November 30, 2007

JOHN FUND EMAILS THIS on the CNN debacle. From OpinionJournal.com’s Political Diary:

Last week, CNN’s Anderson Cooper quipped in an interview with Townhall.com that “campaign operatives are people too” and that CNN wasn’t worried if political partisans posed questions at the upcoming GOP debate he was moderating. “We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions (by submitting video clips). It’s not our job,” is how he put it.

But now CNN’s logo has egg splattered all over it, as it scrambles to explain how a co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s veterans’ committee was allowed to ask a video question on gays in the military at Wednesday’s debate and was also flown by the network from California to the debate site in Florida so he could repeat his question to the candidates in person. CNN claims it verified retired Brig. Gen. Ketih Kerr’s military status and checked his campaign contribution records, contradicting Mr. Cooper’s blasé attitudes. Still, they somehow missed his obvious connection to the Hillary campaign which any Google search would have turned up. CNN later airbrushed Mr. Kerr’s question out of its rebroadcast of the debate, indicating that it apparently doesn’t think “campaign operatives” are legitimate questioners at the network’s debates.

Now it appears that an amazing number of partisan figures posed many of the 30 questions at the GOP debate all the while pretending to be CNN’s advertised “undecided voters.” Yasmin from Huntsville, Alabama turns out to be a former intern with the Council on American Islamic Relations, a group highly critical of Republicans. Blogger Michelle Malkin has identified other plants, including declared Obama supporter David Cercone, who asked a question about the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans. A questioner who asked a hostile question about the pro-life views of GOP candidates turned out to be a diehard John Edwards supporter (and a slobbering online fan of Mr. Cooper). Yet another “plant” was LeeAnn Anderson, an activist with a union that has endorsed Mr. Edwards.

It seems more “plants” are being uprooted with each passing day. Almost a third of the questioners seem to have some ties to Democratic causes or candidates. Another questioner worked with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s staff. A former intern with Democratic Rep. Jane Harman asked a question about farm subsidies. A questioner who purported to be a Ron Paul supporter turns out to be a Bill Richardson volunteer. David McMillan, a TV writer from Los Angeles, turns out to have several paens to John Edwards on his YouTube page and has attended Barack Obama fundraisers.

Given CNN’s professed goal to have “ordinary Americans” ask questions at their GOP debate, how likely is that it was purely by accident that so many of the videos CNN selected for use were not just from partisans, but people actively hostile to the GOP’s messages and candidates?

(Emphasis added). It makes it kind of hard to trust CNN.