A political science professor of mine once summed up the three major American news networks, “If you’re liberal, you watch MSNBC. If you’re conservative, you watch Fox. If you’re a wet noodle, you watch CNN.”
CNN makes an adorable effort to be the hard-hitting, more-or-less moderate reporting, but as a network, it seems to have a collective habit of putting foot into mouth. 2015 has yet to top March 2014’s hard-hitting investigation by Don Lemon into black holes stealing the Malaysian Airlines flight, but they’re clearly doing their best.
“ISIS lures women with kittens, Nutella”
CNN’s “Newsroom” aired a segment detailing the Islamic State’s efforts to recruit Westerners, particularly women, through social media and propaganda videos showing ways in which desert warfare is not so unlike life as we know it after all. The news graphic and network tweets however, grossly oversimplified the complicated, oddball story.
Politifact’s Katie Sanders explained that there is, or at least was, a disturbing yet also kind of hilarious Twitter account @ISILCats, but this is much more the oddity than the rule.
“There it is. The extra podium, just in case Vice President Biden decides to show up.” –Jim Acosta, at the Democratic Debates
CNN really wants Joe Biden to run for president. He was the weird, implied elephant that wasn’t actually anywhere near the room around the time of the Democratic Debates in Las Vegas, but that didn’t stop CNN from trying. They left a spare podium for the man and a distinct declaration that he would be able to participate if he declared his candidacy even the day of the event.
I’m inclined to believe it’s CNN trying to get a Democrat who speaks a little more off-the-cuff to pull in ratings, not unlike how Donald Trump’s presence at last month’s Republican debates made the affair a soundbite goldmine.
Acosta’s particular delivery of the situation came off as somewhat sad and needy, and more of a cringe worthy side effect of how television reporting works than any actual political or news contribution.
“As has been known to happen in Vegas, could someone get overly aggressive, causing a rival to lose a piece of an ear?” –Jake Tapper, at the Democratic Debates
Television news has to be entertaining, a little bit, or it’s just C-SPAN. Anchors are paid to present the news in a digestible fashion. Some take on suave personalities, some reputable and some get by on snappy analogies and sheer oddity.
Jake Tapper was almost certainly joking when he said it, but this doesn’t distract from the fact that, literally or figuratively, Jake Tapper said he thought about Bernie Sanders biting Lincoln Chafee. At least in passing.
"It's so exciting to see Nancy Reagan, 94 years old, and she's here. She'll be enjoying this evening I'm sure,” –Wolf Blitzer, at September’s Republican Debate
It wasn’t Nancy Reagan. It was probably just the first older woman that Blitzer saw at the debate. And it’s not exactly a flattering comparison either. Nancy Reagan doesn’t look bad for her age, but she is 94.
Christopher McDermott is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.