Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scripting by CNN

The Democrats in the presidential race had a “debate” Thursday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, broadcast by CNN. That night and the next morning, CNN had the word out — Hillary had bounced back and Obama had stumbled.

By Friday, though, it had also developed that all was not as it seemed the night before. Wolf Blitzer identified the questioners in the audience as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But, as Gateway Pundit and Doug Ross (among others) found out, none of the questioners was either ordinary or undecided. All are Democratic Party operatives, like the “undecided voter” who, it turned out, was the political director of the Arkansas Democratic Party and a long-time supporter of the Clintons. Then — surprise, surprise! — we learned that every single question hadn't been just planted by CNN, but had been planned and scripted by them. And that's before considering Wolf Blitzer and his colleagues, who caved in to Hillary (or was it to their CNN bosses?) and asked softball questions. No wonder Hillary's staffers were pleased!

But even that wasn't enough for CNN. They had to make sure the post-event analysis went the right way, too. So they stacked their analysis segment with people who were and are on the Clinton payroll. This was a pageant, not a debate. And it was all staged for Hillary, who didn't need to worry about another bad performance. After all, as Gateway Pundit noted:

It's hard to have a bad debate performance when:
** The audience is planted in your favor
** The questions are planted in your favor
** The questioners are your supporters
** The after debate spin room includes 2 former staff members and 1 current campaign analyst

Even so, after having scripted every detail of this pageant, CNN still managed to produce a turkey. Stephen Green may have captured it best:

Lots of fireworks, yet still the worst debate I've seen all season. The blame rests squarely with CNN. ... Horrible, even by the low standards set by Fox News and MSNBC. Horrible, horrible.

Incidentally, this “debate” also raises a question or two about Obama's campaign. He was evidently in on the scripting — he praised the questioner identified as a cashier for “the great work you do on behalf of the culinary workers, a great union here.” He clearly went along with the planted questions and questioners, and turned in a spectacularly lackluster performance. It's enough to make one wonder if he was successfully threatened into subservience, or whether his may actually be a Potemkin campaign. (A related question is whether he knew in advance that the whole event was a setup for Hillary. If not, and if his campaign is real, he should be out attacking Hillary and her CNN agents for these actions.)

All this goes way beyond continuing to be the Clinton News Network. This goes beyond being on Saddam Hussein's payroll, painting a fraudulent rosy picture of conditions in Iraq, as CNN has acknowledged doing. Here CNN decided slanting its reporting wasn't enough, and set out to create news — for Clinton, of course — and thus to defraud its viewers by presenting them with a made-for-TV movie, while pretending it was a debate. This confirms that CNN's political “reporting” is not to be trusted, and raises — again — the question of whether one can trust anything seen on CNN.

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