Friday, October 24, 2008

CNN's memory hole

A guest post by Lurker:


What does CNN do when they get caught lying?

They try to erase the evidence that they lied; that's what.

A couple of days ago, CNN's Drew Griffin interviewed Sarah Palin. During that interview, Griffin tried to humiliate Palin by citing an article from the conservative National Review that supposedly trashed her viciously. The only problem was that the article in reality did no such thing -- in fact, it did the exact opposite. The article, by conservative journalist Byron York, actually praised and commended Palin. Here is the relevant context:
Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it’s sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward, or — or, well, all of the above. Palin, the governor of Alaska, has faced more criticism than any vice-presidential candidate since 1988, when Democrats and the press tore into Dan Quayle. In fact, Palin may have it even worse than Quayle, since she’s taking flak not only from Democrats and the press but from some conservative opinion leaders as well...
...
Yes, there are legitimate concerns about Palin’s lack of experience. Who wouldn’t, at the very least, wish that she had more time in the governor’s office on her résumé? But a look at Palin’s 20 months in power, along with interviews with people who worked with her, shows her to be a serious executive, a governor who picked important things to do and got them done — and who didn’t just stumble into an 80 percent job-approval rating.


And here is how CNN's Drew Griffin cited the article in his interview with Palin:

Governor, you've been mocked in the press. The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above.

Palin probably hadn't read the article, but she clearly was suspicious. "Who wrote that one?" she shot back with a smile. "Who wrote it? I'd like to talk to that person." Griffin, unprepared to have the tables turned on him, sputtered back, "That - that was in the National Review, I don't, have the author". Then he changed the subject.

The big problem, of course, wasn't that Griffin didn't "have the author", but that he had completely inverted the message of the article so as to present it disingenuously as an attack on Palin, instead of a support piece.

Or, to be a bit more accurate, the problem (for Griffin and CNN, at least) was that he got caught doing that. Because within hours, the right-wing blogs were all talking about it.

So back to our question: Now that CNN's gross distortion of the truth was exposed, what did they do? They did something that would make the party hacks in Orwell's Ministry of Truth proud: They tried to toss that part of the interview down the memory hole:

The above quote, containing Griffin's deceptive misrepresentation of the NR article, used to be in CNN's transcript of the interview. You can still see it here in Google's cache. But if you look for it in the current version of that page, you won't find it. CNN snipped out the entire paragraph.

And they didn't only delete it from the transcript -- they even deleted it from the on-line video. (The video link is near the top of the CNN page; the snip happens at 11:06.) You can see the part CNN would rather you didn't see here, starting at 1:24:



Why do you suppose they did that, hmm?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only is Palin cooler than Obama, she's much hotter.

Anonymous said...

CNN = con artists. How do they get away with it. They call the video on line "excerpts" so that they can get away with editing.

Robertcw72 said...

Drew Griffin did apologize. And, give this guy his due, he has been the ONLY CNN reporter to report on ACORN and the consistent voter fraud already going on in the election.

Tzipporah said...

Did you consider that maybe they were removing it as a conciliatory gesture, having REALIZED it was a misrepresentation?

What happened to giving people the benefit of a doubt?

Anonymous said...

He did Not apologize: he went on the air to lie about the whole thing, claiming he missed the context, or some such twaddle.

Of course, the fact that the "context" of the quote was in the introductory phrase rather vitiates that argument, wouldn't you say?

Lurker said...

Robertcw72: Drew Griffin did apologize.

No, he did not. Here's what it says in the actual statement from CNN to the NR (as read by Drew Griffin): "Drew was trying to express what Byron York was saying, but he didn't finish his thought and inadvertently left the impression that it was York's view, rather than a commentary on how the candidate had been portrayed by others". Firstly, that is no apology. Secondly, its a bunch of patently obvious bull. Go back and look at Griffin's original statement in the interview:

"The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above."

It's entirely clear that Griffin was trying to claim that Palin was under attack by conservatives, and that the proof he was trying to bring was York's article. There is no way to weasel out of the fact that Griffin was trying to say that the insulting statement was York's own view. And Griffin has not apologized for this at all. To the contrary, he has tried to deny it, which only compounds the offense.

Lurker said...

Tzipporah: Did you consider that maybe they were removing it as a conciliatory gesture, having REALIZED it was a misrepresentation?

In journalism, the proper and accepted action in such a case is to publish a statement of correction and apology. Not just to erase the evidence and hope that no one notices. CNN has not done this (see my comment above).

Tzipporah: What happened to giving people the benefit of a doubt?

The same thing that happened to the boy who cried wolf. CNN's reputation precedes it.

Lurker said...

One other thing: CNN cut out Griffin's deceptive comments about the NR, and Palin's response -- and issued their non-apology -- only after the RW blogs started talking about it. Until that point, CNN actually featured that very snippet as their promo for the interview! Take a look here and see for yourself. Don't miss the part at the end, where Wolf Blitzer joins in the lie-fest.

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