I am a political and news junkie and I watch CNN many hours a day. Often have it on in background while I do chores around the house and then pay attention when something interesting comes on. I think that CNN has always tried to be fair during this election season although I can almost guarantee that most if not all of their anchors will be voting for Hillary.
For much of its earlier coverage of the race I truly believe the media didn’t know how to deal with Trump because they have never encountered a candidate like him, one that lies 70% of the time and then usually lies about lying.
The media is used to being even handed with Presidential candidates; especially networks like CNN. They simply can’t afford to have half of the country mad at them because one candidate’s supporters correctly believe they are not give him/her a fair shake. Early on they tried to give equal emphasis to calling out both candidates’ flaws. However, that gave rise to what is commonly referred to as “false equivalency” – the notion that both candidates are equally flawed which is obviously not true.
I believe that the turning point was the Commander and Chief Forum when Matt Lauer’s performance as moderator was widely panned by journalists. It became obvious that the news channels that care about being balanced decided that they can no longer afford to treat Trump like a regular candidate that that he is not. Since then I have seen the media get increasingly aggressive in handling Trump’s outrageous behavior and the continual lies by his surrogates.
Today every CNN anchor labeled Trump’s assertions that President Obama was not a naturally born US citizen, and his more recent claim that the birther issue was started by Hillary Clinton and her campaign, as out right “lies”. Wolf Blitzer today looked a Trump surrogate in the eye and told him “you know that’s not true”, or something to that affect, when the guy tried to claim that Hillary started the birther issue.
Unlike in the past, Trump surrogates on CNN are now often interrupted, not by Clinton surrogates, but by the hosts when they try to pass of lies as undisputed facts. Print and internet journalists seem to be getting more aggressive about digging into Trump’s basket of dirty laundry. Or perhaps investigative efforts begun sometime ago are just now starting to bear fruit. Regardless, there seems to be new revelations everyday which are being pushed into the daily news cycle by the Clinton campaign when they deem it to be appropriate.
I also so believe that the executives of cable news channels like CNN are starting to realize what print and internet journalist seem to pick up on some time ago – that this race is about more than ratings. They are waking up to the fact that this election is getting too close for comfort and that as American citizens they face a growing probability that they too may have to spend four miserable years under a Trump administration. That ought to scare the hell out of them.
I expect the media to get even more aggressive in the way they deal with Donald Trump and his surrogates. I also expect the debate moderators to prepare diligently so that they are ready to push back aggressively if either candidate tries to pass of a blatant lie as gospel. I sincerely hope so because many Americans are just now starting to pay close attention to this race and they need to know the truth.