CNN Hurt Its Credibility

 

CNN is not wrong that the President of the United States ought to stop behaving like a clown. But they overshot this week.

As someone who has about the lowest possible tolerance for Trumpian vulgarity, I thought the imbroglio over the CNN logo gif was overwrought. This was an invitation to violence? Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies. But the gif? The original WWE clip was a joke. Superimposing the CNN logo on the face of Vince McMahon was a joke on top of a joke. It was bad taste, but not incitement.

CNN, not unlike Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, laughs all the way to the bank when Trump tangles with them. Like him, they’re in the eyeballs business. They might even subscribe to his philosophy that “all press is good press.” When he takes aim at them, it provides fodder for hour after hour of self-promotion disguised as news analysis. During the campaign, they earned eyeballs by lavishing (generally positive) coverage on him. Now that he’s president, they keep ratings up by denouncing him. Either way, it’s good for CNN.

The deep investigative report into the origins of the gif, however, makes CNN look vindictive and petty. Just as Trump ought not to “punch down,” neither should CNN. The network claims that the gif’s originator had also posted racist and anti-Semitic material in the past, and then issued a statement saying that out of concern for the man’s safety, they were withholding his identity. They added that the decision was subject to change if he didn’t behave himself.

Perhaps the gif-maker is a racist moron. So what? Are they going to police Reddit now? Maybe that would be good public hygiene, but CNN is chasing down a rabbit hole here. In order for this to reflect on Trump, they would have to somehow demonstrate that the president was familiar with the previous offensive posts and retweeted anyway, which might be true, but seems unlikely and impossible to prove. And now it appears that the gif-maker CNN found may not even be the right one.

The point, surely, is that the president of the United States spent God only knows how much time scrolling through internet garbage to find this gif.

With Donald Trump as president, we are living a reality TV show. He is doing what he has always done. He creates cliffhangers: Did he have tapes of his conversations with James Comey? Stay tuned. He picks fights with TV hosts, the mayor of London, and even his own party. He sows chaos. He warns. He taunts. He threatens. A staggering percentage of what he says, and instructs his minions to say, is false.

The CNN logo gif was a joke, but his attacks on anyone who criticizes him are not. His defenders call him a “counterpuncher.” But the president of the United States is not a tabloid celebrity trading jabs with other shallow publicity hounds willing to say anything to keep their ratings up.

If Donald Trump the TV star lashes out at Rosie O’Donnell, it’s entertainment (if you like that sort of thing). When the president of the United States launches a consistent campaign to delegitimize any news outlet that criticizes him (even harshly) as “fake news,” that’s corrosive. He has power now. It’s the job of the press to criticize him. Respect for the free press is American etiquette, not to mention law. And yes, of course Republicans get more biased coverage from most outlets than Democrats, but Trump should be able to shrug that off with a joke and a smile. His obsession with his enemies is beyond Nixonian (and remember how well that turned out). As only Sen. Ben Sasse has had the integrity to say, Trump is “weaponizing distrust” in an era when we are already crippled by mutual suspicion.

There is a seemingly inexhaustible well of antipathy toward the “MSM” in conservative world. I certainly have shared in it over the years, and probably contributed to it in some fashion. But I just cannot see that Trump’s hostility toward the “failing New York Times” and the rest has anything to do with conservatism. It’s all personal. He almost never knocks them for biased reporting on health care or regulation or even immigration. He seems hardly to notice anything that isn’t about himself.

And so, while CNN did itself no favors this week, the president who cannot see past his own nose has little standing to protest.

There are 39 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Nice attempt at a save by whoever wrote the title.

    Mona Charen: Superimposing the CNN logo on the face of Vince McMahon was a joke on top of a joke. It was bad taste, but not incitement.

    I’m trying to understand in what way the item was “bad taste”. Now, you might think professional wrestling is bad taste. But, as the OP notes, this was a joke on top of a joke (yes, this is how memes work!). So that can’t be it. Is it “bad taste” to make fun of the media? Why?

