Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Is CNN A Reputable Outlet Anymore?

The latest internet blunder to come out of Atlanta, surprisingly, isn’t related to Love & Hip-Hop, it has to do with CNN and the not-so-subtle prejudice underlining its coverage of the trial of one officer involved in the killing of Freddie Gray which began today.

Following the nutgraph of a report explaining that fact, writers Ann O’Neill and Aaron Cooper made an interesting editorial choice when, in attempting to explain the impact of this case, eulogized Freddie Gray as “the son of an illiterate heroin addict” — a fact that had nothing to do with the circumstances of his killing, but one that could certainly color people’s opinion of the slain 25-year-old.

This type of thing is common in mainstream media where the inability to see people of color as victims manifests itself in labels such as “thug” being used to describe deceased individuals and unrelated details of one’s past (like being the child of an illiterate heroin addict) are made public to lessen the burden of blame on the perpetrator. Meanwhile, white women like Kiersten Rickenbach who died of an overdose after a night of partying get described as a “beautiful Long Island dermatologist and mother of three.” Nevertheless, there are some outlets where this type of lowbrow journalism is considered par for the course (Fox) and others where you expect better. CNN has always been in the latter category as far as the liberal population was concerned, and even the general public according to this 2010 poll, but as of late they’re starting to look like the Fox of the right-wing.

From employing a man like Don Lemon, who we could only hope was just trolling everyone with his obnoxious and inappropriate questions but seems to really be as incompetent as he comes across, to actually debating which racial slur is worse, the n-word or cracker (another brainchild of Lemon’s), to far too many instances of racial insensitivity (like the paragraph above) in a time where overt racism is at an all time high, many find themselves asking what’s going on over there.

There used to be a time when CNN was considered reputable and neutral. Everyone knew you go to Fox to get the conservative view and MSNBC for the liberal side of things, while CNN would deliver unbiased fact. Now, it appears, in a quest for ratings the Atlanta-based network has forsaken its reputable reputation in favor of being first (even if the details of the report haven’t actually been proven) and as salacious as its competitors — at the sake of black folks of course. It’s a switch a former correspondent says has a lot to do with the network merging with AOL, the absence of founder Ted Turner, and the fact the cable news channel “can’t remember what it used to be and what it needs to be.”

While by 7:29 pm the network did eventually remove the details of Gray’s mother from their article, adding an editor’s note explaining the reference was removed because it appeared out of context, that does little for many whose respect for CNN was already hanging on by a thread, including us.

  1. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    “There used to be a time when CNN was considered reputable and neutral. Everyone knew you go to Fox to get the conservative view and MSNBC for the liberal side of things, while CNN would deliver unbiased fact.”

    That is a lie that CNN use for their brand. The last time I checked, according to the Nielson ratings, 16% of CNN’s viewers were Black. If people had such an issue, they would cease watching. I don’t even watch MSNBC anymore because of their obvious corporate pandering that has occurred in the last five months.

  2. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    The only news channel I watch now is PBS and BBC.

  3. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    CNN should not be anyone’s sole source of news, especially for people desiring balanced and objective reporting and not biased sensationalism and questionable journalistic merit. Personally, I am partial to BBC, NPR, and Al Jazeera.

  4. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    Corporate media engines like FOX, CNN, etc. have shown bias for years. I remember when many in CNN gushed in supporting the Iraq War (which proved to be a total disaster). The Iraq War just a few years after 9/11. Independent media sources are entities that we should always embrace. I like the Real News, I respect Al Jazeera (especially on its international coverage). I like many of PBS’ shows. At the end of the day, people should receive unfiltered, accurate news about the globe.

  5. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    To answer the question? A big fat NO. I stopped watching after that balloon boy mess. I don’t even read their articles because it lowers your iq. I get my news from Al Jazeera, PBS, and Democracy Now.

    • December 2, 2015 - Reply


      Democracy Now all the way

  6. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    I choose to research news topics instead of allowing the alphabet news stations to spoon-feed me watered down story lines. Objective journalism has been replaced with silly talking-head personalities, providing nothing but gimmicks and fluff.
    Corporate conglomerates control and manipulate mass media like never before.

    • December 2, 2015 - Reply

      @Chazz A

      Truer words have never been spoken. The media is owned by corporations, and the same goes for the so-called music industry and radio stations.

      • December 2, 2015 - Reply



  7. December 1, 2015 - Reply

    No CNN went to hell a long time ago. Especially with coon Lemon on board. CNN sucks.

    • December 2, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      I co sign your words Sister.

  8. December 2, 2015 - Reply

    CNN, as well as the rest of the traditional MSM (FOX, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, et al.), have devolved into propraganda-driven dribble.

  9. December 2, 2015 - Reply

    I watch MSNBC for Melissa-Harris-Perry on weekends and I like Rachel Maddow.

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