Last week, I reported on the Huffington Post about CNN's appalling coverage of anti-war protests that marked the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.
This week, CNN responded by mocking the criticism and dismissing it as "rabid."
Here's the kicker. CNN actually pointed to Comedy Central's Daily Show to justify its decision to make a mockery of an issue as serious as Iraq and the anti-war movement.
In October, 2004, Jon Stewart appeared on CNN's Crossfire, and shamed the show's host Tucker Carlson for "hurting America" with partisan hackery posing as news, and attempting to justify it by comparing Crossfire to The Daily Show:
CNN's Jeanne Moos -- along with Glenn Beck, Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs and so many others -- should have been sitting next to Tucker Carlson to get schooled by Jon Stewart.
Here's the real irony. According to Pew Research, Daily Show viewers are actually better informed than people who watch cable news. Fifty percent of Daily Show viewers could name the Sunni branch of Islam, compared to only 41 percent of CNN viewers. A similar gap came about for identifying Scooter Libby (44% to 36%) and identifying Vladimir Putin (52% to 41%). CNN ended up in the middle of the pack; the worst performers were viewers of FOX (surprise), local TV news and network morning shows.
Spiro Agnew famously said, "Bad news drives out good news." These faux-TV journalists and their producers are omitting the most important stories at home and abroad so that they can obsess on horserace election punditry, and in their worst moments, trivialize issues like war and immigration.
Let's not forget that these people are on TV because the industry is owned by a handful of companies obsessed with profitmaking. Let's not forget that merely complaining and calling them out will not ultimately fix the problem. For that, we have to engage in media reform issues, stop media consolidation, protect the future of the Internet, and foster more critical, independent media. Otherwise, we're wasting our time as much as they are.
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