Although President Trump is almost dangerously hyperbolic in calling much of the news media the “enemy of the people,” it would surely help matters if the media maintained at least a modicum of objectivity and fairness. Day after day, CNN’s bottom-of-screen chyrons during its supposedly straight-news shows make that network one of the worst violators of the journalistic ethic that once mandated separating news from opinion.

Witness the on-screen graphic that (with various, tiny word changes) graced hours of CNN’s morning coverage on Tuesday.

“Trump faces credibility crisis in prime-time address tonight,” it said. Really. This wasn’t on one of those opinion shows where the chyron was summarizing the thoughts of, say, Sean Hannity (on Fox) or Rachel Maddow (on MSNBC). This was supposedly a newscast. The chyron ran below reporter Sarah Westwood as she broadcast live from the White House lawn; it ran below host Kate Bolduan as she asked Westwood questions and reported more background on the president’s scheduled national address.


Who decided it’s a “credibility crisis”? Is that a universally, or even widely, agreed-upon analysis? Even if so, if it’s analysis at all, why is it a news headline — and if it is a headline, shouldn’t the source of the judgment somehow be named?

Sure, Trump’s credibility is often questioned. He spreads demonstrable falsehoods like fertilizer on a farm. But who is a nameless video editor to decide it’s a “crisis”?

And how is it that the main takeaway is not that Trump will hold his first-ever formal prime-time address (other than for a State of the Union speech), or that the speech is about immigration and the border wall? Both of those statements are objective, inarguable facts, which is supposedly what news headlines present.

Why is Trump’s credibility, rather than the substance of his speech, the issue? And why is it only Trump’s credibility? Why is it not a credibility crisis for all those many Democrats who so many times have supported border walls or physical barriers but now suddenly say a wall would be immoral?…. [The full blog post is here.]


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