There is this segment of the center-left, personified by CNN and the New York Times and candidates like Joe Biden, that believes it can get the right to stop accusing it of being far left marxist extremists if…if it just demonstrates how fair and reasonable it really is. So candidates in this mindset keep moving to the right – How can they call me a communist if I believe most of the same things they do! – and organizations in the media keep hiring right-wing hacks and both-sidesing the hell out of whatever pretenses of journalistic integrity they may once have had.

It is sad. It is like watching someone trying repeatedly to win the affection of their awful, cold, distant, loveless parent. As an outside observer you can see the pathetic futility of it, and you want to put your hand gently on their shoulder and say, "Maybe it's time to let this go, to move on with your life and stop trying to get your asshole piece of shit dad to say he loves you for the first time in 50 years." But you know the odds of getting through to your friend are so low that you don't bother.

CNN and the NYT and "let's keep moving to the right" candidates apparently can't or won't figure out that calling them leftist commie marxist extremists is the entire game plan, full stop. It has nothing to do with what they stand for, how they report the news, or anything else with a basis in reality. They are going to call you Fake News and a dangerous leftist radical no matter what, because that is what they do and that is the worldview they have chosen to adopt. Anything short of total, obsequious Fox News style right-wing ass kissing is "Fake News" and the lying liberal media. Any political figure to the left of Reagan is a communist.

And that will never stop. Never.

So every time CNN does something like hire a Trump loyalist to oversee its 2020 election coverage – Brilliant! What could go wrong! – it gets even sadder. They will be out of business someday, and as they close up the shop for the last time they still will not have figured out what they did wrong – that trying to appease the right never works and you make the product shitty and unwatchable to everyone else in the process. You ruin it, in short. You ruin it and get nothing in return.

In their fertile imaginations I suppose they think moves like this will make Fox News viewers think, "Well maybe it's time to watch some CNN!" And that's sad. It's almost unbearably sad that CNN has yet to figure out that those viewers will never love them, will never switch over to CNN, will never think or speak of CNN as anything but fake lying liberal media trash because that belief is a core tenet of their worldview.

If they have not figured this out yet there is no hope that they ever will. CNN used to be a decent news organization, like the NYT used to have a half-decent editorial page. Now they're both shit and they won over exactly zero conservatives in the process of running their own product into the ground.

40 thoughts on “ABUSIVE AUDIENCE”

  • bruce.desertrat says:

    To be fair, CNN's move is because it is entirely in line with the Jeff Zucker's contention that the "news" is supposed to be some form of entertainment; and to be quite honest Trump has been berry berry good to him, particularly in terms of tax cuts…after all Jeff's never going to be hurt in a Trump Regime…

  • I don't watch the news, unless it's unavoidable. I haven't watched a news program in well over 20 years that didn't reek of "THIS is what WE want YOU to KNOW.". I quit listening to NPR for the most part for similar reasons. The only news that I really see is being done by comics with political agendas–and I like that sort of thing, up to a point.

    I want an honest, dedicated, professional group of people gathering information, fact-checking and reporting news about things which I can then analyze and come to a rational decision about.

    I also want a shetland pony and a bb gun.

  • It should be a tell that the inventor of the Liberal Media Bias was Nixon. And he was actually a crook. Despite assertions to the contrary.

  • CNN is "news" like World Wrestling Foundation is "wrestling"—i.e., it's infotainment done in a news format style.

    The era of Trump has been fantastic for CNN—their profits are at an all time high.

    CNN plays the role of the Trump foil, but like WWF it's just an act. Hiring right wing spinmeisters (like Corey Lewandowski last election and Sarah Isgur for the upcoming election) makes good business sense. They will keep up the both-siderisms while Trump holds them in a headlock, while pretending to be terribly hurt by the chairs Trump hurls at them, and the whole time laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Any political figure to the left of Reagan is a communist.

    Hell, Reagan himself was practically a communist — if we're talking about the real-world President, not the one fondly imagined by right-wingers. Which only drives home the point that it's a worldview impervious to facts and logic.

