For the youngsters out there, once upon a time, CNN was pretty much down the middle. The fledgling network covered news — real news, not fake news — and worked hard to be on site wherever news was happening. When something happened, that was the place to go.
But those days are long gone. Watch any 10 minutes of CNN, and now you’ll see nothing more than a nonstop — and often vicious — diatribe against President Trump.
Under the lead of former NBC head Jeff Zucker, CNN has become a far-left network that harangues the right and praises the left, almost nonstop. “News” is secondary. Now it’s all about pushing an agenda and toeing the line for the liberal overlords.
Case in point: Harvard released a study last week that analyzed The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the main newscasts on CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during Mr. Trump’s first 100 days. No shocker here: 80 percent was negative, just 20 percent positive.
That’s a big change from the past. When the Chosen One, Barack Obama, completed his first 100 days, a similar study found that coverage was 59 percent positive, 41 percent negative. Skewed, but not that bad. The numbers were flipped for George W. Bush, of course: 57 percent negative, 43 percent positive. For Bill Clinton, way back in 1993, in the days when news was news (which means reporters were hard on the president regardless of his political affiliation), the coverage was 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive.
“The Harvard team found that CBS coverage was 91 percent negative and 9 percent positive. New York Times coverage was 87 percent negative and 13 percent positive,” Byron York wrote in the Washington Examiner. “Washington Post coverage was 83 percent negative and 17 percent positive. Wall Street Journal coverage was 70 percent negative and 30 percent positive. And Fox News coverage also leaned to the negative, but only slightly: 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive.”
Huh. So Fox really is “fair and balanced.”
And CNN? The Harvard researchers found CNN’s Trump coverage was 93 percent negative, 7 percent positive. “Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity,” wrote the authors of the Harvard study.
Want proof? The Media Research Center did an exhaustive study on just how biased CNN has become, according to a report covering 20 hours, from 4 a.m. May 12 until midnight.
“After excluding commercials, teases and promos, our analysts found 13 hours, 27 minutes of actual news coverage, an average of just over 40 minutes per hour. Of that, a whopping 92 percent (12 hours, 19 minutes) was devoted to the Trump presidency, with a mere 68 minutes — a little more than three minutes per hour — devoted to all of the other news of the day.
With a few respites for Mr. Trump’s then-upcoming Middle East trip and an upcoming “Saturday Night Live” episode, “CNN used that time to endlessly analyze the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, then a three-day-old story,” MRC reported.
“Much of that airtime consisted of interviews and panel discussions giving their assessment of Trump. MRC tallied 123 appearances by guests or panelists over the course of the day. Many of CNN’s analysts showed up in multiple newscasts, each of which would count as a separate appearance,” MRC wrote.
According to MRC, most of CNN’s guests that day (96, or 78 percent of the total) were Trump critics, with just seven guests being pro-Trump and 13 guests ruled “neutral” by MRC.
CNN’s own “journalists” were even worse.
“Looking just at CNN’s own on-air talent, the results were even more tilted, with 69 appearances by anti-Trump analysts, vs. just two for pro-Trump analysts,” MRC wrote.
“The imbalance in guests was amplified by the frequent editorializing of CNN’s own hosts and anchors. During the 7 a.m. hour of “New Day,” host Chris Cuomo referred to clips of White House officials struggling to explain the decision to fire Comey as “the mendacity montage, because it’s just filled with lies.” Opening his noonhour “Inside Politics,” CNN host John King hyped that the “initial White House account of how and why Comey was fired lies in shambles, reduced to a heap of falsehoods,” MRC wrote.
So it’s no surprise that last week, famed “journalist” Anderson Cooper said to political commentator Jeffrey Lord, who was defending Mr. Trump: “If he took a dump on his desk, you would defend it.”
Yes, that’s journalism today, kids. And it’s going to get so much worse. That you can count on.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter via @josephcurl.