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Why I beat up CNN so often (and Imus is an idiot)

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I had intended this post to be yet another beat-down on CNN for some inanity by folks who ought to know better. So here’s the beat-down first:

I bristle at the apparent requirement that CNN correspondents and anchors label events with their personal opinions. I resent the rampant opinion tossed around loosely (without “commentary” tags) when they ought to be just giving me the “facts.”

Over the past day, reporting on the Don Imus case of footus giganticus in his mouth, anchors and correspondents have provided characterizations of the facts, apparently assuming I have no mind of my own. Just gimme the news, for chrissakes. I’ll attach my own label and opinion to the news.

Said CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in “The Situtation Room” on Tuesday:

First of all, congratulations on an amazing, amazing season. You and your young women did what a lot of people thought was impossible. And what a horrible, horrible way to see all that success undermined by what Don Imus did. [emphasis added]

I know it’s horrible, Mr. Blitzer. I don’t need you to tell me that. Stick to the facts, please. Moralize on your time.

Said correspondent Jim Acosta on the “Paula Zahn Now” show in closing his report Tuesday:

The Scarlet Knights also graciously stopped short of calling for Imus to step down. They may have lost the national championship game, but these ladies proved today what winners really are. [emphasis added]

Don’t tell me who’s gracious or who’s really a winner, Mr. Acosta. Just do the reporting. I’ll assign my opinion to the facts. I don’t need yours.

Said CNN’s Soledad O’Brien today on CNN’s “American Morning”:

I think I would like to watch that apology and the fallout from that apology from a bunch of angry, young women. That would be good TV. [emphasis added]

At least Ms. O’Brien speaks plainly. I wonder if she realized she’d clearly explained why the Imus fiasco is getting so much air.

But … a commenter last week asked me why I beat up CNN with such regularity. I wrote a lengthy, elegant (of course), reasoned (absolutely!) explanation.

But the real reason I didn’t learn until working on this post. I wanted to check ABC, NBC and CBS anchors, reporters and airheads to see how they characterized Imus’ hairdo critique.

But that’s harder. Google them with the word “transcript.” You gotta pay for ’em, and they’re not quickly available. Lexis Nexis requires membership (and it’s a touch cumbersome through my university’s library when you’re trying to work quickly). And I don’t have Jon Stewart’s Daily Show staff cranking through hours of video to find just the right clip. You can find transcripts, but it takes time or money.

But CNN posts — for free — rush transcripts on CNN.com almost immediately. That makes it possible to examine CNN’s product more closely — and quickly — than most on-air journalism.

I admire that. I appreciate CNN’s willingness to let itself be inspected so closely. I just hope CNN doesn’t figure out that I’d pay for those transcripts just to keep harping on what I don’t like about CNN’s journalism.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 11, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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