  • Brian's CNN Boss: "Man, we are taking heat for hiring a GOP operative who has pledged loyalty to the sitting president to run our 2020 campaign coverage! Brian! Get on twitter and make a corncob of yourself!"

    Brian Stelter: "Yes, sir!"

  • Speaking of Biden, Trent Lott says he is the only Dem who can beat Trump in 2020. So I guess that pretty much settles that.

  • Christ on a fucking crutch…it's okay to STOP auditioning for the approval of people who will never, EVER give it to you. It's freeing, actually. So Faux News calls you a pinko commie. And?? BFD…Rather than walk it back and do their song and dance, the appropriate answer is, "That's all you've got? Nice try, asshole," while pounding your point into their skulls. And if you see an opportunity to point out their pathetic deflection while making them look like complete assholes in the process, do it without even blinking. Stop caring whether or not they like you. The thing is, without the bullying accusations, *they have nothing*.

  • When all they have left is red-baiting you know they're out of ideas.

    Cult-like devotion to Dear Leader. Party before country. Idealogy above all. Anyone not in the party is the enemy. Slogans over facts. Propaganda as news.

    Yeah, someone reminds me of the Communists but it ain't who you think it is.

  • Perpetual mollification is the commencement of self-abnegation. No masochism left behind.

    One small step to the right, one giant leap for the benighted.

  • If they were truly honest, Fox fans would say that Jesus Christ was a commie and he got off lightly with just a scourging and crucifixion.

  • What's darkly amusing is it's not the socialism as practiced by first century Christians, but the pragmatic variety that FDR figured would be just enough to dissuade American craftsmen from building tumbrels & guillotines. The usual suspects are so quiet when an immensely wealthy entity somehow needs taxpayer aid to build a facility, which looks like socialism from here.

  • @ Aurora S exactly well said, and one reason that Elizabeth Warren should have left bad enough alone and never taken that stupid DNA test. Trump was NEVER going to drop the thing of calling her Pocahontas, nor his audiences stop doing fake war whoops, tomahawk chops and so on.

    As for "… an opportunity to point out [Trump's] pathetic deflection while making [him] look like [a complete asshole] in the process …," I will admit I don't really know how she should have framed and handled it, but she surely could have found somebody who does this kind of thing to come up with a better idea.

  • It's less about appeasement and more about the honest beliefs of senior executives. If you assemble 100 media executives in a room, you have about 97 white people and 95 men and ~100 relatively wealthy people and 50 or more VERY wealthy people. Despite the Republicans trying to work the refs about "liberal media", this group skews hard right. There are 0 socialists in that group, 0 leftist Democrats, probably 30 conservative Democrats and 70 Republicans. There are also 100 people who think of themselves as having mainstream, perfectly normal views that accurately represent the will of the public. And there are 100 people who understand that they need to represent the views of their bosses (even more conservative) if they are to survive within the organization.

    Another way to write the above: almost every media exec goes home and turns on Fox News for entertainment/news.

    It's not appeasement, it's CNN execs doing what they think is right.

  • Reality Check "First and foremost, Hitler saw the State as the ideal form of social organization; managed by people dedicated to making it finer and stronger. Wrong! He failed totally to get his premise right, i.e., that individual humans each own themselves, and should interact only when and how each wishes to do so – in what we call the “market.” This fundamental error he shares with all who favor the continuing existence of government. Thus, at root, every politician is a Nazi." From: http://strike-the-root.com/monster-in-making

