Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crappy Network News: CNN

Long ago I realized that CNN was a crappy outlet for objective reports. I remember how they reported on incidents in Africa, which I knew quite a bit about, and they skewed the reporting quite openly. The reporter in question gave an interview in which she said she intentionally doesn't like to give reports that made the government look bad and that she instead, prefers the "new news" which was reports that made the government in question look good.

I've been in a hotel on trip for a couple of days and turn on the news to get some vague idea of what is going on, details I find elsewhere, but at least the main reports I can get. And since the time of day when I watch varies I turn on CNN, realizing I will get pathetic reporting from their news anchors.

Yesterday they had a report on the budget crisis in Wisconsin and showed the state workers on the floor of the state legislature disrupting and screaming. They then had a reporter lying through her eye-teeth by claiming that higher wages for bureaucrats means higher wages for all Americans. She also invented a claim that the average salary of Americans has declined as the percentage of union members in the workforce has declined. She actually said that wages are down in absolute terms without taking inflation into account. She claimed the average salary is now just $34,000 per year gross, down 10% from a decade ago. The last figure I saw was for 2005 and it said the average was $42,028. Remember this is average.

Then today they had a Lisa Desjardins on who was reporting on the federal budget and negotiations in DC to trim tiny, tiny amounts from the budget—about 1% in total—which the media calls "massive" cuts. Desjardins was saying that without the budget passing the government closes down. Well, that is never quite true, unfortunately. But we know what she means. Then she said something astounding in reference to government workers having an unpaid vacation. "All my friends and neighbors ask me, 'Am I going to have a job?'" I was rather astounded.

I know hundreds of people and I don't know anyone who works for the federal government and know one person who works for a state agency. I would never say that "all" my friends and neighbors are government employees. What kind of universe does she live in when everyone, or even most people, that she knows are government employees?

That report was then followed by a report, again, on the Wisconsin budget issues. This was a series of talking heads, about half a dozen of them. Every single one was a trade unionist predicting the end of the world, except for two minor Hollywood actors who predicted apocalypse if government employees are not allowed to hold taxpayers hostage. So, in two days they had two reports on the same issue. Both reports presented only one side of the debate. Yesterday they did it using bogus statistics and today it was by only have representatives of the trade unions on the screen.

This is what CNN calls objective reporting.

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