Americans are now all too well aware that no matter where they are to be found in American society, woke leftists are always considered to be more important to woke leftism’s cult-like followers then what they are actually tasked to do in their individual jobs.
This scenario is in the spotlight these days in America’s public schools. There is one news report after another out there telling the tale of parent groups angrily confronting school boards for indoctrinating, as opposed to educating, their kids.
Whether one examines religion - notably mainline Protestant denominations - or sports (see: the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Catholic mocking Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) or corporate America (see: Bud Light or Target) or more, it is self-evident that woke leftism is much more important to these woke leftists than what, in fact, their actual job requires them to do. Whether that job is preaching mainline Protestant doctrine, playing baseball or selling beer or clothes and other goods.
This disease of woke leftism is now in the process of devouring CNN -- once considered the gold standard of just-the-facts journalism when founded by billionaire Atlanta advertising guy Ted Turner.
Recall that Turner wrote this in his autobiography when recalling why he created CNN:
Although I hadn’t watched much television news, I did have some strong opinions about what I wanted CNN to be. While the networks and local news stations seemed to follow a ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ rule centering their broadcasts on murders, car wrecks, disasters, and the like, I wanted us to do more serious journalism and go deeper into the more important issues of the day. I also wanted to present the news in an unbiased fashion. At that time, some of the evening anchors, including Walter Cronkite, were injecting their own opinions into the telecasts and I just didn’t like it. (CNN President Reese) Schonfeld and I decided that on CNN, news would be the star, not our on-air people.
Suffice to say, as the dismissal of CNN CEO Chris Licht this week illustrates vividly, CNN staff and employees are long gone from Ted Turner’s founding vision. The star at CNN now is supposed to be woke leftism, not journalism. In today’s world the entire point of CNN’s woke lefties existence is to present the news in a decidedly far-left fashion. And if you disagree with that - as Chris Licht did - they are coming for you.
It matters not to these people if the CNN ratings fall below the basement. Like the executives at Anheuser-Busch, Target and with the L.A. Dodgers, the CNNers are all about not the job at hand, in their case Ted Turner’s vision of just-the-facts-journalism. No, they are about virtue signaling with their woke leftism -- ratings be damned.
And CNN is most assuredly not alone in this approach to journalism. What began to push Licht out the door was a lengthy piece in The Atlantic by lefty journo Tim Alberta. The article is a classic in left-wing journalism, illustrating vividly that lefty journalists are all about gathering in their airless clubhouse where no opposition is tolerated.
Full disclosure, I found myself mentioned by Alberta in discussing CNN’s 2016 role, mentioning my time as a CNN contributor. The telling graph read this way:
However self-serving his criticisms of (CNN CEO predecessor Jeff) Zucker, Licht had legitimate reasons to be wary of his predecessor’s approach. CNN had produced some terrific reporting during the Trump years, but it had also embarrassed itself, and the industry as a whole, on more than a few occasions. The use of paid contributors such as Jeffrey Lord and Corey Lewandowski, the latter of whom appeared on air while still being paid by the Trump campaign, served no defensible journalistic purpose.
I confess it was impossible to read this without laughing out loud at the amazing lack of self-awareness displayed here by Alberta. My presence on CNN during the 2016 race and that of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as we made opposing arguments to our liberal colleagues “served no defensible journalistic purpose”? Really? Which is to say, disagreeing with the left and their fanatic support of all things left is simply not “defensible journalism.” To air conservatives or, in that case, Trump supporters, was a big no-no in the lefty woke world. It's "bothsidesism."
To say that is the real reveal in Alberta’s article and the dismissal of Chris Licht would to be understate the problem.
The entire Atlantic piece, not to mention the magazine itself, is all about virtue signaling woke leftism. That’s fine as far as it goes. Free speech is a good thing. God Bless America.
But the problem vividly illustrated both in the Atlantic article and the firing of Chris Licht mere days later as a result is that the American left is intolerant of dissent. It is populated by would-be media totalitarians who will brook no dissent in the world of what they see as an exclusive left-wing platform. It is no small thing that when Licht had CNN host a town hall with Donald Trump, CNN’s ratings soared. And CNN’s employees rebelled.
As my NewsBusters colleague Curtis Houck has correctly said of what’s to come in Licht’s absence:
In the interim, expect CNN employees to feel liberated to return to flashing more of their visceral hatred for Trump and conservatives.
And if you don’t like it? Don’t watch.
Clearly, millions of Americans have gotten the message. CNN is now about self-sabotage -- and those millions of Americans are now choosing not to watch.