  • Being President is not an entry level job, therefore, it is time that we have a discussion on who is qualified in order to become a candidate for the President of the United States other than just being born in this country. So I am proposing the candidate would have to release their taxes for the past seven or more years. Secondly, the candidate would have to pass a written or an oral examination (no coaches or lawyers present) on the Constitution (not an interpretation) and the election and campaign laws of the United States given by three Federal Judges each being from a different area of our nation and they would certify if the candidate was qualified. Hopefully, this would eliminate unqualified and not so serious candidates as the candidate would have to spend valuable time preparing for the test. This could be a law of requirement passed by the Federal government or possibly by a dozen or more states destroying the chances of an unqualified candidate from being placed on the ballot for President of the United States. It should be further recognized that being President is an awesome responsibility and that being elected is not a person who would shut down the government and would have to pledge no to do so. Closing down the government could bring charges of high crime (felony.) We just have to examine the largest corporations of our nation and see if their CEO's close down their large companies. Does the CEO of General Electric, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, the CEO of Ford Motor Company, the CEO of IBM, etc., close down their operations for a week or a month? I would think not.

  • MS above gets it right. Thomas Frank has been making a similar point for a long while, namely, that the liberal professional class, often educated at an Ivy League school, came to power and influence during the Clinton administration (including within the mainstream media and the so-called Deep State) and can’t conceive of others outside their narrow demographic having legitimate perspectives on issues of the day. It’s like asking some who sees in black and white to describe a fully saturated technicolor image: it lies outside their capability. Their worldview is too narrowly circumscribed (typically by the simple corruption of excess wealth) to represent the messy diversity that is America.

  • Okay, Brutus, thanks for making it all clear. I need to hate everybody who's wealthy or well educated. Got it, thanks.

    That worked out so well for Pol Pot and his pals.

  • Wha? Who's prescribing hatred? Not me.

    Everyone is circumscribed by their particular life experience and can't process all the varieties of experience in a pluralistic society. That's you and me, too. Thomas Frank's argument is that a relatively narrow, self-reinforcing cohort now occupies positions of power and influence and they don't share interests except among themselves, which is primarily careerism.

    If there's a policy prescription to be drawn from that observation, you're welcome to try, but it's (arguably) not hatred.

  • Semi-relevant (to me) cultural reference:

    "Hartman: You goddamn communist heathen, you had best sound off that you love the Virgin Mary… or I'm gonna stomp your guts out! Now you do love the Virgin Mary, don't you?!
    Joker: Sir, negative, sir!!Hartman: Private Joker, are you trying to offend me?!
    Joker: Sir, negative, sir!!! Sir, the private believes that any answer he gives will be wrong! And the Senior Drill Instructor will beat him harder if he reverses himself, sir!"

  • @ Brutus:

    So, what, love it?


    "namely, that the liberal professional class, often educated at an Ivy League school, came to power and influence during the Clinton administration (including within the mainstream media and the so-called Deep State) and can’t conceive of others outside their narrow demographic having legitimate perspectives on issues of the day."

    They're the only ones you're talking about, just the liberals? Dump them? What?

  • Democommie, stop being obtuse. Either that or you are out of your league here. Hyperbolic accusations ("just like Pol Pot," are you kiddding) are neither useful nor true. I've been to the killing fields. Comparing that to somebody proposing for explanatory purposes that the people who make decisions come from a certain homogenous class with certain interests is …not that. And it isn't even close. Your subsequent failure to get the point after a helpful explanation of it is, well. See above re obtuse.

  • Zoe:

    I only went back about 3 months but I can't find a comment by you in that period, so I"m going with "drive by" until I get better information.

    " Comparing that to somebody proposing for explanatory purposes that the people who make decisions come from a certain homogenous class with certain interests is …not that. "

    Why? Because you say so.

    You've been to Cambodia? How about Germany, Poland, Ukraine.

    All of the mischief and dumbfuckery of totalitarian politics can be justified (in the minds of the genocidal maniacs who perpetrate such acts) because the OTHER is different to us and not capable of decency, compassion, integrity or other humane qualities.

    Brutus offers a blanket condemnation of "Old Liberal" persons and policies.

    Yeah, no.

  • Tiny rebuttal: there's a wide margin between blanket condemnation (not my style) and offering an explanation of an observable phenomenon, in this case even attributed to someone else (Thomas Frank).

