CNN is on the fast track to losing what little is left of its credibility. In a perfect storm of embarrassing revelations, retractions, “resignations," and missteps that would make the Three Stooges look coordinated by comparison, the network is poised for self-destruction. Rather than taking a step back to evaluate and adjust course, CNN is doubling down on its stock-in-trade: fake news, fake news, and more fake news.
CNN has had a rough few months. After being called out by President Trump as “fake news,” CNN — rather than slowing down — escalated its coverage of allegations that Trump has connections to and is in collusion with Russia. When Project Veritas began releasing videos last week showing that CNN producers and commentators knew that narrative was “bulls**t” and “a big nothingburger” being pawned off on unsuspecting American voters who the employees of CNN think are “stupid as s**t”, CNN again doubled down on producing more and more fake news.
In the last few days alone, the liberal news network has been called out for several instances of varying degrees of fake news. It is beginning to appear that CNN — having lived for so long in a fantasy bubble of its own making — has lost sight of what journalism is even supposed to look like.
On July 4 — ostensibly to merge the network’s twisted view of celebrating the 241st anniversary of American independence with a chance to get in a cheap shot at the president — CNN tweeted a quote from Abraham Lincoln. The quote was, “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” There are two problems with that quote, though. The first is that it is more than a little hard to accept a quote — aimed at what CNN calls Trump’s “war on the press” — about facts when that quote is being published by a network that has demonstrated, time and again, that it does not have more than a passing acquaintance with facts. The second problem with the quote serves to illustrate that assertion: The quote is bogus: Lincoln never said or wrote those words. They are a rough paraphrase of a statement made after Lincoln was assassinated. So, not only did CNN get the source wrong, but in keeping with its editorial standard, it misquoted the wrong source. That is a fake news two-for-one combo.
In that same Twitter thread, CNN also quoted Benjamin Franklin as saying, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom — and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” Set aside the ridiculousness of CNN (which was in the middle of intimidating and coercing an anonymous redditor to delete a video meme and other posts CNN found objectionable, issue an apology, and agree never to post such things again or CNN would reveal his identity) quoting anyone about the value of free speech. The salient point here is that Franklin — like Lincoln above — is not the source of those words. They were written February 4, 1720, by British essayists John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon as part of Cato’s Letters, a fact the “journalists” at CNN could have known by simply checking their sources — something that is taught in all journalism schools.
If all CNN did was misquote and mis-attribute, it would be bad enough, though it could probably just be chalked up to sloppy journalism. But, wait; there’s more.
The following day, CNN ran a piece claiming that “Forty-four states and DC have refused to give certain voter information to Trump commission.” If true, that report would highlight a major failing of the Trump administration. And maybe that’s why CNN reported it. One thing is certain: Journalistic integrity had nothing to do with CNN reporting it, because it is not true. Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity Kris Kobach told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday that the real number of states refusing to cooperate is 14. “At present 20 states have agreed to provide the publicly available information requested by the commission and another 16 states are reviewing which information can be released under their state laws,” Kobach said, adding, “In all, 36 states have either agreed or are considering participating with the Commission's work to ensure the integrity of the American electoral system.” Kobach called CNN’s report “patently false” and “more ‘fake news.’”
Following up on that, CNN’s Chris Cillizza retweeted a selectively edited video clip of Poland’s president and first lady meeting with President and First Lady Trump. Cillizza’s comment on the video was a very adult:
In the video, First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda appears to snub President Trump by refusing to shake his hand, walking past him to shake the hand of Melania Trump. The video — all three seconds of it — seems pretty convincing. But only because of where it’s cut off. Because, as a longer version of the video shows, First Lady Duda immediately turned to President Trump and warmly shook his hand as well.
Reports that his wife had refused to shake Trump’s hand led President Andrzej Duda to tweet, “Contrary to some surprising reports my wife did shake hands with Mrs. and Mr. Trump @POTUS after a great visit. Let's FIGHT FAKE NEWS.”
One would expect a “journalist” with Cillizza’s experience to know better than to tweet something (especially using his official @CillizzaCNN handle) without spending the requisite 10 seconds it would have taken to do a quick Internet search. But — like many of his comrades at CNN — Cillizza appears to allow his love of liberalism and hatred of Trump to blind him to whatever journalistic inclinations he might otherwise have.
And there’s the rub. CNN was the first all-news channel in the United States and the first to provide 24-hour news coverage. Since its founding in 1980, it has grown into an empire. Now, as more information about the network comes to light, it is apparent that that empire was built on lies and false reporting designed to manipulate American voters. Now that CNN’s house of cards is crumbling under its own weight, it appears there may soon be one less spin machine deceiving the American people.