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    • #1
  2. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    A thought just came to my mind of an acquaintance (probably not pertinent, don’t know why it even popped up in my mind)…always talking, this acquaintance, and always says the same thing. Anyway it’s nice to hear from the great Mona Charen again. Thanks Mona.

    • #2
  3. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Mona Charen:Perhaps the gif-maker is a racist moron. So what? Are they going to police Reddit now?

    They want to. It’s their goal. They aren’t interested in informing the public. They want to inform on the public.

    • #3
  4. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    I forgot to mention, Just saw a special on GWB. He is really an honorable man. Our former President has become a portrait painter in his post Presidency. He paints portraits of incredible brave heroes, many of whom have sacrificed greatly while serving our country in our military. May God bless them.  President Bush will never forget them. Many were sent to battle under his orders. GW is a humble and good man. Unfortunately his character, good as it is, got him zero cred from the media. They constantly tore into him with nary a word in his own defense. And remember the movie about his imagined assassination? Remember all the Nazi chants by the left? Remember his poll numbers when he left office? What good did his wonderful Presidential demeanor do for our country? Well it produced President Barack Hussein Obama, for one.

    • #4
  5. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    If Donald Trump didn’t exist CNN would have to create him. The MSM exaggerates the flaws of everything right of center. Ignoring those who hated him didn’t work for George W. Bush. It wouldn’t work for Donald J. Trump.

    • #5
  6. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    cdor (View Comment):
    I forgot to mention, Just saw a special on GWB. He is really an honorable man. Our former President has become a portrait painter in his post Presidency. He paints portraits of incredible brave heroes, many of whom have sacrificed greatly while serving our country in our military. May God bless them. President Bush will never forget them. Many were sent to battle under his orders. GW is a humble and good man. Unfortunately his character, good as it is, got him zero cred from the media. They constantly tore into him with nary a word in his own defense. And remember the movie about his imagined assassination? Remember all the Nazi chants by the left? Remember his poll numbers when he left office? What good did his wonderful Presidential demeanor do for our country? Well it produced President Barack Hussein Obama, for one.

    Exactly.  Trump needs to be more like W so that he, too, can leave office with approval ratings in the single digits.

    Sarcasm off.

    I love and appreciate reason and dignity, but as Bush’s experience shows, most American voters don’t.  The only way we’re going to end this childish nonsense is to be so much better at it than the left that they’re begging for us to be calm and rational again.

    It’s no coincidence that our political discourse degenerated so rapidly during the years Republicans deigned themselves above the fray.  It was what would have happened if the good men of the Wild West decided all that gunplay was beneath them and refused to participate.

    • #6
  7. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Mona Charen: When the president of the United States launches a consistent campaign to delegitimize any news outlet that criticizes him (even harshly) as “fake news,” that’s corrosive.

    Not nearly as corrosive an illegitimate producer of “news” who day and night unfairly attacks the administration, with stories that not only baseless but are wholly fictional. There is more than enough to criticize the Trump administration over, yet they prefer to fling personal hyperbolic vitriolic attacks at Trump.

    CNN’s credibility isnt damaged, its gone.

     

     

    • #7
  8. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    I can’t disagree with anything Mona said, but the emphasis is wrong. The focus right now should be on CNN’s appalling behavior. Maybe Trump can stay off Twitter long enough for CNN to squirm a little longer.

    • #8
  9. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: When the president of the United States launches a consistent campaign to delegitimize any news outlet that criticizes him (even harshly) as “fake news,” that’s corrosive.

    Not nearly as corrosive an illegitimate producer of “news” who day and night unfairly attacks the administration, with stories that not only baseless but are wholly fictional. There is more than enough to criticize the Trump administration over, yet they prefer to fling personal hyperbolic vitriolic attacks at Trump.

    CNN’s credibility isnt damaged, its gone.