  • Another tiny rebuttal: Brutus wrote "the liberal professional class, often educated at an Ivy League school, came to power and influence during the Clinton administration". Arguably, the liberal professional class has been around since JFK and his "the best and the brightest" waded deep into Vietnam.

  • Thomas Frank is a smart guy. He's hardly the only one out there.

    I'm not at all sure what you think the alternative to the shitshow that's going on right now but if you can kick the DNC to the curb and win the country back for democracy (something that we've never really had, here, btw) share your plans with us.

    @ Townsend Harris:

    Yes, they've been around since at least the early part of the 20th century. Back in the days of the robber barons, dissenting voices could be stilled with money, various items of vice or brutal suppression. These days it's all opioids and HF corn syrup! {;>)

    To pick up on your Vietnam reference.

    Both major parties suck. The real difference for me is that the "Liberal ELITES" might hubristically or in a misguided attempt to right a wrong. destroy the village in order to save it. The "KKKonservatives" will destroy the same village, because they can.

  • A professional class has been around since corporate capitalism began its rise. Not sure that is the main problem, as the real problem is the Owners of the capital. And no, I am not calling for a Cultural Revolution. The only thing that I see as worse than total rule of the rich is total rule of self righteous, "religious" leftists. The Kochs may be awful, Brother Zero (riffing off demo) was far, far worse. Better a Vice President of New Market Development than a First Political Commissar for Party Discipline.

  • Just stop watching any and all political video. Really, just read. It's faster and you lose absolutely nothing. There is nothing on any video platform that is not better covered by the written word. There's no reason to watch the speeches. American political speech is just a rote form of theater with virtually no meaningful content. Just speed read a transcript and you're fine.

    When you don't watch any televised news for a long stretch of time and then you happen to catch some MSNBC at your parents house or whatever, it looks like the fucking screens in Starship Troopers. The only thing that differentiates American propaganda from any other is that the free market gives us competing ministries.

    Print and online journalism are in a sorry state, but they're infinitely better than anything on any television station.

  • Glen Tomkins says:

    You're right, the attempt to appease the Right isn't rational.

    But my take is that CNN and the NYT don't do this out of a mistaken idea that it will get them conservative audience share, but rather out of a sadly misdirected idealism. Vox populi, vox Dei. If Trump got an electoral majority, then, dammit, Trump has to be treated as some sort of oracle, no matter how little in sympathy you or I or the rest of the editorial board may be. It's the objectively necessary move if you believe in the will of the people and the wisdom of the crowds.

    Now, if a sensible and reasonable person like Obama wins the presidency, well, that's no mystery, that doesn't require any attempt to reach out and find opinion page voices sympathetic to sense and reason. The folks in charge imagine that they are already quite sensible and reasonable. They only feel obligated to bend and accommodate if the election result is mysterious and inexplicable to sense and reason. They have to bring in some non-sensible and irrational voices to explain to all of us what the hell is going on.

  • Wesley Sandel says:

    I have yet to meet a self-proclaimed anti-communist who has actually read Marx, knows what capitalism is or how it works or what communism and socialism are.

    Although I'm a Marxist, I'm also a classic liberal who thinks that free markets work well for all kinds of products and services – as long as it's intelligently regulated in the interest of the working man and woman.

    Consequently, when I meet the ignorant pseud-capitalist trash I just take the far-left position by default and call them out on their ignorance. Even if "the commies" did take over, I trust them a lot more than the pseudo-capitalist, fascist trash.

  • @ Glen Tomkins:

    Well, they've certainly brought in the irrational voices–I'm a little cynical about the rest of it.

    Capitalist of communist–bosses gonna boss.

    I think of myself as a pragmatic socialist–I believe in dealing with shit while it can be dealt with instead of kicking it down the road–in gummint, I mean, not in my HOUSE.

    Both socialism and capitalism existed (and coexisted) long before they were given those labels. Neither of those socio-economic systems functions well for long, outside the lab..

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