- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2018

CNN’s go-to so-called conservative pundit Ana Navarro — go-to only because she calls herself a conservative but hates Donald Trump with a passion, and that makes her a golden egg in the eyes of the left-leaning media — called the president a “racist pig” on national television.

This is what passes for intelligent discourse in the minds of CNN’s media honchos? This is why the American people have near to zero respect for and trust in the press.

Take away Trump, and you take away Navarro’s shiny celebrity star.

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But then again, take away Trump — and the anti-Trumping pundits of mainstream media — and you take away the media’s cash cows.

“Yes, Donald Trump has been good for the media business,” reported The Washington Post in October of 2016.

“Trump has helped make money for the ‘fake news media’ he so abhors,” wrote The Hill in August of 2017.

“Bill Maher Says the Media Is Compelled to Cover Trump Obsessively Because It’s Now Beholden to Finance,” reported Newsweek just this week.

In that last, Maher was quoted as telling “Real Time” guest Barbra Streisand that Trump is a constant topic of discussion in the media “because there’s money in it.”

Maher went on: “The media used to be a loss leader. They didn’t care if covering the news made money. And now it has to report to the stockroom like everybody else.”

Truth, that once-upon must-have of good journalism and reputable punditry? Yeah, that’s good. But insanity, hate, anger, drama — all that apparently sells just as well. 

Look at Navarro on CNN.

She’s built an entire career on hating this president, this White House, this administration, all the while masquerading as a true-blue Republican.

Back in Nov. 8, 2016, Navarro wrote an op-ed for CNN with this headline, “I’m voting for Hillary Clinton — and against Donald Trump.” At the top was this Editor’s Note: “Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and commentator, was national Hispanic campaign chairwoman for John McCain in 2008, national Hispanic co-chair for Jon Huntsman’s 2012 campaign and was supporting Jeb Bush’s candidacy for 2016.”

That’s CNN’s way of making it nice and noticeable that Navarro’s got a long history of Republicanism — until Trump came along, that is.

With that, Navarro has since etched herself a nice little niche as the “R” pin CNN taps without violating its cable corporate “D” pin leanings — the one who could be depended upon to viciously attack Trump on a regular televised basis, while bleating about her own conservative credentials — the one who could straight-face crow of her GOP affiliation while writing an op-ed, just this week, “Why I’m voting for Andrew Gillum (a Democrat!).”

It’s all good; well, maybe not for viewer hoping for some honest news. But it’s all good for the network bean-counters’ bottom lines, dontcha know.

Pew Research Center, in its most recent “State of the News Media” survey published this August, reported that “audiences for nearly every major sector of the U.S. news media fell in 2017 except for radio.” At the same time, “revenue for cable news continued to rise, up by 10% in 2017,” Pew wrote, citing combined numbers for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. 

That’s not to say the revenue rises are bad. But not all cable programming is equal.

Quality should still count. Quality should still mean something. So, too, should principled debate and common decency.

Navarro and her antics may make the money-counters at CNN happy. She may make the anti-Trumpers of the country happy. She may make the drama hounds of the nation happy. But what of the long-term repercussions for the field of journalism, and the ability of those of countering viewpoints to engage in civil chitchat, polite discussion and courteous banter?

Post-election, with emotions at an all-time high, would seem a fine time for the media to make its mark and emerge as the cooler voice of reasoning among the discontents and malcontents of the political world.

No doubt, that would mean shutting certain voices down — shutting out those with nothing of substance to offer from the televised stage — as well as perhaps setting aside short-term profits for long-term loyalties based on principled reporting.

But the opportunity’s ripe. The timing seems sound. Now if only the mainstream media would listen and take heed. 

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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