Last week, I learned from the Manu Raju-Martha McSally spat that you have to treat every reporter from CNN as if they’re an upstanding, objective patriot, no matter what you might think of them.
This week, I learned that CNN’s has absolutely no problem hiring a White House correspondent who called the GOP “fundamentally broken.”
My assumption is that CNN doesn’t see any connection between these two things, either.
Raju, as you may have heard, made meta-headlines when he caught up with the Arizona Republican senator in the halls of the Capitol last Thursday and asked her whether she thought new evidence should be considered during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“Manu, you’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you,” McSally said.
“You’re not going to comment about this?” Raju said, following after her.
“You’re a liberal hack, buddy,” she reiterated.
Never mind the fact, as Joe Concha pointed out in an Op-Ed at The Hill, that this was similar to a volley of insulting language Raju received from Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar last year when he asked her to comment on a tweet in which she claimed Trump “trafficked in hate.”
“Are you serious?” Omar said to Raju on that occasion. “What is wrong with you?”
That received almost no attention. This time, the establishment media — in particular CNN — worked themselves up into “Good Night and Good Luck”-level righteous indignation within hours.
“Instead of answering a fair question, she simply called you a ‘liberal hack.’ It was disgusting, it was awful,” Wolf Blitzer said of McSally’s remarks.
“She should know better. Certainly, you’re one of the most respected congressional reporters up on Capitol Hill.”
After playing the recorded exchange for what was likely the 52nd time that day, Blitzer asked if Raju had been contacted by McSally’s staff.
“I have not heard from them at all,” Raju said.
“If they did the right thing, she would personally call you,” Blitzer clucked.
In a statement, meanwhile, CNN said it was “extremely unbecoming for a U.S. Senator to sink to this level and treat a member of the press this way for simply doing his job.”
Raju is, to be fair, much more even-handed than newly minted CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.
But that isn’t saying much.
“[T]his is my first day at @CNN as White House Correspondent,” Harwood tweeted Tuesday. “[H]onored and proud to join a team of journalists I’ve admired for so long.”
some personal news: this is my first day at @CNN as White House Correspondent. honored and proud to join a team of journalists I’ve admired for so long
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 21, 2020
According to Fox News, Harwood will be joining Jim Acosta in covering the White House, apparently because that irascible icon of anti-Trump sentiment needed a counterweight further to his left.
For many, Harwood first appeared on their radar screens as the moderator of a 2015 Republican presidential primary debate on CNBC. He was roundly criticized for asking biased questions during that debate.
However, if you want a glimpse into where Harwood’s head is at when it comes to conservatives, one need only to look at the December controversy involving his response to a tweet by CNN’s Brian Stelter.
Stelter is the host of “Reliable Sources,” a weekend show in which he works himself into a fulminating rage over the iniquities of the Trump administration and the modern GOP.
In the tweet, he quoted Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan: “In an unceasing effort to be seen as neutral, journalists time after time fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as roughly equivalent and then blaming political tribalism for not seeming to know the difference,” she wrote.
“[G]ood description of the challenge for journalism,” Harwood tweeted, adding that it was “hard for reporters to say plainly that the Republican Party, at this point in our history, is fundamentally broken… but it is.”
good description of the challenge for journalism
hard for reporters to say plainly that the Republican Party, at this point in our history, is fundamentally broken
but it is https://t.co/HXHn3cmJ4N
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) December 22, 2019
Now, keep in mind both Stelter and Sullivan are on the opinion side of journalism.
Their job is to tell you what they think. Harwood is, in his current position, supposed to be objective.
In his former role at CNBC, which is where he was at when he posted that December tweet, he was supposed to be objective too.
Then again, that’s the role Acosta is tasked with by CNN, and given the fact that he’s still in their good graces, one can easily deduce what Harwood’s new role at the network is.
“You hire John Harwood because Jim Acosta is somehow just not partisan enough. Harwood is the most infamously imbalanced debate moderator of the Trump era, so naturally CNN reaches out to put him at the White House,” Tim Graham, executive editor at the conservative watchdog group the Media Research Center, told Fox News.
“It will give them even more reason to complain irrationally that there aren’t ‘formal’ press briefings where the CNN crew can all yell hateful things at the press secretary.”
“Harwood’s Twitter account is a brilliant demonstration of how reporters destroy their own reputations by Owning the Cons in Dorsey-town,” Graham added, referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Indeed, here is your new White House correspondent, CNN viewers, all in 280 characters or less:
from this op-ed:
“Winning GOP climate answer is carbon pricing. market-based solution. well-designed carbon fee checks every box of conservative orthodoxy”
1. GOP leaders lambasted this as radical when Dems proposed it not long ago
2. Obamacare is similarly market-based
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 18, 2020
momentarily thrilling for team MAGA
but moments like these increasingly define GOP in opposition to people who are reasonably informed, rational, have common sense, can recognize facts and reality
Republicans have been bleeding among more-educated voters
it’s self-defeating https://t.co/k8hTVIgkq0
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 17, 2020
in reality, it does not
in the disconnected-from-reality bubble GOP senators like McSally have lodged themselves in, it feels like it does https://t.co/oVukSUvffw
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 16, 2020
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 16, 2020
If Harwood wants to do opinion journalism — which he’s done a bit of in the past — that’s certainly his business, but that’s not what he’s been hired to do at CNN.
He’s not on the Chris Cuomo/Don Lemon side of the network; he’s teaming up with Jim Acosta at the White House, where he’s putatively supposed to cover hard news.
You be the judge on whether he, at present, fulfills the requirements for that job.
While you’re at it, you can also ask yourself whether his current employer’s “Good Night and Good Luck” moment about Manu Raju being accused of liberal hackery is deserved.
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