Midterm mudwrestling -- and this is CNN

I don't think I'm alone in considering this election cycle to be maybe a bit more odious than most. I suppose they're all this way, a mad mad mad mad maelstrom of vitriol, rhetoric--and mud. Now that the noise has at last, at long last come to ce...

I don't think I'm alone in considering this election cycle to be maybe a bit more odious than most. I suppose they're all this way, a mad mad mad mad maelstrom of vitriol, rhetoric-and mud.

Now that the noise has at last, at long last come to cease, I think we must reflect upon our behavior during this bloody affair, lest we cease to care of the state of our souls.

I'd thought initially to compare the failures of our political bodies, as we now argue merrily over which side "really" won, but to be honest I don't actually care that much about the political baseball game. Both teams embarrass themselves with such regularity that it's no surprise nobody wants to root, root root for the either one.

I was disgusted by a lot of what I saw this election season, but nothing irritated me more than the coverage of it. It is, I feel, nakedly obvious today that there are dueling biases grappling for control of the airwaves. The distortion of truth is the daily business of the television media, and egos-not issues-are headlines.

So now the First Amendment is once more besieged as Donald Trump, President of the United States, in a morning after midterm press conference, enjoyed about five minutes of a pleasant press conference before he was once more entangled in a thorn bush, this one named Jim Acosta.


I don't have any respect for CNN; as far as I am concerned they and all 24-hour news networks are akin to a gallery of monkeys howling and hurtling filth at tourists. I scarcely knew Jim Acosta through his work, but I know him well-enough through his twitter, well enough to get the impression that Jim Acosta's favorite person in the world may actually be Jim Acosta.

His behavior at the White House Press Conference was inexcusable. In a room full of 200 people, all of whom are desperate to have a question answered by the President of the United States, who himself devoted close to two hours to this press conference, Acosta insisted that his voice was most important, and he warranted more time, more questions and more accusations than anyone else.

In politics, naturally, one will take sides. Many in the news media are not immune to bias-this is just as true of myself as it is of anyone. But-and this is a big but-these sides, these biases, they are supposed to be set aside. If Acosta was "merely" a pundit, a person brought on for their opinion, and not a reporter, maybe I could let this be-but Acosta's title is white house correspondent, he is without question a "journalist" and as such, his behavior crosses the line.

The news is not about the newsman. The headlines are not about the typesetters. It is not the duty nor purpose of the press to make itself the center of the story's attention.

Somebody should tell CNN that, because they are single-handedly dragging the good name of television news and journalism in general through a quagmire. The more they cry foul, the deeper lies their hypocrisy. CNN claims that Trump is attacking their first amendment rights by revoking Acosta's White House access. That's rich, actually, since CNN has under active threat the personal information of a Reddit user who once made an animated image (called a .gif) that showed wrestling footage with Trump's face and the CNN logo superimposed over the wrestlers.

Trump's wrestler, in this image, body slams CNN's wrestler.

CNN claimed this was an incitement of violence against the press and posted a lengthy story that includes the following:

"CNN is not publishing (reddit username's) name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.


CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change."

It's important, I suppose, for people to serve as an example of what happens if you dare to embarrass CNN. They love free speech so much, apparently, that they know exactly when free speech is in danger and when it isn't-and how fortunate we are that, in their wisdom, they've stepped up to be the gatekeepers of the First Amendment.

Well, let's not do anything to embarrass CNN. Let's not make any satirical images, let's not criticize their lopsided reporting, their shallow features, their pointed bias, their increasingly absurd presentation, as though they are broadcasting the news from the set of Star Trek-don't say anything, about any of it. Don't talk about how CNN can't stop writing about itself, how its "reporters" behave increasingly like pundits or worse-like activists. Do not under any circumstances embarrass CNN.

After all, nobody could do it better than they already do.

Opinion by Iain Woessner
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