    Let’s not forget that “fake news” began as a phrase the media used to discredit anyone who threatened their narrative.  Now that it’s being thrown back in their faces, all of a sudden it’s “corrosive”.

    Moreover, I can think of little more “corrosive” than a monolithic, leftist, unelected media driving the narrative for decades while tarnishing the reputations of good people like W and Palin without any effective pushback.

    Unless you’ve got a hell of a lot more power than conservatives do today, the only way to win against those who fight as dirty as the MSM is to get a bit dirty yourself.  Yet such is beneath the dignity of the enlightened, meaning that to them the only noble course of action is to let the Left flush our country down the toilet so that we can remain unsullied.

    • #9
  10. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Suspira (View Comment):
    I can’t disagree with anything Mona said, but the emphasis is wrong. The focus right now should be on CNN’s appalling behavior. Maybe Trump can stay off Twitter long enough for CNN to squirm a little longer.

    Heaven forbid that Mona spend an entire article criticizing Trump’s opponents without criticizing Trump himself!

    I remember her “Hillary and Trump are both awful” columns being a quick introductory criticism of Hillary followed by paragraph after paragraph going after Trump.

    • #10
  11. Mrs. Ink Member
    Mrs. Ink
    @MrsInk

    Dear Ms. Charen,

    What is wrong with you?

    Have you forgotten that CNN was the most blatant of the MSM Obama tongue washers? Have you forgotten the CNN is the network that employed Kathy Griffin, who displayed a facsimile of Donald Trump’s severed head? The owners of which support the Trump assassination porn disguised as “Julius Caesar” in the NY Central Park production? And now, CNN put its vast resources to track down a nobody who had the temerity to poke fun at them, and then required the nobody to write a groveling apology or be exposed to the the violent, Antifa left?

    They aren’t a news organization, they are gangsters and thugs. They should be sued out of existence, on the grounds of actual malice.

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    • #12
  13. JcTPatriot Inactive
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    The problem here is that CNN wasn’t getting body-slammed because they “criticized” President Trump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    The problem is that CNN was LYING and publishing known-false narratives handed to them by the DNC in an effort to undermine the Presidency. That’s treason, Mona, and the fact that you believed (still believe?) the “Russian Interference” Hoax does not matter. It was a hoax, and everyone knows it now, and the President was well within his rights to keep body-slamming CNN because CNN ran a DNC narrative for 7 solid months, while knowing the entire time it was false.

    Perhaps you didn’t see the O’Keefe videos of CNN producers admitting the Russian Interference Hoax  was all lies?

    I am still waiting for your return to your former glory, where you wrote real Conservative articles, and not articles with subjects that allow you to constantly express your deep-seated hatred for our President. I miss Mona Charen so much. Will you ever return?

    • #13
  14. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    I missed that one @percival.  Can you show me please? Sorry, I’m from Missouri.

    • #14
  15. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Mrs. Ink (View Comment):
    Dear Ms. Charen,

    What is wrong with you?

    I can’t say for certain what’s in Mona’s heart, so as to “[w]hat is wrong with” her, I can only speculate based on what I observe.  I can’t attest to what’s really going on, but I can attest to what impression is being made.

    Perhaps were she called on to make the points her critics make for some debating exercise she’d do as well as any of us.  Maybe she understands the nuances of our arguments as well as we know them ourselves.  Ms. Charen may in fact “get it” and understand our points but merely disagree.

    However, if she ever directly engages her critics, I’ve yet to see it.  I’ve read countless well-reasoned refutations of her points in the comments of her posts (as well as some vitriol, I grant), and I believe I’ve seen her vaguely address anybody in the comments a grand total of once.

    Thus I’m led to conclude that she deems whatever we have to say as not worth addressing.  Whether it’s because she would blow us away with her insight but just has no time to spare for us, would find herself genuinely flummoxed by us and thus have to change her mind and/or admit she was wrong, or whether she’d just be forced to face the ferocious and unreasoned vitriol of the unwashed masses, she sees little reason to engage us.

