Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone acknowledges when it's time to apologize. That time is now for Erin Burnett.
CNN's new evening anchor made a mistake this week when she aired a cheap-shot report about the Occupy Wall Street protests, mocking activists for being uniformed about big banks, and for being hypocrites in general. (They're anti-big business but they use laptops!)
The segment, as has been widely discussed this week, was an embarrassment. Not because anchor Burnett aired an opinion or that her opinion was at odds with the populist movement still unfolding in the Financial District. It was embarrassing because of how smug Burnett's critique was.
In her first week on the job at CNN, Burnett quickly became a symbol of how media elites tend to instinctively write off liberal activists as being not important; as being naive to how the world really works. (One phrase for you: WMD.)
And yes, the fact that Burnett was mocking Occupy Wall Street activists while her bosses at CNN had just taken the unusual step of co-sponsoring a GOP presidential debate with a splinter (conservative) political group, the Tea Party, only opened her up to obvious charges of a political double standard being used at CNN.
When Burnett aired her now infamous report, she stressed that Occupy Wall Street had started off as “less than a dozen college students” camping in the park, and that it had since expanded to “hundreds” of participants. By Wednesday night an estimated 10,000 people took part in an Occupy Wall Street march in New York City, with similar protests now spreading nationwide.
For that reason alone, Burnett should revisit her report and concede she was wrong to portray Occupy Wall Street as a fringe movement. But more importantly, she should simply apologize to viewers for so rudely dismissing the emerging movement, and put the unfortunate incident behind her.