Good CNN and Bad CNN on Display in One Day

In one day, CNN showed its best self, its worst self, and its need for some improvement on a key news story.

The day started with Chris Cuomo pushing out a story from a kid claiming he could buy a AR-15 with expired identification. If one bothered reading the story, one would have read the kid admitting he did not actually go through with the purchase. Like most gun stores, the kid asked to see a particular gun and the shop let him hold it. Cuomo, when confronted with the truth, attacked the people who pointed out the truth claiming they were somehow attacking the kid who lied.

Then CNN took an unfortunate turn. One of their really good reporters who I actually know and think very highly of, confronted an elderly lady in Florida who had shared stuff on Facebook and participated in some rally that had actually been orchestrated by Russian trolls. CNN had also given media attention to that rally. But instead of confronting its own ability to be played by the Russian trolls, CNN harassed the senior citizen in a conversation that ended with her walking away muttering expletives. Later, the lady show her Facebook page targeted by leftwing trolls.

The story could have been a good one. The lady clearly had no idea she had been played. And I cannot help but think that had CNN gone in a different direction with it, they could have helped the lady realize she'd been played without also making her look like a belligerent fool. It was unfortunate and showed a lack of recognition that the network itself had been duped.

On this one, I actually hope they try again and I actually hope they also find Democrats who participated in anti-Trump rallies organized by the Russians. Otherwise I think they do a real disservice to the story, which is that Russia played everybody off everybody. All sides were duped.

But then there was last night's townhall. I see lots of people blowing up CNN for the townhall, but allow me to defend them.

You aren't going to get a lot of pro-gun attendees at one of these things. I am positive, given the demographics of the school, that there are parents and students who believe in expanding gun rights and not restricting gun rights. But those people are not going to show up at a townhall like that when many of the people already committed to being there wanted to be vocally anti-gun.

CNN, though, did a real service by inviting Republicans, the NRA, etc. to weather the storm and I think the network treated them fairly and respectfully. I have seen some complain about the stacking of the deck in favor of gun control. I don't think you could have found second amendment advocates from the school willing to show up. It's not that they are not there. It's that they don't want to be the skunk at the party and they would have been. That's not CNN's fault.

What the network did was allow people to air grievances and feel like they were being heard. Whether anything comes of it I won't hold my breath. And I would caution the network that it walks a fine line between advocacy on the issue and reporting on the issue. Many of its anchors and reporters are in favor of more gun control and they risk the network careening towards advocacy when, I think, they did a good job actually just letting the conversation happen last night.

I tend to prefer the news portion at CNN more than most other networks because I think they do a good job of bring both sides in. I wish Chris Cuomo could be as respectful of conservatives as most of his anchor co-workers are. And I wish CNN would approach the Russia story differently than they did yesterday. But CNN knows how to put on a townhall and I applaud them for their effort last night. Yes it was one sided. But that wasn't CNN's fault.

Comments
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NeilMcKenna
NeilMcKenna

There is a new show on CNN that might really surprise a lot of conservatives. Van Jones (yes, the same Van Jones that Fox News attacked so relentlessly during his brief time in the Obama administration) has spent the last few months excoriating progressives over their unreasoning anger at Trump and general "we're right, you're wrong" attitude toward conservatives, urging them to try and understand where conservatives are coming from (and of course, vice versa). His featured guest last week was Megan McCain. The Van Jones Show airs on CNN at 7 p.m. EST. I'm not kidding: you may really be surprised at what you see.

NeilMcKenna
NeilMcKenna

In District of Columbia v. Heller, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. . . . For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. . . . [N]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." Scalia added in a footnote, "We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive."

Leftshot
Leftshot

Erick, I think you should check out the story about Colton Haab, a Junior ROTC member and student at the school. He brings evidence for a staged event where questions and comments were prearranged and planted and those with conservative views were pushed out. That would suggest there was no 'good CNN' to report.

nola06
nola06

I wish someone would really take a moment to analyze the root problem with school shootings vs doing what we love to do - ignore the problem and supply the band-aid. Eric, you have silently touched on the issue in previous articles and I am surprised you are not highlighting it now. The answer is not more guns - I have guns, so that is not what I am against. Does anyone really think that a coach in the gym carrying a gun in this school would have made this man think twice before entering and shooting? If, as reported tonight, the armed security guard did nothing - do we really think an unprofessional gun carrier can do more. My fear is that some disgruntled, disrespectful student is going to get pissed off over his 0 on his homework, overpower the teacher, grab the gun and start shooting. Therein lies the problem. We are raising a group, and from elementary school, of disrespectful, bitter and entitled students. The answer is to give BACK the power of discipline to the teachers and administrators. I raised 5 children and now 7 grandchildren in the public schools. I have spent many hours volunteering in different capacities and have often felt frightened for my wellbeing! I have watched school teachers turn a blind eye and administrators throw up their hands in defeat. And these are not inner-city schools, in fact much like Florida. I could go on - but I think my I've made my point. I have solutions - but who would listen to me. I'm just an average individual that gives a damn but can't do a thing about it. The one thing I will ask on this forum is if you have not spent time in your child's school - make a point to do so. We parents have an opportunity to be heard right now. Not only would we be saving our children from mass shootings, we could have an impact on bullying and teen suicide, (in addition giving our children a more meaningful education). All these issues are related to the lack of accountability in our youth and the inability of our teachers to make a difference - through no lack of effort on their part. And, if I may ask - why are we only hearing from the students from this school and not the teachers - I really would like to hear their solutions vs the emotional appeal a 17 year old or a politician that has never stepped inside a public school.