CNN treats politics like sports — and it’s making us all dumber

CNN treats politics like sports — and it’s making us all dumber


Trump has made CNN into an unlikely hero. You are fake news. Repeatedly criticizing the network for its
coverage of his administration. Your ratings aren’t as good as some of the
other people. That’s let CNN play the part of the embattled
news network. Are we fake news, Kellyanne? Is CNN fake news? But the truth is a lot of this is theater. CNN plays a really important role in mainstreaming
Trump’s misinformation. And that’s because CNN’s approach to covering
politics often prioritizes drama and spectacle over serious truth telling. If you want to understand how CNN covers Trump,
you have to understand Jeff Zucker, the network’s president since 2013. Zucker came to the network from NBC, where
he oversaw shows like Fear Factor and, yes, The Apprentice. His background is entertainment television,
and to Zucker, politics is essentially a big game. He told New York Times magazine: Can’t believe that’s a real quote. Oh boy. You can see that approach in a lot of how
CNN covers politics: flashy countdown clocks, dramatic graphics, pre- and post-debate panels. It’s essentially become the ESPN of politics. You a big ESPN fan? You know what… But the clearest parallel between CNN and
typical sports coverage is the screaming matches. Turn on CNN, and you’ll almost certainly
see an argument between hosts, pundits, and commentators. Turn on CNN’s primetime shows and you’ll
see that same argument between a much bigger panel of people. [crosstalk] I don’t know what we’re yelling about. These shows are clear relatives of ESPN shows
like First Take, which pit commentators against each other to argue about whatever news story
was happening that day. This is the pro- hold on. This is the problem. You can actually see some pretty clear parallels
in the formats and studio sets of these shows. This type of news coverage, centered around
pundits arguing with each other, makes for cheap, easy TV. It’s loud, it’s dramatic, and it requires
no original reporting. Yeah, unlike you. But in the age of Trump, it’s turned CNN
into a circus of misinformation. It’s created a huge demand for people who
are willing to go on TV and defend Trump, and that leaves CNN booking less and less
credible guests. People in the studio are even laughing. So you end up with arguments between seasoned
political analysts and the “death panel” lady. Stop, stop, stop, or I’m going to have to
cut this interview short. Betsy, where are you getting that from? About 5 million people will lose coverage,
not 24 million. Look, there are so many things wrong with
what you said, I’m not going to have a chance… And it’s resulted in CNN hiring a small
army of paid Trump supporters, people like Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, for the specific purpose of participating
in arguments about Trump. While hiring paid political commentators isn’t
new for a news network, CNN’s Trump pundits are unique in the ridiculous lengths they’ll
go to to defend Trump. Has Trump ever said anything about race that’s
wrong? He hasn’t said that much about race. Oh he can’t stop. They make inflammatory arguments that shut
down entire segments. [crosstalk] They misrepresent Trump’s positions. That’s not what he said, that’s what it’s
being spun into. That’s not what the president said. Again, that’s not what the president tweeted
and alleged. That’s not what he said, and that’s not
what those stories say. That’s what you’re saying! I’m lost now. And they say false and misleading things on
national TV while being paid by CNN. This article does not say what you and other
Trump surrogates are saying that it says. Susan Rice was unmasking American names, disseminating
that information to numerous different agencies— No, no, no, no, that is not true. In a lot of cases, CNN’s Trump pundits are
repeating the misinformation that CNN’s serious journalists spend all day trying to
debunk. We’ve had the reporter on twice saying,
“You are wrong, my article did not say what Sean Spicer and the White House and you are
claiming it says.” CNN does this because they know that fighting
makes for entertaining TV. In a quote that should make your skin crawl,
Zucker told New York Times magazine… Jesus. I know. Zucker sees his pro-Trump pundits as “characters
in a drama.” And they are. CNN’s fighting-based approach to politics
is nothing if not dramatic. But much like on Fear Factor or The Apprentice,
it’s manufactured drama. Side by side, it should be noted. This is about arguments, not insults. CNN books wackadoodle Trump supporters to
make sure that every segment is poised to become a disorienting screaming match. Just look at how CNN reacted when Jeffrey
Lord went on live TV and said this: Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther
King of health care. CNN knew it would get people angry and watching,
so within hours Lord was back on air to spend two full primetime segments arguing about
it. Our very own Jeffrey Lord making a statement
that raised a lot of eyebrows. Let’s discuss it now. CNN hired a bullshit artist, invited him to
say ridiculous things on TV, and then turned that bullshit into its own mini TV drama. We don’t judge people by color in this country. That is racist, it’s wrong. [crosstalk] And it’s drama that Trump directly benefits
from. BuzzFeed recently reported that Trump quietly
pushes his surrogates to appear on CNN, even while he publicly criticizes the network’s
coverage. Jeffrey Lord, oh he fights so hard. This would all be fine and normal if this
was reality television or ESPN. But it’s not. At its most basic level, political journalism
is about keeping viewers informed about how the government is impacting their day-to-day
lives. That can’t happen when CNN treats every
story as a chance to reopen the Thunderdome. When you treat politics like a sport, you’re
going to end up with news coverage that cares more about watching people score political
points than about telling the truth.


42 thoughts on “CNN treats politics like sports — and it’s making us all dumber

  1. I find my ideologies correspond to my political party which makes me wonder whether I'm being brainwashed or whether there is a defined set of beliefs that all liberals/conservatives happen to follow.
    (I'm a New Zealander so don't @ me)

  2. Which is why I stopped taking CNN as my primary news source since 2 years ago. Even when I occasionally tried to listen to their podcast (Cuomo or Anderson) the shouting match with one side blatantly lying all over the place and the other side racing against time to debunk the lies… It was just unbearable. I prefer to get news from a calmer source. But no, CNN is not the same as FOX. Fox is the conservative propaganda machine that does not show the two sides of the same story, CNN is the fool addicted to the two sides balance, even if one side is complete BS.

  3. Fox News: Epitome of new broadcasting propaganda and treats its audience as dumb sheep

    CNN: Treats politics like a reality television show and treats its audience dumb

  4. You have a point in the title (not watching your video because that would give you money – I'll see you in the streets). Demonetizing your political opponents has made you some very extreme enemies.

  5. I tell people to stop watching Fox and CNN and to watch international news instead; they tell me "they're boring".

    >:-U

  6. Ok but who are you to delegitimize this network? You’re obviously a left wing media and we watch you for that reason but at least they’re not telling blatant lies and siding with all the president says. Distrust in the media is exactly why republicans run the country right now

  7. All of those people on CNN are so tiresome. Trump is all they have and if you agree or not, people are tired of hearing that.

  8. This is exatcly the reason i found american politics so weird. They act like the politicians are battling or something. They shouldnt be attacking each other but they should work together to make a better america. CNN and FOXnews journalism is polarising the political climate in america. I hope people understand that the people you do not agree with arent the devil

  9. So so so so so, CNN is actually helping Trump…and he knows about it?

    Does that also mean that that guy Zucker who helped oversee Trump's The Apprentice…is colluding with Trump?

    Man this is mindblowing

  10. But you have to say that when some hosts and commentators are arguing, they're bringing different views to you. It's not this objective reporting, it's more like a debating club

  11. I learn SO much from this channel. I literally watch every single day. So much to discover and explore. I'm hooked.

  12. Amen! I am sick of this totally bs way of doing tv news. John Oliver on HBO does a better job of helping us understand the issues 🤬

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