This week’s abrupt resignation by CNN President Jeff Zucker brought fresh attention to the network’s questionable ethical practices and how reality differs from the outward image CNN attempts to convey. Many years ago, CNN was an actual news network, but in recent years the content and commentary has devolved into frenzied sensationalism and low-quality analysis. This devolution is well documented in the book ‘Slanted’ written by Sharyl Attkisson who worked as an anchor at CNN during the 1990s.
Ironically, CNN has historically referred to itself as “The Most Trusted Name in News,” but this moniker is now a bad joke and a glaring example of modern day Newspeak. No single individual at CNN is solely responsible for the network’s downward spiral, although much of the blame does lie with Zucker, who started his role in 2013. However, between Brian Stelter, Jim Acosta, and many others, there is no shortage of CNN’s on-air talent who have been major contributors to this steep decline.
For a network that continuously decries ‘Fake News,’ misinformation, and disinformation, CNN sure spreads plenty of this brand of content on its own airwaves. It seems to be a classic case of projection. Take your pick for the most egregious fake news from CNN in recent years; the list grows every week.
There are of course the numerous lies related to Covid-19. The ‘Lab Leak’ is a baseless conspiracy theory. Masks are effective in stopping the spread of the virus. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Joe Rogan took horse dewormer. Andrew Cuomo deserves to be lauded for his handling of Covid in the state of New York.
Lies, fabrications, classic fake news. You could never begin to count all of the examples, but here are some more. The phony Trump-Russia dossier ‘has been corroborated.’ President Trump has been successfully blackmailed by Vladimir Putin. Brett Kavanaugh is an attempted rapist. Border Patrol agents struck Haitian migrants with whips. Joe and Hunter Biden’s business dealings were all above board and the story about Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
This only begins to scratch the surface. How could anyone now believe what they hear from CNN given this history? The answer is clear, virtually no one does lend credence to CNN’s coverage these days. Their dismal ratings bear this out. Rather than engage in introspection and alter its current direction, CNN’s strategy is to smear its media competitors in an attempt to save its own sinking ship. This is predictably failing as well, but it explains why CNN is at the forefront of the current push to censor Joe Rogan’s popular podcast.
Jeff Zucker’s departure has opened the door for CNN to make desperately needed changes to begin regaining any credibility, assuming this is even possible given the amount of damage done to its reputation. However, this change is not to be expected, and Newton’s First Law is likely more applicable. A body in motion stays in motion, and in this case, a failing network in decline stays in decline.