President Donald Trump re-ignited his long-running feud with CNN this past weekend.
.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2017
CNN responded, as usual, by treating Trump’s criticism as an assault on the freedom of the press in general. And CNN’s public relations department rejected any responsibility, despite being a widely-recognized American brand, to represent the country abroad.
“It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world,” the PR department tweeted. “That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.”
They concluded with the network’s oft-mocked new slogan, “#FactsFirst,” as if to suggest that was the fundamental principle guiding editorial policy.
No one believes that facts are CNN’s top priority — perhaps not even at CNN. The network’s real brand at the moment — one its anchors barely conceal on air, and reveal to the world on their personal Twitter accounts — is opposition to Trump.
Its most prominent personalities contort themselves to present that opposition as a kind of objective necessity, dictated by the behavior of the president. But it reflects CNN’s deeper left-wing political sentiments.
One of the reasons that CNN — as opposed to MSNBC — is such a target for abuse, from both right and left, is that it is trying to con its audience in broad daylight, pretending to be even-handed while it has a thumb on the scales.
On Monday morning, for example, CNN discussed President Trump’s fight with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as if he had broken his promise to side with “the little guy” against Wall Street. That conceit was taken for granted by everyone on air.
Not one analyst pointed out that the CFPB, and the Dodd-Frank legislation that created it, had hurt the “little guy” by making credit less accessible to people who need it. Not one pointed out that it violated the checks and balances of the Constitution, the ultimate protector of the “little guy”and his rights. The Democratic Party line on the CFPB — big government good, banks bad — was simply presented as the truth.
That kind of bias is constant at the network, visible to all but those who work there. MSNBC agrees with CNN’s partisan political perspective, but is honest about the fact that it has one. CNN pretends its prejudices are “facts.”
What is worse is that CNN’s con is then broadcast to the world. Viewers overseas are essentially subjected to the Democratic Party point of view, and told it represents the full spectrum of American political opinion.
When CNN anchors rail against Trump, audiences abroad see that America hates its president, and that the (largely invisible) American conservatives are strange and loathsome creatures. Viewers calibrate their own opinions accordingly. They have few other sources of international news on TV, aside from the BBC and Al Jazeera, neither of which is substantially different from CNN in its left-wing bias. CNN also provides little contrast to their views on America.
Most of those problems predate Trump. What has happened since is that CNN and its staff have become totally consumed by their ongoing confrontation with Trump.
The irony is that their reactions to him are so excessive that they often provide him with a useful political foil.
Trump has made CNN — even more than the “failing” New York Times — a symbol of the hated media elite and political establishment. And they can’t help helping him.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.