CNN gooses the crowd at a Hillary interview. “To add ‘energy’ to its show (attended by the Erik Wemple Blog), CNN deployed an enthusiastic stage director who coached the audience to applaud at various points throughout the broadcast:”
Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, has studied the role of applause in such civic engagements. Though CNN wasn’t hosting a debate, Brown says that a cheering audience “at some point…becomes an editorial statement, it’s a part of what is broadcast. It becomes a part of the program and that’s why we have tried to do exactly the opposite.” At the official presidential debates, the audience gets no encouragement to applaud, and it may do so only at the beginning and end of the sessions.
Whatever the optics, here’s the deal: If you’re a possible Democratic candidate, with or without a book to promote, and you want an experience that will elevate you, push for a CNN town hall in Washington. It’s hospitable turf.
As Glenn Reynolds quips, “When the Washington Post thinks you’re too much in-the-tank for Hillary. . . .”
But nobody should be surprised by this — CNN was the network who flew in plants for the GOP debate it covered in 2007, including:
The tallest plant was a retired gay vet, one “Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr,” who questioned – or rather, lectured – the candidates on video and in person about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bans open gays from the military.
Funny. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was exactly the policy CNN adopted in not telling viewers that Kerr is a member of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual- Transgender Americans for Hillary.
Sen. Clinton’s campaign Web site features a press release announcing Kerr and other members of the committee in June. And a basic Web search turns up Kerr’s past support as a member of a veterans’ steering committee for the John Kerry for President campaign – and his prior appearance on CNN in December ’03.
CNN’s moderator, Anderson Cooper, singled out Kerr (who’d been flown in for the event) in the vast audience, giving him a chance for his own filibustering moment. Marvel at it: Not one CNN journalist uncovered the connection or thought it pertinent to disclose that Kerr’s heart belonged to Hillary.
When righty commentator Bill Bennett pointed out the facts to Cooper after the debate, a red-faced Cooper feebly blubbered: “That was something certainly unknown to us, and had we known that, would have been disclosed by us. It turns out we have just looked at it.”
And the network whose 2012 presidential debate moderator was one of the “winners” of the latest Duranty Awards for Journalistic Mendacity. As Claudia Rosett told the audience in New York last month:
The selection committee of the Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity is pleased to bestow the award of first runner-up on CNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, for her extraordinary performance during the 2012 presidential race as moderator of the second debate between the Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama, and the Republican contender, Governor Mitt Romney.
The moment of truth — or, more precisely, untruth — arose out of a question about Benghazi, Libya, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attack which had taken place there just over a month earlier. Questions were swirling around the administration’s attempts that September to blame what was clearly a terrorist attack on a spontaneous mob enraged by a “hateful video.”
In the debate, Mr. Obama claimed that in his remarks the morning after the attack he had called it “an act of terror” (which he had not). Mr. Romney, catching the president in a lie, challenged this revision of history.
And at that fraught moment, Ms. Crowley inserted herself directly into the debate, putting her thumb on the scale for Mr. Obama. The result was to throw the exchange in favor of the incumbent, and to sweep Benghazi, as an issue, out of the race.
What effect this had at the polls that November, we will never know. We do, however, wonder.
And the network whose then-president admitted in the New York Times in 2003 was in the tank for Saddam Hussein, all for the sake of being able to say “Live from Baghdad.”
Not to mention the network that brought you The Wright-Free Zone in 2008, a week after praising Rev. Wright’s racialist NAACP speech to the hilt:
This latest stunt by “objective” CNN takes the cake — perhaps the network can have one made by the same baker who made the cake the network presented on air to celebrate the one year anniversary of Barack Obama’s “Stimulus:”
Update: Perhaps Hillary’s less-than-solid book sales explain why CNN felt it needed to rev up the lackadaisical Hillary crowd. As Ed Morrissey adds:
This wasn’t a daytime talk show on a broadcast network — like The View on ABC, for instance, which is entertainment and not news programming. This was on a cable news network and featured one of the network’s most high-profile reporters and news analysts. Instead of having an audience respond naturally and honestly, this news network instead chose to actively influence the audience into more positive and affirming responses for a politician on the cusp of a presidential campaign. Would they have coached an audience for a townhall interview with Mitt Romney, or Ted Cruz? Let’s just say it’s highly doubtful.
CNN’s credibility as anything approaching a trusted media source disappeared down a black hole ages ago. And speaking of which…