The relentless stupidity of right-wing media criticism

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Newsbuster Matthew Balan complains that CNN "played favorites" on a recent broadcast of Parker Spitzer because "Hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer failed to give ideological labels to their liberal guests while clearly identifying Tim Phillips as being president of 'Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group' and labeling Bjorn Lomborg a 'controversial author.'"

Sounds like a perfectly legitimate complaint, right? After all, news organizations can be inconsistent in their ideological labeling, and it's reasonable to call them on it. Ah, but keep reading:

Parker and Spitzer's first guest was liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, who appeared two minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. The former liberal governor introduced Weiner as merely a "Democratic representative from New York."

Just before the bottom of the hour, the two hosts brought on liberal activist and founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons. Parker identified him as a "hip-hop and fashion mogul, financier, animal rights activist, avid Obama supporter, reality TV star, and author of the upcoming book, 'Super Rich.'" But even with the mentions of Simmons's animal rights cause (he criticized the media for not highlighting the "10 billion suffering farm animals") and his support for the President, the CNN hosts couldn't give him an ideological label.

So, Parker and Spitzer introduced Weiner as a Democrat and Simmons as an "avid Obama supporter," and Matt Balan is whining that the CNN hosts didn't make the guests' leanings clear? Is he kidding with this nonsense?

Here, by the way, is a Parker Spitzer interview with Rick Perry, in which he was introduced simply as "Governor Rick Perry" -- at no point did either host refer to him as a Republican or a conservative. Here, Parker and Spitzer introduce Rep. Jeb Hensarling only as a "Republican," failing the (idiotic) standard Balan set in complaining about the Weiner introduction. Here, Parker refers to Sarah Palin as a "Republican" -- but not as a "conservative," failing Balan's (idiotic) labeling test.

And that broadcast featuring Russell Simmons? In it, Parker said Simmons is "a big fan of Barack Obama's still. He may be the last man standing who still believes in 'hope and change.'" But Matthew Balan thinks her introduction of Simmons betrays liberal bias.

Where does Newsbusters find these people?

In a previous criticism of CNN, Balan complained that in a report about Sarah Palin, Candy Crowley "neglected to include sound bites from conservatives … she only used clips from moderate commentator David Frum, Democrat Bill Owens, and colleague Wolf Blitzer." That's former Bush speechwriter David Frum, who has also been an advisor to Rudy Giuliani, a contributing editor to National Review, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition. But to Matthew Balan, he doesn't count as a conservative -- he's just a "moderate commentator."

CNN, NewsBusters
Matthew Balan
Parker Spitzer
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