CNN Thinks It Has Trick Up Its Sleeve with March Madness Ad, But Then It All Comes Crumbling Down


CNN is offering its own kind of March Madness — and it’s not the kind that’s drawing Americans to television screens.

Apparently confusing an advertising budget with editorial integrity, the flailing news network is using the nation’s annual fixation with the NCAA college basketball tournament to try to boost its anemic viewer interest.

But it came crumbling down at the end — and CNN has no one to blame but itself.

According to Variety, a 15-second ad spot CNN is purchasing for tournament games takes a not-so-subtle swipe at Fox News — the colossus of cable television that’s currently fighting a $1.6 billion defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems over Fox’s coverage of the fallout from the 2020 election.

“What should you expect of a news network?” a male voice asks, as CNN footage flashes network faces such as anchor Jake Tapper and correspondent Abby Phillip. “Some bury the truth, while we fight to reveal the facts. The only side we are on is yours.”

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It ends with CNN’s motto, a model of misleading marketing:

“The most trusted name in news.”

Check it out here:

That’s actually not even close to being true. Any American who follows the news even casually knows good and well that CNN has its “side,” and it’s the side of the Democratic Party.

Whatever the outcome of the Dominion lawsuit against Fox, it won’t change CNN’s longstanding record of sacrificing journalistic principles for the sake of politics. (It was tagged “the Clinton News Network” back when the “Clinton” everyone talked about was Bill.)

And that’s where the tagline of CNN’s ad destroys its own point.

“The most trusted name in news”? Hardly.

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Just look at Chris Cuomo — the former CNN powerhouse who’s now hosting a show on NewsNation and trying to remind Americans of who he used to be.

Cuomo, whose brother is former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, lost his primetime job at CNN after his covert work came to light trying to help the elder Cuomo survive a sexual harassment scandal that ultimately ended his third term as governor prematurely.

And then there’s former CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, forced to resign over a relationship he failed to disclose.

Zucker’s meddling in CNN’s editorial decisions was common knowledge during his tenure, turning a reputed “news” network into a de facto propaganda wing of the Democratic Party.

And then, of course, there’s Don Lemon — it seems like there’s always Don Lemon these days — who even before his demotion to “CNN This Morning” and well-documented blowups with his co-anchors was a very public problem whose behavior raised questions that struck at the heart of CNN’s credibility.

(Helping a well-known liar like Jussie Smollett is not a good way to build trust in heartland America.)

And this doesn’t even get into the notoriously “unreliable” Brian Stelter, the arrogant Jim Acosta, or any number of reasons Americans know that CNN is not “the most trusted name in news.”

This isn’t just a question of the past year or the pandemic.

CNN’s best-known personalities have spent years giving all Americans — not just conservatives — reasons to think the network caters to the left end of the political spectrum.

(Fawning all over now-disgraced, imprisoned attorney Michael Avenatti to attack the Trump administration was the network’s go-to strategy before “Russian collusion” took over. They seem like such innocent days now.)

Even liberals have to understand that CNN is not to be “trusted” in any conventional sense. For the left, it can be “trusted” to convey the proper political tone, but as an objective source of information, the idea is laughable.

Do you trust CNN to tell the truth?

And Licht, whatever his intentions, hasn’t helped matters much. The new “CNN Primetime” the network rolled out has been pathetically unable to catch fire, according to The New York Times.

“CNN This Morning” with Lemon and co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins is the morning news equivalent of stock car racing — too many people are watching just for the crashes.

And all this is happening as the network prepares to mark one year since the debacle of CNN+ set a new standard for what failure looks like in cable network news.

In short, this was an attack that first crumbled, then backfired badly.

Fox’s response to CNN’s attack was blunt:

“As the industry is acutely aware, the CNN brand is suffering from their own March Madness — just look at what they’ve done for CNN+, ‘CNN This Morning,’ ‘CNN Primetime’ and Warner Bros. Discovery shareholders,” the network said in a statement.

Considering the circumstances, that’s actually restrained. A long-discredited CNN taking shots at some unnamed network for allegedly “burying the truth”? And then claiming to be “the most trusted name in news”?

Not even the madness of March is enough to make that fly.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.