CNN and its CEO Jeff Bewkes came under fire last week during a Time Warner shareholders’ meeting for the network’s overt bias and fake news against President Donald Trump.
The shareholders’ meeting occurred one day after a gunman opened fire on GOP lawmakers at an Alexandria, Va., baseball field.
David Almasi, a shareholder of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner as well as vice president for the National Center for Public Policy Research, said he felt compelled as a shareholder to take TW executives to task for “CNN’s contribution to the increasingly uncivil environment in Washington.”
“Mr. Bewkes, we have urged you many times to make CNN more objective,” Almasi told the CNN chief. “But bias is apparently worse than ever. As shareholders, we are concerned about the reputational risk to our investment in Time Warner, as CNN appears to be a key player in the war against the Trump presidency.”
“Are you concerned about advertisers leaving CNN?” Almasi asked. “Will you continue to ignore appeals for objectivity at the risk to our investment in Time Warner?”
Bewkes tried to defend CNN against the accusations of fake news, but did “recommit” to “an attempt to be independent.”
“We will recommit — I’ll do it to you now — for an attempt to try to be independent,” the CNN chief said in response to Almasi’s questions. “I do understand from your questions that you’re skeptical that we’re achieving that. You think we haven’t.”
“I don’t want you to be skeptical of our effort, and we’re very sincere to try to achieve that, that’s what we are trying to do,” he continued. “The decision on whether we’ve failed — you’re right — will be made by the viewer.”
“But we are trying to keep it balanced and fair, and I understand that you’re thinking that we haven’t succeeded, but we are still trying,” Bewkes added.
Almasi believes it’s important for the news media to promote “vigorous debate that looks at all sides.” So he took deliberate issue with CNN trying to claim that they are “balanced and fair.”
He cited a May study by the Media Research Center, which found that CNN devoted nearly every minute of its programming on May 12 to covering the Trump administration in a negative light:
CNN claims it’s right down the middle, somewhere between the left-wing MSNBC and the more conservative-friendly Fox News Channel. But an MRC study of an entire day of CNN’s coverage shows the network spent almost all of its time covering the Trump presidency, with a heavily skewed roster of anti-Trump guests and on-air commentators.
To get a handle on CNN’s news priorities during the Trump era, a team of MRC analysts reviewed all of the cable network’s programming on Friday, May 12, starting with the 4am ET Early Start and continuing through the 11pm ET CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, a total of 20 hours of material.
After excluding commercials, teases and promos, our analysts found 13 hours, 27 minutes of actual news coverage, an average of just over 40 minutes per hour. Of that, a whopping 92 percent (12 hours, 19 minutes) was devoted to the Trump presidency, with a mere 68 minutes — a little more than three minutes per hour — devoted to all of the other news of the day.
With the exception of about 21 minutes of live coverage of a White House briefing about the President’s upcoming trip to the Middle East and a smattering of coverage of Melissa McCarthy’s parody of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in an upcoming SNL appearance, CNN used that time to endlessly analyze the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, then a three-day-old story.
So with Bawkes promising to “recommit” to “an attempt to be independent” will we see changes in the future? I guess we will have to wait and see.
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