Donald Trump went after CNN Wednesday in his press conference calling the network “fake news”. The President-Elect even refused to answer their questions at the press conference after the media outlet reported on Buzzfeed’s story about Russia blackmailing Trump because they had proof he had paid prostitutes in Russia to urinate on a bed (golden shower) President Obama had slept on. The whole thing seems quite outlandish and most media outlets refused to cover it. Some like the New York Post have bashed the report and cited it as not being credible.
The heart of CNN and Trump’s problem lies with the way he was covered during the Republican Primary and the General Election when he squared off with Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton. CNN treated Trump like a curiosity in the Primary because many didn’t think he would be able to beat Jeb Bush, Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. A lot of the pundits on CNN had already given the nomination to Bush early on due to his family’s connection to Washington. Trump quickly dismissed the legacy candidate in August 2015 at a televised debate calling him, “low energy”. The label stuck and Trump had slain the frontrunner to become the guy to beat for the GOP nomination. And once CNN began to realize Trump was going to win the GOP nomination in late 2015 their stance on him started to change.
When the Democratic National Committee’s emails were hacked and leaked online last year we began to see that CNN contributor and DNC Chairperson Donna Brazile was leaking debate questions to Hillary Clinton to help her win the party’s nomination from Bernie Sanders. CNN ultimately cut ties with the head of the DNC but their coverage was still very miuch pro-Clinton.
CNN also came under fire when it came out on Wikileaks that Brianna Keilar, Gloria Borger, John Berman, and Kate Bolduan attended a dinner at the home of Clinton’s chief campaign strategist two days before she announced she was running in 2015.
Time Warner is the parent company of CNN. In addition to the news network in Atlanta they also run TBS, HBO, Warner Brothers and other media outlets and properties. Throughout Clinton’s career in politics executives from Time Warner have given her $963,747. In 2016 alone the company donated $540,024 to her Presidential campaign and another $347,006 to the Democratic Party. Ironically enough, no one from Time Warner gave Donald Trump a penny to help his Presidential campaign.
If you are at CNN and the bosses want Donald Trump to win, it’s pretty obvious you need to slant the coverage to make him look bad and Hillary Clinton to look good. It’s really all about the money and other media outlets are just as guilty. News Corp which owns traditionally right-leaning Fox News donated $249,700 to Clinton and only $8,710 to the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Businesses that tend to fund campaigns for high profile candidates like the Clintons, Bushes or Barack Obama get to have a little influence and suggest people for cabinet positions and have a say in policy. It’s been that way for years and Time Warner and News Corp were playing the game that they’ve always played come election time. This time it blew up in their face.
Trump was a candidate who ran as an outsider and vowed to drain the swamp of lobbyists and special interest that’s had a chokehold on American politics for several decades. A lot of big businesses were scared to death of what he would do to upset the system and didn’t want to see him in power. That’s why Time Warner donated a lot of money to Hillary Clinton. Time Warner gave her money and she and her administration would allow them some influence once she was in power. CNN would get sit down interviews and exclusive content for their network. Unfortunately the American people didn’t rally around her in swing states and the outsider, Trump got elected and CNN analyst Van Jones cried on air.
Now that Trump is in power he’s going after the people who didn’t want him in power and tried to keep him down and make him look bad during the election. Hillary Clinton and the DNC took a beating online over the Wikileaks emails that pointed out corruption in the Democratic party and Clinton foundation. However the mainstream media spun it so she didn’t have to answer questions and made it about “Russians hacking the election”. If you say something enough times in the media eventually it becomes true.
In 1999 when Al Gore was running against George W Bush Bush’s campaign was telling everyone that Gore said he invented the internet. In truth Gore said in a 1999 interview, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet” which he did. He was very hands-on as a Vice President about trying to coordinate efforts to streamline “The Information Superhighway” which became the world wide web. But once the GOP spun it and repeated it a million times Al Gore became a buffoon for claiming to invent the internet despite never saying it. Still, to this day a large majority of people think Gore said he invented the internet.
Russians hacking the election is very similar to Gore inventing the internet. If the Russians were involved at all at hacking anything they hacked into the DNC and John Podesta’s emails, not polling places on elections night. But with the media continuing to beat the drum of the Russians hacking the election it creates a soundbite that the uneducated American will hear and quickly assume Trump didn’t win fairly last November. And with social media amplifying everything there is a large part of the population that thinks Trump worked with Vladimir Putin to win the election unfairly.
When John Kerry ran against President Bush in 2004 he was doing very well in the polls until a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth starting to question Kerry’s service in Vietnamin television ads. The group ran commericals attacking Kerry and his record which caused a lot of voters to rethink their vote for the Massachusetts Senator. After the election the group was exposed for being funded and propped up by Republican backers who backed George Bush but the damage was already done. If honorable veterans can question Kerry’s service anyone from the Intelligence sector can call out Trump and allege he’s working with Russia. You need very little proof and a big agenda to “Swiftboat” someone. In one of the leaked emails from Clinton’s campaign manager some of her staff talked openly about “swiftboating” Trump in February 2016. Trump did get hit hard with the Billy Bush-Access Hollywood “Grab them by the p*ssy” remark in October before the election but he managed to recover to win in November.
If the media wasn’t so biased and actually reported on what was in the leaked emails people would be more upset with Clinton. Trump even tweeted about it 2016 despite falling on deaf ears at the network
When will we see stories from CNN on Clinton Foundation corruption and Hillary's pay-for-play at State Department?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
If CNN had covered what Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee did to Bernie Sanders the voters may have nominated him instead. Despite Wikileaks revealing information about the Democratic Party conspiring to marginalize Sanders and fix the primary for the Secretary of State CNN wouldn’t touch it. Had Sanders defeated Clinton he might have actually beat Trump. African-American and young voters weren’t as excited to turn out and vote for Clinton as they were Obama the last two elections. Sanders had energized a lot of new voters as well as the youth and African-Americans in the party but after it came out he got the shaft during the convention it turned a lot of his followers off and many didn’t vote for Clinton, or vote at all having been turned out by the process.
The fact is that CNN and the mainstream media gave Hillary Clinton a pass while throwing daggers at Trump for things with less substance than the leaked emails. Now he is the most powerful man in the world and he doesn’t have to play their games. CNN needs to be able to interview the President as well has have access to be taken seriously as one of the top media outlets in the country. After Trump called CNN fake news during his press conference Time Warner’s stock price dropped 24 cents on the day. It has since rebounded but the channel needs to mend some fences if they can expect to have any kind of relationship with Trump during the next four years.
Trump isn’t going away. Unfortunately for him CNN isn’t either. And based on the way the leadership is leaning politically both will have a very tough four years ahead of them.