Media Defamation Monitor
Low-Quality CNN News Blunders. Part 3
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Low-Quality CNN News Blunders. Part 3


ALABAMA – March 27, 2019

When people talk about politics, sometimes you just want to leave so you don’t get in a fight, though it is better when like-minded people get together. When the media tries to talk about politics, they seem to be either completely unaware or so stupid that it seems the profession has outlived itself.

The third part of our Media Defamation Monitor describes the work of CNN which most accurately shows how US media giants manage not just to make blunders but also to lie subtly.

CNN analyst Brian J. Karem published a dubious report on additional Kavanaugh allegations, the Daily Caller said in one of its articles. In general, the article notes that if until 2018 the American media studied only the topic of Russian meddling during the 2016 elections, the last year was a year of revelations against Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Trump’s wall. In order not to be distracted, we will be consistent.

We have already written about how world media giants come up with numerous reports and statistics to distract the reader’s eye from the main topics or vice versa to focus attention at a certain stage. In the case of CNN, it turns out that this political analyst together with Sentinel editor Brian Karem published a report in September 2018 claiming that “Montgomery County investigators” were looking into an additional allegation of sexual misconduct against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The editor himself then excluded his name from the article. Local police later disputed that they were investigating any claims, and Karem later updated his reporting to indicate that his sources were not the police, but rather random “investigators in Montgomery County.”

“Not fake news, just plain wrong,” writes another online resource Poynter, in justification of the media’s propaganda surrounding the Kavanaugh hearings.

“Two things can be true at the same time. Journalists screw up — often. And we have a responsibility to do better. At the same time, quality journalism is geared towards reaching the truth. We cross-check sources. We fact-check claims. We correct our mistakes ... As a former fact-checker, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times a politician publicly corrected a false claim ... As I wrote earlier this year, journalism can’t afford for corrections to be the next victim of the “fake news” frenzy ... Those outlets that do correct, dedicating time and resources to a fully-fleshed editorial process should be rewarded, not penalized,” said Alexios Mantzarlis in his article.

It’s one thing if the media is wrong once, but when it happens systematically and always sharpens under certain situations, then it is difficult to say that they sincerely try to do their job correctly. In this case, it is not about errors in dates or events, where anyone could make a mistake, from a politician to an ordinary person, but about a massive error in favor of the order of certain political forces.

Moreover, journalism is not only a profession where you cannot make mistakes, but it is one where you also must be objective and tell the truth. That’s why we’re faced with the situation where this profession has outlived its usefulness as an institution.

The same situation applies when CNN spreads false statistic on school shootings.

After a May Santa Fe high school shooting, CNN anchor Jim Sciutto and his colleague, political correspondent Sara Murray, both claimed that there had already been 22 school shootings in 2018.

As it turned out, they were including accidental firearm discharges, domestic disputes, and invents not involving any students.

But that’s not all. The CNN article originally looked like a map with a list of school shootings below. However, when many people noticed the discrepancy, the journalists had to correct the image.

By the way, CNN’s list includes one shooting incident in Alabama where one person was injured at an on-campus apartment building. Another shooting at Savannah State University in Georgia was counted despite the fact that the two people involved were not students.

Moving on, CNN accused Ted Cruz of being afraid to appear on their network after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Firstly, remember, this was on February 14, 2018 when a gunman opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 and injuring another 17. Witnesses identified 19-year-old expelled student Nikolas Cruz as the assailant. Cruz fled the scene on foot by blending in with other students and was arrested about one hour later in nearby Coral Springs.

Brian Stelter — CNN’s human-egg hybrid — personally whined that GOP congressmen were “scared” to come on their programs after the tragedy. “What are they afraid of?” a CNN graphic read.

The reporter was supported by one of CNN’s most intellectual personalities, Chris Cuomo, who entered the controversy urging Ted Cruz to speak publicly, later accusing Cruz of not responding to questions.

“If Cruz thinks gun control improvement is not the answer, what is?” Cuomo tweeted. “Answer the question, Senator: what are we going to do to stop school shootings? Don’t just say what won’t work, work to find an answer!”

The Texas Senator responded soon thereafter, retweeting Cuomo with the comment:

“That’s funny, I spoke to CNN for 15 mins yesterday about proactive solutions to prevent gun violence (like passing the Grassley-Cruz bill — which Dems filibustered — that would add $300 million for school safety) yet CNN has aired NONE of it. Why not air the (entire) interview?”

Isn’t it a political struggle when journalists have to do their job and not express their dissatisfaction because of political differences, but in fact, they clearly destroy the opponent with their pressure? As it turned out, we didn’t see this later during the midterm elections, when journalists had turned into pawns in the big game.

Cuomo also spread a false story entitled, “I Was Able to Buy an AR-15 in 5 Minutes,” claiming that a 20-year-old student was able to purchase an AR-15 rifle without going through a background check. Later the title of the article was renamed to “What Happens When a 20-Year-Old Goes to Buy an AR-15” to better reflect the events described, said the Tab editor.

No, Cuomo didn’t write it himself but he didn’t check the facts before spreading it around. Before accusing or acquitting Cuomo, we decided to check what the article says.

"Two days after the worst mass shooting in American history, and my local gun shop in Virginia showed no hesitation in selling me an AR-15," the article opens, adding that after choosing his guns, the shopkeeper asked the 20-year-old directly if he wanted to take a look at any AR-15s.

"I was taken by surprise a bit. This is the AR-15, the same weapon the gunman in Orlando used to kill 50 people; the same weapon used in the terrorist attack that occurred two days ago. It was also the weapon used in the massacres at Sandy Hook, the Aurora movie theatre, Umpqua Community College, and San Bernardino," the author said.

So Cuomo spread the idea that this student bought an AR-15 without going through a background check, when in fact, the article said: “After exchanging conversation for about five minutes, I asked, ‘Can I buy this today?’ The seller replied, ‘Yeah, sure. I just need to see your driver’s license and have you fill out the paperwork.’”

The author then handed over his license and reached for some paperwork showing he had renewed it the week before. “Before I even got it out of my pocket, the employee told me I was good and I just needed my vehicle registration for verification. He didn’t notice that my license had expired recently,” the story continues.

Then the author came back from his car with the vehicle registration, the trader was sitting at the front desk with the paperwork and weapon ready. That is, the student admitted in the article that he never actually finished filling out the paperwork — which would initiate the background check — to buy the AR-15. Instead, he shopped around for a bit, took some photos with some guns, and asked for the advice of the shop owners.

“After he walked me through the paperwork, all five pages of it, I told him I changed my mind and wanted to think more before I bought an AR-15,” the student wrote. “He told me it wasn’t a problem and listed the store hours if I wanted to come back. I then said thank you and walked back to my car.”

It seems Cuomo wanted to embellish the situation and make the reader think that the shop would sell the weapon to anyone who wanted it, accusing the employees of not properly checking the buyer’s ID.

As we can see, Cuomo later said that the problem is in power.

And yet this is not the main thing. We agree that Cuomo has different political views and his goal is to gradually humiliate the current Trump administration. But it's not about that at all. We've long since forgotten that there are journalistic ethics, and such conduct makes us doubt that the profession will last even a few more years. The myth of the objective journalist has been dispelled.

Author: USA Really