Too bad that “C” doesn’t stand for “credibility.”
Anchors, reporters and editors at CNN have aimed a stream of vitriol at President Donald Trump since even before he upset Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election, but one of the network’s biggest names found himself on the wrong end of heavy social media fire this week after publishing a Twitter post showing what appeared to be an image of Trump in a sniper’s crosshairs.
And if conservatives had trouble believing the explanation, no one could blame them.
The brouhaha started Tuesday when Chris Cillizza, an “editor-at-large” for CNN, published a tweet that looked like a liberal dream — Trump about to be shot down while delivering a speech.
Cillizza deleted the tweet, but not before Caleb Hull, senior editor at the Independent Journal Review, managed to capture it before it disappeared.
There’s no getting around what that image looks like to a reasonable observer — the president of the United States only a trigger squeeze away from a bullet in the chest.
And while it’s the stuff of deranged liberal fantasies from the likes of actor Johnny Depp or rapper Snoop Dog, Americans expect better from major news organizations, even ones as fatally biased as CNN.
In Cillizza’s defense, when he deleted the tweet, he explained that what appeared to be “crosshairs” wasn’t the scope of a rifle at all, just a default image that automatically got attached to his Twitter post.
The actual Trump image was then placed with it, which would account for both the markings and the strange color of the picture in his tweet.
That sounds plausible, and if it had happened from another outlet, it might be more readily believed. (If Cillizza would’ve had the class to include a simple “I’m sorry,” it may have helped, too.)
But CNN has gone out of its way to set itself up as the official news organ of the #Resistance — whether it’s a completely bogus story on alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia — or White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s incessant grandstanding at White House briefings.
It has also portrayed itself is the paragon of truth to the Trump White House’s alleged lies, like in its infamous “apple or banana” ad campaign.
When a news outlet does things like that, it can’t expect to rely on the benefit of the doubt when serious “mistakes” really happen. And the trust CNN has flushed away in the Trump years showed in the responses to Cillizza’s tweet.
Does anyone think for a second that a Fox News personality would get the benefit of the doubt if he’d published a Twitter post of then-President Barack Obama in what appeared to be a rifle’s crosshairs in 2015?
Does everyone remember the media storm back in 2011 when an insane gunman tried to assassinated Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords and liberals fell all over themselves to try to blame a congressional districting map published by a Sarah Palin political action committee?
For conservatives, those answers are “no” and “yes,” and it’s a well-earned cynicism that’s showing up in the response to Cillizza’s “mistake” in his Trump tweet.
And for CNN, it’s what happens when your credibility is shot.
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