Friday, October 7, 2016

CNN: Censoring Nonconformist News

As I've pointed out, major news networks tend to ignore third party candidates. This happens all the time. But to flat-out censor the opinions of your own focus group to remove any concept of a third party option? That's just low.

Lower than low, really. (I'd say it's deplorable, but that word has already been taken this election season.) The following is from an article from LibertyBuzz, so yes, it's admittedly biased, but what news source isn't?

Clearly, the debates weren't on HBO.
After the debate, they asked all of us in the focus group if we were decided on a candidate. Out of 28 panel members, 5 said they were decided on Clinton, 2 said they were decided on Trump, and 12 said they were going to vote 3rd party. But once they saw the response, they reshot the segment and replaced "3rd party" with "still undecided".

This comes from a Facebook post made by one of the members of the focus group, Justin Smith. Later amended by Smith to clarify a few things, the post explains how CNN originally asked the group to raise their hands for either Clinton, Trump, or a third party candidate. CNN then told the panel they were going to re-shoot and removed the option for third party, leaving many to indicate they were "undecided" as this was the only non-Trump, non-Clinton option they were given. 

For the rest of this post, I'm going to make an assumption that Justin Smith's account of things is accurate. Do I know this for certain? No, of course not. I wasn't there and I only have access to what has provided. It's entirely possible that it didn't happen this way. In fact, I hope it didn't. I'd like to think that we're not being censored from the truth. But if there's a chance that this all happened, the following is how I feel about it.

Moving on. 

The transcript for this, of course, only gives what was aired. Pamela Brown is asked whether the VP debate has influenced anyone's vote, and her response follows:

"It sure did. In fact, let's take a tally here. I want to ask everyone in the group, after watching this debate, who in this group will now vote for the Clinton-Kaine ticket come November? Raise your hand. All right. So as you see, we have five people who say they will vote for Clinton-Kaine.
If you're getting screwed in this poll, raise your hand.

Let's look at Trump-Pence. Raise your hand if you will vote for them come November. Two people. And those still undecided, still have no idea who they're going to vote for, raise your hands. All right, Wolf, as you see, a majority here in this room at the University of Richmond still undecided."

Except, according to Smith, about 40% of the people in that room had already indicated that they were planning to vote for a third party candidate. If you add those 12 to the seven who indicated they will be voting for either Trump or Clinton, 2/3 of the panel have already chosen a candidate. By definition, the majority of the room (with majority literally meaning more than half) is decided, not UNdecided. And to suggest they have "no idea" who they're voting for is simply not true.  

It's no surprise that CNN is backing Clinton. Not only is CNN notorious for leaning to the left (hence the reason my dad, among others, calls it the "Communist News Network"), but this Observer opinion piece points out that host Chris Cuomo let it slip in 2015 that they were one of Clinton's biggest backers. (If you watch the clip, he doesn't specifically say that CNN is a Clinton supporter. But since CNN is generally considered part of the media, and due to his use of "we" in his statements, I think we can safely make some inferences about where they stand.)

Still, CNN (and all other media outlets) has a responsibility to accurately report the news. I had to search around for their mission/vision statement and finally found it on the Cable News Network blog (via Wordpress). Under accuracy, it is stated that "CNN is committed to achieving accuracy. We strive to present the truth to our audience." They even specify ways by which they ensure accuracy, such as "guarding against carelessness and omission of important news" and "continuously seeking and reporting the truth." 

And then, under the section titled Objectivity, is this gem.

Totally checks out! *WINK*

CNN strives to provide the most neutral and unbiased stories to our audience so that they can obtain the most accurate information. We consider a range of varying perspectives and treat controversial subjects, as well as all other subjects, with impartiality.

So I wonder, then, which part of censorship they believe supports their mission and vision for the company. It's not accurate, as in doing so they both omitted important news and failed to report the truth. And it's not impartial, as the way they presented the information is clearly biased against third party candidates (and in favor of Clinton). Hmmm... 

Lastly, I want to share this statement from their career page We are CNN:

We are the now and the next. The power behind the people building the future.
We are born from the spirit of innovation.
We are created from the idea that people around the world want more, need more, deserve more.
We are the home of the global digital revolution.
We are CNN.

Well, they're right. We do want more, need more, and deserve more. Let's start with the truth (the WHOLE truth) and go from there.