Context is everything and the context of CNN’s down playing of Trump's newly announced anti-immigrant propaganda bureau is becoming clearer.
Apparently CNN anchors enjoyed a secret lunch with Trump prior to his address to congress. During the lunch Trump convinced the anchors that he was going to call for comprehensive immigration reform during his speech. The lunch conversation which was clearly designed to calm the waters between Trump and CNN was not disclosed to viewers during the hours long on air speculation about the "softening" of Trump on one of his core issues. The all boy luncheon between the anchors and Trump who CNN agreed to refer to only as “ a senior White House official” yielded Trump hours of good press in front of millions of viewers. The secret rendezvous also apparently led to the glowing reviews of Trump's address to Congress even though the speech included a plan to institutionalize the scapegoating of Latino immigrants.
The bait and switch that CNN's own reporters admitted to falling for left many scratching their heads. CNN anchor John King at one point during the day pondered a question that many of us lay people thought had been answered long ago when he said during an on air discussion of the White House disinformation effort “maybe we shouldn’t believe what they say”.
Let me first stop to answer John King's question once and for all: Dear CNN anchors: don't believe anything the White House says.
The problem however is not only with the anchors and pundits at CNN it is with CNN's production approach. The politics and policy surrounding immigration are complex but the issue does not receive the respect that the cable network applies to other topics. Consider that CNN assembles military experts and representatives of international bodies when discussing the complex conflicts and alliances that America is engaged in around the world. When discussing justice reform CNN will bring in panels of top law enforcement experts, community members, and local leaders impacted by the justice system. CNN consistently includes experts in the fields of science, politics, and policy when discussing climate change. Notably on the issue of climate change CNN even offers invites to spokespeople that promote views contrary to known and established fact. However when it comes to discussing the lives of 10 to 15 million people working and living here in the United States CNN seems to believe that anybody’s opinion is sufficient. It is almost as if the operating premise of the immigration debate is “how can the plight of a bunch of brown people be that difficult to understand?”.
If CNN had included top experts in the immigration field combined with a panel of community members that understand the issue as they do with other topics the on air discussion about the potential of immigration reform from a Trump White House would have been far more analytical and skeptical. In retrospect skepticism would have been the most accurate analysis.
Let’s dream even further than hoping for a modicum of respect for the topic of immigration by CNN and say that if by some amazingly insane miracle CNN would have had a Latina or Latino on board as an anchor the lunch conversation between Trump and CNN might have itself have been fundamentally different.
Immigration is only one example of how the “most trusted name in news” not only neglects the Latino community but actually enables the harm that is being done to us. Communities need to demand more of a cable news business that utilizes taxpayer maintained public infrastructure to make billions of dollars while the families that pay for that infrastructure live in fear.
In short CNN anchors lunch with billionaire liars while working families hunger for truth and we should stop paying the tab.
Posted on 03/02/2017 at 07:59:00 AM