are starting to wise up—CNN is not their friend. In fact, it’s an enemy—a bad enough enemy to make some Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, say that they won’t take part.

But at the same time, hats off to Cox, because CNN, of course, is owned by Time-Warner, which also owns her employer, Time magazine. So for Cox to put this dig at CNN in print—well, she has made a gutsy and important contribution she has made to the proper understanding of media coverage in the 2008 presidential race. And that understanding includes the fact that two of the three cable news networks, “MSDNC” and CNN, are pretty much openly siding with the Democrats now.

Still, TCG hopes that the Republicans attend the debate, becxause on principle, TCG objects to boycotts, by either side. Why? Because they hurt the free discourse of ideas and thus hurt The Cable Game overall. So I don’t want to see the GOP boycott the upcoming CNN/YouTube debate—I want to see CNN play it straight.

Even you, La Anderson Cooper!

And yet it seems as though the boycott mania is spreading, viz. this signficant article from the AP’s TV veteran David Bauder, headlined, “Liberals Going After Fox Advertisers.” The liberals can’t change Fox—because as we know, FNC is fair, balanced, and unafraid.

But liberal boycotts can set loose conservative counter-boycotts, and thus cause an escalating arms race of boycotts, which would be bad for all of us who want a lively Cable Game. So TCG hopes that the GOP plays in the next debate, scheduled for September 17, and that CNN earns back at least a little of the trust that it has lost over the last decade or so.

Original comments:

Anonymous said…
Great piece of writing! Could you follow-up on this specific subject?

Reposted from The Cable Game, 28 July 2007

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