Roger L. Simon

Desperation Time at CNN: It's not Sanchez... It's Spitzer!

Is CNN a joke or have we gone back to the Dark Ages?  No sooner has the dust cleared on brain-dead racist Rick Sanchez than the network brings us a new show with whoremaster Eliot Spitzer!

CNN, lest we forget, is a news organization.  They want us to respect them.  How desperate for ratings they must have become. With MSNBC presenting the execrable Olbermann, even though no one watches him, CNN cannot stand still.  Out goes the wretched Sanchez, in comes the sleazy Spitzer.

Well, I guess it’s okay.  The ex-gov of New York’s prostitution scandal was way back in 2008. Who can remember? And no one cares that he had spent years prosecuting hookers in the most draconian fashion while simultaneously employing them personally.  One thing we know about our Eliot — he’s no libertarian when it comes to the world’s oldest profession.  He’s a monumental hypocrite — the kind of guy who would arrest you for possession of marijuana while privately making sure he had the best stash in town.  And we’re supposed to trust what he says on TV?

Remember when CNN was founded in 1980, how revolutionary it was — the first cable news network?  Well, it’s declined to the level of bear-baiting.

Of course, along the way it hasn’t been exactly distinguished. Sanchez and Spitzer are but sideshows compared to the network’s self-admitted deception in its coverage of Saddam’s Iraq.  As you may recall, in April 2003, CNN’s then chief executive producer Eason Jordan wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled “The News We Kept to Ourselves” — in which Jordan detailed how the network deliberately misreported or downplayed Saddam’s atrocities, allegedly to protect its Iraqi employees.  Actually, it seems to have been even more about the network’s maintaining near-exclusive access to a brutal dictatorship, whitewashing many forms of extreme torture in the process.  Shades of Walter Duranty.  Of course, CNN came back to say everything bad possible about Abu Ghraib. They knew George Bush wouldn’t cut their employees’ tongues out or, worse yet, kick the network off the air.

So what are we to make of CNN?  Is it ever worth watching?  Sometimes Anderson Cooper surprises with his coverage, but then reverts to form, spouting liberal pabulum. In the Sanchez case, the network appears to have dumped the commentator in an instant, but without the slightest bit of public apology or, as far as I know, self-examination. Sanchez was, after all, no surprise. Not only was he a creepy racist, he was something close to an uniformed dope who couldn’t pass a high school equivalency test. Who can forget his bizarre comments during the Chilean earthquake? “Myself and most of the people I know don’t know the metric system or can’t do the conversion charts very well.”  Wow, how about a subway map? Can you read one of those, Rick?

If I were a CNN exec watching that interchange,  I would have been reaching for the hook right there.  But no.  They were happy to keep him on. His numbers were better than most of their humdrum crowd.

Of course, it’s not just CNN, or even cable news.  It’s television news in general.  Does it inform us at all?  Hard to say.  I feel more confident reading something written down, whether in digital or print form. I can evaluate it better.  Most news, after all, is spin.  We should be grateful, in a sense, to Rick Sanchez for making it all so obvious.  He just let his bias hang out — and boy was it a doozy.

Bring on Eliot Spitzer, I say. And, oh … I forgot … Kathleen Parker. It’s both of their show and  I know CNN wants to be, pardon the expression, fair and balanced. Kathleen’s a conservative … isn’t she? Here’s Kathleen on the tea party movement:

What non-ideologues may see as cooperation, however, is viewed by true believers as weakness. Any attempt at compromise is viewed as surrendering principle. Under the new order, a Good Conservative wouldn’t cross the aisle to perform a Heimlich maneuver.

How generous of you, Kathleen.

Go for it, CNN. You’re nothing, if not consistent.