- - Tuesday, May 28, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

CNN has been bashing Donald Trump from the day the billionaire announced he was running for president.

It hasn’t been pretty. In May 2017, Harvard University researchers found in a study that CNN’s coverage of President Trump was 93% negative, just 7% positive. “CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting — negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks,” the study noted. “Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity.”

So it’s hard to imagine that it has gotten worse — but it has.

With its endless negative coverage, the liberal network has now gone so far as to boot out conservative voices it had deigned to put on the air. Some of the ousted have begun to speak out about being fired by CNN, saying the network is “anti-Trump” and “openly despises conservatives.”

“Most of us got squeezed out involuntarily,” Jack Kingston, a former Georgia congressman who appeared on the network, told Mediaite. “I was there for two years and was certainly willing to continue. It was clear to me in the end that the Republicans they prefer are anti-Trump Republicans.”



CNN has been nuking conservative contributors over the past several months. Last week, the network fired former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli after reports emerged that he was in the running for a Department of Homeland Security post in the Trump administration.

The network also canned economic analyst Stephen Moore after Mr. Trump said he was going to nominate him to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. CNN and other outlets reported about old comments Mr. Moore made about women and President Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, and Mr. Moore withdrew his name from consideration.

Mr. Moore wasn’t happy. “CNN is the hate Trump network,” he said. “They just trash Trump every single hour of every single day. All they’ve talked about for two years is the [special counsel Robert] Mueller report — and how bad does it make them look now that it proved nothing?”

After Mr. Mueller’s highly anticipated report on alleged collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia came and went in April with a whimper, CNN’s prime-time ratings plunged 26% from the same period in 2018. CNN suffered its lowest-rated month in viewers since October 2015, according to Nielsen Media Research’s ratings. CNN had just 767,000 average prime-time viewers, down from 1.04 million in April 2018.

Bryan Lanza, a former Trump campaign deputy communications director, said the plunging numbers are because CNN is now purely “anti-Trump.”

“If you hate Trump, you tune to CNN to validate your hatred,” Mr. Lanza told Mediaite. “Not sure it’s a winning formula — and I’m validated by their last-place performance against other outlets.”

Wait, there’s more: CNN has fired other conservatives, such as contributors Jeffrey Lord, who served as an associate political director in the administration of President Reagan, and Ed Martin, the former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and the co-author of a book called “The Conservative Case for Trump.”

The contract for former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer was not renewed, and former Trump campaign and administration officials Corey Lewandowski, Marc Short and Jason Miller all ended up being bounced from the network’s rotation.

CNN used to pretend it accepted right-wing voices for balance, but now it openly despises conservatives who are pro-Trump,” former CNN contributor Buck Sexton, a talk-show host, told Mediate. “Today the entire enterprise clings to a fundamental dishonesty: that it has no political agenda. Taking down Trump is obviously the agenda. And in this regard, some of CNN’s ‘hard news’ anchors are the biggest journalistic frauds of all.”

The network told Mediaite that it still has conservative contributors, including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former George W. Bush appointee Scott Jennings, Trump campaign adviser David Urban, political commentator Steve Cortes, former Utah Rep. Mia Love and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Wait, Mr. Kasich? “Who are the Republicans, John Kasich? He hates Trump,” Mr. Moore said.

CNN was once a great news network (it really was). There was Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left, and CNN was in the middle. But those days are gone, long gone. Now, the network can’t stand anyone saying something positive about a Republican president.

Then there’s this: Americans are smart and they don’t like being treated like idiots. And that’s why Fox has risen to the top of the heap with a simple slogan: We report, you decide.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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