Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

CNN's Exquisitely Awkward Spot

Ojsvcfcmhdv4del7f36n
Newscom

So it's worth noting why that probably is. There's a normal and correct tendency for a news outfit not to want to make itself into the story. But this goes way beyond that and puts CNN in an exquisitely awkward position. CNN has been bending over backwards of late trying to position itself as the last holy beacon of objectivity and fairness in cable news, as Fox and MSNBC play to more clearly partisan audiences. Yet they're under almost constant assault from conservatives for alleged (and basically mythical) liberal bias.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Convention is the GOP's quadrennial 'we love us a lotta non-white people' fest. And given what I said above the last possible thing CNN wants is to rain on that parade or become the focus of a huge messaging nightmare if attendees were harassing an African-American member of their team. Certainly, the Convention organizers want to avoid discussion as much as possible too.

As a side note, one can only imagine how Fox News would be going to town over this had something somehow analogous happened to one of their staffers at a Democratic convention.

Journalists don't tend to like non-transparency from other news organizations. And CNN's relative silence (they did finally put out a basic report this morning) will, I suspect, generate a backlash from viewers outraged by the incident.

Eventually both sides will have to say a lot more. A political convention, by definition, is a news vacuum. And nature abhors a vacuum.