Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple attended CNN’s Townhall event with Hillary Clinton Tuesday and reports that the network not only brought in a Clinton-friendly crowd but at various times a stage handler taught and directed the crowd to applaud.
CNN later told Wemple no partisan fishing was used to bring in the townhall audience. But as Wemple points out, when you send invitations out for an event in Washington DC (a district where 91% of residents voted for Obama), it’s pretty obvious who is going to show up.
Why CNN didn’t use its considerable financial resources to fly in a politically diverse audience or hold the townnhall in a nearby part of Virginia more representative of our politically diverse electorate, can only be answered one way: The network chose not to.
The benefits of CNN’s choice for Mrs. Clinton were obvious to anyone who tuned in. The net effect of a bluer than blue audience could be seen in the questioning. The potential presidential candidate was either softballed or hit with questions based on a left-wing premise (like gay marriage).
Even with an audience packed with ringers, quite incredibly, CNN still felt the need to manipulate applause for Clinton during what was advertised as a news event. Wemple writes:
To add “energy” to its show (attended by the Erik Wemple Blog), CNN deployed an enthusiastic stage director who coached the audience to applaud at various points throughout the broadcast — not in a partisan manner for Clinton, but for the sake of the town hall’s television optics. Approximately 15 minutes before the show, the producer ran the audience through a practice round of applause and noise-making. The results of the audience-prodding turn up in the show’s video.
Throughout the nineties, critics described CNN as the Clinton News Network due to what was perceived as the network’s permanent posture in boosting and protecting President Bill Clinton throughout two terms filled with controversy, numerous fundraising scandals, and eventual impeachment.
Over the past year, CNN’s reputation has has been damaged even further under the guidance of of its new chief Jeff Zucker, who has taken the network even further left. The network’s increasing hostility towards Christians and conservatives has only been equaled by its zeal to protect and boost Democrats.
Sinking in the ratings, the embattled network has become a laughingstock (even among its ideological allies on the left) due its obsessions with poop cruises, missing airplanes, and whales.
On top of that, the once most trusted name in news has been hit with damning ethical scandals surrounding its collaboration with Democrat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office for the 8-part series “Chicagoland.”
In April of last year, a memo surfaced proving what many suspected: that the network was devoting its news coverage to push for gun control.
A personal scandal rocked Zucker himself when reports surfaced of his teenage son’s bizarre business dealings with a Democrat Senator.
Between its anchors being brought to tears of joy by Barack Obama, the intentional misreading of the Bible to push the hoax surrounding global warming, a plagiarism scandal, and wondering aloud if space aliens absconded with a passenger plane, CNN’s self-inflicted errors have brought it to a reputation and ratings point lower than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.
The Tuesday Townhall with former Secretary of State Clinton was an opportunity for the network to make news by bearing down with tough questions for a potential American president.
Unfortunately, CNN seems incapable of changing its nature and what it delivered instead Tuesday is what has become the norm: a fit of audacious bias creating unforced errors that results in yet another ethics scandal.
The only good news for CNN is that the network is in such terrible shape, hardly anyone tuned into to witness the townhall debacle. Wemple noted that the much-hyped Clinton appearance barely manged to beat the low-rated Ed Schultz on MSNBC.