For as much lip service as CNN gives to battling claims that they are “Fake News,” the media outlet doesn’t appear to be doing much to counter them. Arguably, they don’t seem to do much to appear as impartial in their reporting, either.
A recent situation with Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, also a 2020 presidential candidate, highlights just how politically-partisan and unprofessional as journalists they may be. While covering Harris on the campaign trail, CNN National Political Reporter Maeve Reston helped Harris with her wardrobe shopping.
CBS News political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns shared a video clip of the moment on Twitter. She gave no indication in her tweet that it was inappropriate for Reston to do such a thing.
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) February 16, 2019
Huey-Burns wasn’t alone in sharing the moment on social media. NBC News political reporter Ali Virali also shared a photo and didn’t seem to see a problem with it.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) February 16, 2019
It should be noted that on her Twitter bio, not only is Reston noted as a political reporter for CNN, but she is also “covering Kamala Harris & the 2020 presidential (My 5th).” Additionally, she was “Trained as a reporter in TX//NH//PA//DC//CA.”
According to Reston’s own tweet about it, she was not alone in what some would call inappropriate behavior. She said that she and others “forced” the jacket help on Harris.
We kind of forced @kamalaharris to try on this awesome oversized rainbow sequin jacket … She snapped it up. @alivitali perfectly named it as “the Mardi Gras Jacket” #2020 #SouthCarolina #CampaignFashionReport pic.twitter.com/2G0NFRkKL6
— Maeve Reston (@MaeveReston) February 16, 2019
Can anyone imagine a political reporter from establishment media helping any Republican politician with their wardrobe shopping while covering them on the campaign trail? The left won’t even cover first lady Melania Trump in a positive way for her fashion, and she is a former model. Meanwhile, they arguably slobber all over former first lady Michelle Obama’s fashion choices.
A reporter covering a presidential candidate should be assessing what is seen and heard in as unbiased a way as possible in order to be the fourth estate for the American public. When blatant bias is shown, when playing buddies with the candidate are present, it is a huge disservice to the public who rely on media for truth and unbiased reporting.
It would be completely different if the reporter were working in features or fashion. It could actually help the story to take on a more personal note, which is what those types of stories can present. But with political reporting of a presidential campaign, getting personally involved can cast a shadow on the reporting and the outlet associated with the reporter.
Some would say that would represent a conflict of interest that should be avoided to preserve journalistic integrity and ethics. To some, the whole thing may seem like a light-hearted exchange, something that isn’t a big deal.
But in the larger scheme of things, of CNN constantly being hit with “Fake News” claims and basic journalistic ethics and integrity, it was perhaps not the best choice to play fashion adviser to a presidential candidate the reporter was supposed to be covering.
An argument could be made that this is or should be the new way of reporting on candidates. An argument could be made that reporters should have a more personal, fun relationship with candidates.
Logically, those arguments should also be viewed from this perspective: If the situation were reversed and it was right-leaning political reporters doing the same with a Republican 2020 presidential candidate, would it be seen as just as cool and appropriate?
If the answer is ‘no’, then the answer to those arguments should be that it isn’t appropriate when the left does it, either.
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