With minor exceptions, almost everywhere one goes that is a public facility like airports, bus and railroad stations, as well as most private venues like the lobbies of banks and corporate towers and even bars and restaurants, CNN is the default cable news network hanging Big Brother-like on the wall for all to see and believe. Often it is blaring at us in elevators.
This is true even though in terms of voluntary home viewership CNN trails massively behind Fox News and even the less popular MSNBC. It’s clear from years of ratings, the people, by and large and consistently, don’t want to watch CNN. Nevertheless, they are force fed the network’s vision of the world as they sit stupefied in airport lounges waiting endlessly for a delayed flight. It’s like having your brains drilled.
This has been going on for decades. Why?
The best you can say for CNN is that, as the initiator of 24/7 cable news, the network has a first-mover advantage, but that advantage has been perpetuated and protected by a big lie.
And that lie is that CNN is the true purveyor of impartial news. MSNBC is on the left. Fox is on the right. But good old CNN gives you the straight story.
Nothing could be more ludicrous.
And we didn’t just learn the absurdity of this in the last few months — although we certainly have been reminded in spades! It’s been true for almost as long as the network has been in existence, although clearly it has gotten worse, almost to the point of insanity, during the Trump years.
But don’t believe me. I’m a biased right-winger or something like that. Believe the esteemed left-wing pundit Glenn Greenwald.
FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.
He is, of course, referring to CNN’s now infamous blunder (of many recently) in thinking they had a scoop on a connection between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks that would once and for all prove the Trump-Russia collusion. Not only was their information completely wrong because they didn’t get the basic date right on the clandestine email — a meagre 972 million users of Twitter already had access to the Wikileaks before the “secret missive” arrived — this supposed proof wasn’t proof of anything anyway. It didn’t prove collusion in the slightest. Yet CNN and others feasted on it like a kettle of ravenous vultures on the greatest carcass of all time. Hate ruled the day and had made them blind. Trump Derangement Syndrome had reached new heights. (If you haven’t, take a gander at the CNN video based on this “smoking gun” at the Greenwald link. It’s kind of unconscious Hieronymus Bosch.)
Which brings me back to us stupefied folk waiting at our airport lounge for our plane with nothing to watch but CNN’s peculiar version of the truth. The saying “A lie goes round the world before the truth puts its boots on” has been attributed to Twain, Churchill and others. But whoever did or didn’t say it, who could deny its veracity?
Allowing one network the privilege of dominating our public spaces is dangerous to our republic in the extreme, even if, as seems to be the case, the public has growing distrust of that network. It’s still there and, as some man or woman did say, the lie is going around the world with nothing to contradict it. By the time the truth puts its boots on, the liars will already be on to the next lie. We’re all being propagandized, consciously and unconsciously, all the time.
I’m not sure how to end this CNN dominance of those public spaces, but we all should start thinking about it. Maybe we could begin by asking the people at airports and other venues (very politely) if they could change the channel for a while — just for balance, of course. If a lot of us do it, who knows?
One thing is for sure. If such a movement began, CNN would be terrified. Without their stranglehold on those public venues, hardly anyone would be watching the network at all. They might even go out of business.
(Speaking of which, how much money do you think each of these Trump-hating CNN personalities has made in the stock market since Trump’s election? My guess: it begins at 300k and goes up from there… in some cases, way up.)
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.