I just performed my usual Saturday morning ritual of reading four newspapers ( somebody has to support them, after all.) Also part of the ritual is having CNN on in the background. Today over a two hour period I heard CNN anchor Fredericka Whitfield on at least a half dozen occasions, attempt to get various panels to say that :
1. There’s a chance the Trump tax package could still not pass congress
2. Even If it does; it is not necessarily a legislative victory for Trump
Time after time each panellist–and remember these people are not picked because they are friendly to Trump—quite the opposite—each panellist told Whitfield that yes, the bill is going to pass, and yes if it passes, it has to be seen as a victory for Trump. Still when I left the house at noon, Whitfield was persisting with yet another batch of panelists.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no Trump fan, I think he is more or less unhinged and has debased the presidency. But as a journalist, I cringe when I see such open bias on display from an organization that bills itself as the “most respected voice in news.” It is vitally important, as Carl Bernstein has said that in a time when there is even a hint of a president being impeached, the news media be more scrupulous than ever in sticking to the facts. The Nixon presidency ended, not because of the news media’s editorializing, but because of its factual reporting. It was the facts, not opinion, that led the Republican leadership to conclude that Nixon had to go, and it was they who forced their own leader from office. We need that kind of measured journalism today, or the cultural divide in the United States will widen even more with dangerous consequences in a country that is approaching being ungovernable.
The Whitfield display today was reminiscent of the old Monty Python sketch were the customer says the parrot is dead and the proprietor time and again insists it’s alive—“only resting.”

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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