    I’m aware that Ricochet contributors are under no official obligation to comment here, but Ricochet is a pretty interactive site on which lots of famous people actually interact with us.

    But Ms. Charen doesn’t.  Were we not living in a world where the great unwashed (us) feel like “the elite opinion makers” (like Charen) would love to just make us all go away, it might not matter if she left insightful criticism after insightful criticism unaddressed.  However, Ms. Charen doesn’t seem to realize that refusing to be in any way “in touch” with us makes her seem incredibly out of touch.

    Moreover, she’s blithely repeats points so often that have been so coherently criticized that she leaves the impression that she either genuinely doesn’t understand what we’re saying, or sees whatever we have to say as beneath her.  Even within the relatively few comments of this post I’d really like to see Mona address a couple of points, for if she’s right I want to find out why.

    But that won’t happen so I’ll revert back to my imperfect but faithful guide to my own correctness:  Usually, if somebody avoids addressing a case somebody’s making, it usually means they don’t have one of their own.

    I could be wrong, of course, but I doubt Ms. Charen will lift a finger to show me how.

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    cdor (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    I missed that one @percival. Can you show me please? Sorry, I’m from Missouri.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqkmJpUd6qs

    The last is Donny wanting to throw punches himself (after the punchee had been led off).

     

    • #16
  17. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    cdor (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    I missed that one @percival. Can you show me please? Sorry, I’m from Missouri.

    As a Trump supporter myself, I can vouch that it’s true.  Trump did make such an offer.

    I’m not as critical of it as others, though. Even though I’m not happy about it.

    At Trump rallies, protesters would spread themselves around the venue.  As soon as Trump started speaking, one of them would stand up and scream.  It took a while for security to get to them and to escort them out, bit there’d be screaming the entire time.  The rally came to a halt.

    So the second the idiot’s out the door and Trump starts his speech again, another protester does the same thing, same thousands of people’s time wasted because of one loud fool, same security and yelling the whole way out the door.

    And then repeat it all again.  Then again.  And again.

    Do you see how people might be a little tempted to stop the noise themselves, rather than wait another three minutes for security to do it?  Can you really blame somebody who might want to make it clear that disrupting others’ speech might result in a consequence that causes actual discomfort?  That if they start screaming they might not be able to stop the rally but could just wind up with a fat lip instead?

    I don’t like this as a solution, at all.  But I can’t think of anything else that would actually dissuade these morons, and voters have a right to hear politicians speak.  Being polite wasn’t cutting it.

    • #17
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    “The point, surely, is that the president of the United States spent God only knows how much time scrolling through internet garbage to find this gif.”

    Inspector Peter Sellers has a Clue So…,,,,maybe underlings show him stuff rather than him randomly internet surfing for hours for those gifs.

    Poorly reasoned article in many ways with some serious assumptions passing as a given regarding action, characteristic, or thought process.

    The focus at this point should indeed be that we have a bully news media with major agendas and limited ethics.

    • #18
  19. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Martel (View Comment):
    I believe I’ve seen her vaguely address anybody in the comments a grand total of once.

    Was that me? If it was somebody other than me than it was twice.

    • #19
  20. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Martel (View Comment):
    At Trump rallies, protesters would spread themselves around the venue. As soon as Trump started speaking, one of them would stand up and scream. It took a while for security to get to them and to escort them out, bit there’d be screaming the entire time. The rally came to a halt.

    The protesters at Trump rallies where paid to disrupt Trump events. The where paid by the DNC and the Hillary campaign in an effort organized by Bob Creamer. (there is a project veritas video series where he admits it) Why the FBI isnt investigating and making arrests in this area is a mystery to me. It was a conspiracy to organize riots and violence across state lines. Unless we want this kind of campaign tactics to be normalized, these tactics must be punished – everyone even tangentially involved in the financing, organizing or implementing these counter rallies must go to prison.

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    DocJay (View Comment):
     

    The focus at this point should indeed be that we have a bully news media with major agendas and limited ethics.

