This week, embattled and struggling 24/7 news network CNN hosted a town hall for GOP Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Mr. Ramaswamy is not one to turn down a media appearance, including one guaranteed to be hostile, so no doubt CNN felt it was an easy way to try to attract viewers they so desperately need.
Even with the writing on the wall that CNN is quickly losing its foothold in the all-day, all-night news arena, their reporters voiced their displeasure at the network’s decision to host Mr. Ramaswamy.
After all, it’s not the news media’s job to provide balanced coverage of elections and those candidates hoping to cinch the support of the American public, at least not according to Oliver Darcy.
Taxes the imagination
Wednesday, CNN hosted an hour-long town hall for GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. CNN’s senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was none too happy about the decision, writing about his frustrations with his own employer in his CNN newsletter.
Mr. Darcy wrote:
“The notion that the infotainer, who CNN has reported ‘struggles for relevance’ as he polls in the low single digits and remains exceedingly unlikely to be the Republican Party’s nominee, deserves an hour-long national platform to sell his personal brand and insidious talking points to the masses taxes the imagination.”
It taxes the imagination how such outrageous, open, and hostile bias still manages to garner a paycheck from CNN. But perhaps he has a point; maybe it doesn’t make sense for CNN to provide so much air time to someone who isn’t in the top two positions in most polls for the GOP nomination.
In that case, it would square with Mr. Darcy’s argument that CNN provide an hour for former President Donald Trump, who by every measure is the front-runner and more than likely will be the Republican nominee. However, when CNN did just that in May, Mr. Darcy also railed against that.
Is there anything that would make Mr. Darcy happy at CNN, or perhaps, like the famous Jane Austen character by the same name, he is too prideful or prejudiced? It’s hard to recall which.
Not so iconic
Mr. Darcy seems particularly incensed that his employer would want to attach their brand to the ideas Mr. Ramaswamy espouses, writing:
“Handing Ramaswamy a microphone and putting him on a stage affixed with CNN’s iconic branding to answer audience questions helps validate him and provides oxygen to the menacing wildfire of delusions he has pushed into the public discourse.”
Delusions such as stricter immigration policies, elevating concepts like patriotism and faith, and thinning out the administrative branch of government that no citizen ever voted into power, or that there were FBI informants in the crowd at the Capitol riot.
The best part of the above statement is Mr. Darcy’s assertion that the CNN “iconic” brand means anything anymore.
Before the terrorist attacks by Hamas, CNN was raking in only about 55,000 viewers for their weekend lineups, including for their shows State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and Fareed Zakaria GPS. Their Sunday numbers were even worse, only bringing in about 43,000 viewers for The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.
Those ratings are the worst CNN has ever had since the dawn of tracking viewership in 1991. Since the war in Israel began, CNN has only attracted roughly 619,000 viewers as of mid-November Monday tracking.
Compare that to two million that tuned into Fox News on that same tracked Monday and 1.7 million that switched on MSNBC. Maybe tossing the millennial conservative provocateur on a stage with a microphone and the beleaguered CNN brand is a good idea.
Missing the point
In response to Oliver Darcy’s tirade, a CNN spokesperson explained that Vivek Ramaswamy is a legitimate guest for a town hall given that he is a:
“…significant candidate for the GOP nomination, having made every debate stage thus far.”
A true statement, however, is still missing the reason why Vivek should get a town hall appearance. Mainstream news networks like CNN should have newsmakers on their networks because the idea behind claiming they report the news would indicate including those who generate news.
But that’s not really what employees at CNN want to do; they want to drive public discourse and shape American opinions. Legacy news isn’t about and hasn’t been about reporting facts and presenting engaging, compelling counterarguments for a long time.
Legacy news is about entertainment and power. Dialing into the most extreme viewer’s most basic needs and controlling the group-think of the agreed upon audience.
It taxes the imagination why legacy news media and print keep wondering why American viewership and readership have plummeted in the last few years, and reliance on citizen journalists on social media has increased.
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
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