CNN: A Simple Twist of Fake


“We are not fake news” –CNN’s Jim Acosta

Sorry Jim Acosta, The Cable Gamer will be the judge of that. Let’s start with this:

Fox host compares 9/11 memorial to Confederate monuments, by CNN’s Tom Kludt.

As it turns out, Fox host Brian Kilmeade didn’t compare anything to anything. What’s more, he didn’t reference “Confederate monuments.” The only mention of “confederate” in the story is the one Tom Kludt inserted. And where did he get it from?

Fox’s Kilmeade asks if people will one day try to take down 9/11 memorials like they are with Confederate statues, by Media Matters staff.

Again the mention of “confederate” is not from Mr. Kilmeade. It’s inserted by the writers, the time the ones at Media Matters. And yet in a few hours time this invented angle has found its way to the reporters at CNN where they insert it, Media Matters style, into a discussion where it was never referenced–a shoddy bit of “reporting” if there ever was one. And the very definition of #FakeNews.

Media Matters is a partisan spin operation, a one-sided pressure group that seeks (and often succeeds) in pushing mainstream media to parrot its spin and talking points. It certainly achieved that goal with Tom Kludt. No matter that Brian Kilmeade has refuted this falsehood at length; CNN’s story makes no mention of his rebuttal. That would spoil the fakiness of the #FakeNews.

Fast forward to today. From Matt Gertz, Media Matters “Senior Fellow:”

One of CNN’s media reporting team quickly echoes the sentiment:

And if that wasn’t enough, CNN’s prestigious Jake Tapper fell into line as well:

Mr. Tapper obediently parroted the Media Matters spin,* and thereby contributed another dose of #FakeNews to CNN’s crumbling reputation. But did the White House spokesperson call for ESPN to fire anyone? Actually, no:

SANDERS: I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.

Your Cable Gamer has read that statement over and over, and has yet to see where Sanders called for anyone to be fired. To say “I think it’s a fireable offense by ESPN” is not to say “ESPN should fire her.” It’s a comment on the seriousness of the infraction, and does not call for, demand, or request anything. Long-time Cable Gamer “Spud” of Inside Cable News noted that, given ESPN past practices, it may in fact be a fireable offense:

So another twisting of the truth from Media Matters finds itself being spread by CNN’s allegedly nonpartisan reporters. What accounts for this? Who better to ask than the host of Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter?

Mr. Stelter has not responded.


* People don’t realize how much mainstream journos rely on Media Matters for their hot takes on current affairs. You wouldn’t know it from Jake Tapper’s tweet in isolation, but the chain is as clear as Tinker-Evers-Chance. It all started with Matt Gertz of Media Matters:

Matt Gertz was retweeted by Noah Rothman:

Rothman retweeted by Fallows.

And Fallows tosses to Jake Tapper:

Amazing how people, some of whom should know better, take Media Matters “reports” at face value. Do Mr. Tapper’s followers realize they are in effect reading Media Matters spin? No wonder some are starting to call him “Fake Tapper.”



  1. Pingback: Thursday Links and Open Thread – johnny dollar's place
  2. Tom Bennett

    You’re making an issue out of the fact that during a discussion about taking down statues (of all kinds) he didn’t explicitly say, “Confederate Statues.”

    That seems kind of petty to me. It appeared he was addressing the broader issue of all attempts to remove statues including those connected to the Civil War along with earlier historical figures like Thomas Jefferson. Eye of the beholder, right?

    To say “I think it’s a fireable offense by ESPN” is not to say “ESPN should fire her.” True. But the inference is so likely and plausible — even thought not technically accurate — that I suggest a little bit of carefully crafted semantics at work here. Nevertheless, point taken — at least by the hairsplitting folks.

    Finally, I agree that you make the case that MMFA is used as a source for CNN memes. Good job. Of course, the impact of your column is diminished by the fact most of us know that Fox News uses the Drudge Report the same way.

    Cheers and enjoy your day.


  3. gatxer

    The problem of course is that CNN is taking news tips about Fox News from a group that publicly announced they are at war with Fox News.

    As far as I know Drudge has never said hes at war with anybody….wasn’t aware that there was a meme that Fox news journalist’s use Drudge as for tips……..since drudge rarely tweets….find that hard to believe as true.


    • Tom Bennett

      You are correct to point out that Drudge is viewed differently than MMFA…at least by those on the right.

      Drudge is more of an unofficial barometer for right-wing sentiment like they were for the “Seth Rich murder embarrassment.”

      So is it a ‘guide’ or a ‘source’ like MMFA seems to be? The answer probably depends on which party you are aligned with.

      I remember a glaring example back in 2012 when Fox & Friends fell for Drudge’s misleading headline, “But No Time For Netanyahu” featuring a photo at the top of Drudge’s page of Obama sitting with a pirate — which turned out to be 3-yeras-old. (Albeit a long time ago.)

      Many on the right will suggest a MSM echo chamber on the left.
      Conversely, many on the left constantly talk about a onservative-media echo chamber.
      Neither sides hands are clean IMO.


  4. gatxer

    Well biggest difference between MMFA and Drudge……..almost no one on the right or center reads MMFA…….while both sides read Drudge…….including I might add Al Gore……hardly on the right.

    Also Drudge almost NEVER has his own posts on his site he just links to others work…..while MMFA is almost purely in-house stuff.

    Most complaints about Drudge seem to be that he links to too many right sites…….never mind he had a link to the Daily KOS right there on his site for years.


  5. Tom Bennett

    “Your Cable Gamer has read that statement over and over, and has yet to see where Sanders called for anyone to be fired.”

    A good point while it lasted.

    I just noticed Breitbart News has a video clip up of Sarah Sanders appearance on F&F this morning where she clarified her remarks by stating unequivocally that, “I think ESPN should take action.”


  6. gatxer

    What does take action mean? Written up????? Suspended?????? taken off the air?????? demoted???? Could your basis maybe be making you think it has to mean fired?????

    If I say a certain President is guilty of treason and the DOJ should take action……am I calling for him to be hanged???

    Should the headline of my statement say “GATXER calls for the President to be hanged till dead”

    You want it to mean something she NEVER said………nothing wrong with that……doesn’t make you right however.


      • Sydney Bloom

        Interesting that your Day 2 quote omits the rest of her response after “take action.” That’s in the best tradition of Media Matters style editing. Tell Gertz I said hi next time he pops by your cubicle.


  7. Sydney Bloom

    The point is not what she said the next day, or a week later, or told her next door neighbor. The point is what she said from the podium, and how it was misreported because of a cavalier, blind willingness to promote what people wanted to hear, conveniently planted by Media Matters. The Cable Gamer cares about accuracy, but nowadays there are too many people in the news business who don’t.


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