    It is perhaps Trump’s greatest victory thus far to delegitimize the MSM. The MSM hands him this victory in their overreaction to everything but it nonetheless Trump’s victory and a victory for conservatism as a whole.

     

    • #21
  22. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):

    The focus at this point should indeed be that we have a bully news media with major agendas and limited ethics.

    It is perhaps Trump’s greatest victory thus far to delegitimize the MSM. The MSM hands him this victory in their overreaction to everything but it nonetheless Trump’s victory and a victory for conservatism as a whole.

    This is perhaps a Pyrrhic Victory, as when a real crisis comes up, like a trade war with china or NKorea gets worse. There is no credible news sources left standing to inform the public about the crisis. The body politic will become even more erratic as even those who think they’re well informed voters are not.

    • #22
  23. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    This is perhaps a Pyrrhic Victory, as when a real crisis comes up, like a trade war with china or NKorea gets worse. There is no credible news sources left standing to inform the public about the crisis. The body politic will become even more erratic as even those who think they’re well informed voters are not.

    Some of the blame of the erratic nature of the body politic falls to the corrupt media. Institutions that are garbage should be destroyed and better institutions erected in their place.

    • #23
  24. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Percival (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    I missed that one @percival. Can you show me please? Sorry, I’m from Missouri.

    The last is Donny wanting to throw punches himself (after the punchee had been led off).

    I hope everybody does watch these clips! It’s nice to be reminded of the violence Trump supporters suffered during the campaign–

    and that we elected the guy who didn’t blame it on us.

    A Sanders supporter tried to decapitate the legislative branch of our government. Gee, was that a decade ago? No, it just seems like it, since it’s dropped out of the news ; there was more “outrage” over Mika’s  chin than over Scalise’s shooting.

    And within 2 days, the violence was being blamed on the victims.

    Ya wanna talk sucker-punches?  The title of this post is among the greats.

    • #24
  25. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    Mona Charen: CNN Hurt Its Credibility

    I didn’t think it had any left.

    • #25
  26. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Martel (View Comment):
    whether she’d just be forced to face the ferocious and unreasoned vitriol of the unwashed masses, she sees little reason to engage us.

    I wonder if she bothers to read the comments. I could speculate…perhaps she doesn’t care and/or she is much too much above the hoi polloi to waste her time. Really, at this point Ricochet might not waste its time and money employing her. It’s not as though she has original thoughts in regards to Trump with which to edify humanity. But it’s not my business, and Mss Charen is hardly alone in her attitude amongst the Ricochet bosses.

    • #26
  27. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    Ya wanna talk sucker-punches? The title of this post is among the greats.

    Agreed.

    • #27
  28. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    Percival is correct.

    • #28
  29. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Percival (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Look, we know that Trump is not above stoking violence. He encouraged it more than once at his rallies.

    Really?

    Really. He offered to pay the legal fees for supporters who needed it if they were too rough dealing with hecklers at his rallies.

    I missed that one @percival. Can you show me please? Sorry, I’m from Missouri.

    The last is Donny wanting to throw punches himself (after the punchee had been led off).

    Thanks for taking the time to post this @percival. I can see where Trump, being Trump, whose basic personality you don’t much appreciate, would upset you with his reaction to people coming to his rallies for the sole purpose of preventing him from speaking through disruption. And, guess what…I love it that he doesn’t let them get away with it. So, if “Donny” wanted to step down from the podium himself and get into the face of one of the arrogant, rude, selfish, and violent disruptors, I’d be just fine with that.

    • #29
  30. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Martel (View Comment):
    I believe I’ve seen her vaguely address anybody in the comments a grand total of once.

    Was that me? If it was somebody other than me than it was twice.

    I don’t remember because it was well over a year ago.

    I haven’t read all of the comments on all of her posts, but I have read a lot of the comments on a lot of them, and Mona rarely, if ever, makes an appearance.

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.