John Howard Gone from CNN
It appears that the new owners of CNN are sincere in their stated intention to restore the network as a legitimate provider of news in the best traditions of journalism. As a consumer of all the major news outlets, I have seen the subtle differences already. There is more balance in their reports – and there has been a noticeable inclusion of panelists and interviewees with divergent opinions. Still a long way to go, but trending in the right direction – literally and figuratively.
But some of the changes are not so subtle. The recent departure of Brian Stelter – the mouthpiece for the political left parading as a media critic and the less obvious departure of political analyst Jeffrey Toobin – and now the departure of White House reporter John Harwood – one of CNN’s more strident voices of the far left.
While Stelter and Toobin left relatively quietly, Harwood used his last broadcast to remove any facade of journalistic objectivity and integrity. Rather he went all in on the Democrats propaganda tirade — that the Republican Party poses a threat to the Republic. He was all in on the Democrats mendacious narratives of insurrection … the overthrow of the Republic … ridiculous claims of an ongoing coup attempt … all wrapped up in a claim that American experiment in democracy ends if the folks back home elect Republicans to any office.
The only difference between Harwood’s bitter closer and his regular reports on CNN was the absence of subtlety and innuendo. It was a full-blown left-wing propaganda screed.
He admitted to breaking the number one principle of journalism – honest objectivity. Like many other so-called journalists on the left, he claims that “the times” require journalists to abandon that sacred rule.
Using President Biden’s vitriolic speech as the hook, Harwood said:
“The core point he [President Biden] made in that political speech about the threat to democracy is true. Now that is something that is not easy for us as journalists to say. We’re brought up to believe there’s two different political parties with different points of view, and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we are talking about.
For movie fans, the Harwood tantrum may have looked reminiscent of the exit of unhinged anchor Howard Beale in “Network”. Both went off script – abandoned journalistic norms – to release their inner rage – although Harwood’s performance was not as overacted.
The question now is what – or who – is next. As a conservative devoted to a truly free and impartial press, I am not as bothered by the “editorialists” – such as Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper. News platforms have long had clearly designated editorial commentary from news reporting – and traditionally there was a balance.
You may recall that conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt was once on CNN – although relegated to a less viewed Saturday morning slot. CNN often bills S.E. Cupp as a conservative voice, but her opinions are rarely a counterpoint to old CNN’s predominantly left-wing analyses. Journalism would be better served if these editorialists were labeled as such – and occasionally offered up a conservative guest.
If CNN is truly intent on providing news and commentary from an objective middle ground, it still has a long way to go. The so-called news programs are still dominated by left-wing personalities. Among those whose departure would go a long way to correct CNN’s portside lean are Jim Acosta, Ana Cabrera, Dana Bash and Gloria Borger – to name a few.
I suspect – and hope – that these are just the beginning of the changes at CNN. If it is not, CNN will find that their “new” direction will be a distinction without a difference – at least not much of a difference. And it is not going to change viewer preferences. That means CNN stays at the bottom of the cable news ratings.
In the meantime, folks devoted to honest journalism can applaud the departure of John Harwood. Yeah!
So, there ‘tis.