CNN's Carol Costello, on Thursday's American Morning, scolded the editor of conservative publication Human Events for not providing the same critical coverage of both Republicans and Democrats. Costello – who has her own history of liberal bias – interviewed Jason Mattera of Human Events over his confrontation with Vice President Joe Biden, and asked him why he wasn't tougher on Republican candidates.
"So you're tough with Joe Biden. So why not be a bit tougher with Republican candidates, even though you work for a conservative web site?" Costello posed, apparently unaware that since Human Events is a conservative publication it markets itself to a more conservative Republican audience.
Mattera affirmed that Human Events has a conservative worldview and does hit Republicans, but from the right. "Yeah, well I'm a conservative, unapologetic conservative," he answered Costello. "I have a world view that I'm looking to advance conservative ideas and expose liberal lies. We are tough at 'Human Events' on Republicans when they need to be."
Later in the interview, Costello lectured Mattera about his history of ambush interviews. "That's where gotcha journalism fails, I think," she told him, "because we want truth from both sides of the aisle, don't we?"
And she kept peddling her point that Americans want balanced news coverage and that CNN is the place for that – except when it's not. "Well, to me, I think the audience wants a lot of information," Costello preached. "And they want the truth from both sides of the aisle so that they can make a decision when they go into that voting booth."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 27 at 7:43 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
CAROL COSTELLO: So you're tough with Joe Biden. So why not be a bit tougher with Republican candidates, even though you work for a conservative web site?
JASON MATTERA, editor, Human Events: Yeah, well I'm a conservative, unapologetic conservative. I have a world view that I'm looking to advance conservative ideas and expose liberal lies. We are tough at "Human Events" on Republicans when they need to be.
COSTELLO: In the same way that you are tough on Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders?
MATTERA: Well no, because I don't think the Republicans you just showed are ruining the country. I do think that Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and liberalism in general is very destructive to this country as we've seen over the last three and a half years, and I'm going to do everything in my power as a conservative journalist to bring awareness and attention.
COSTELLO: And see, that's – that's where –
MATTERA: And I think I've been pretty successful in doing so.
COSTELLO: That's where gotcha journalism fails, I think, because we want truth from both sides of the aisle, don't we? And wouldn't it behoove those who read your stories or watch your stories online to know the truth from both sides?
MATTERA: Well, I'm a conservative first. It's not shilling for any particular party. But if I have to – first of all, this exchange with Joe Biden was impromptu. I didn't expect to get him, but I took the opportunity that was afforded to me. The media, though, has a bias and a presupposition. They hide it well. It's a veneer.
COSTELLO: I know. I know.
MATTERA: At least I'm – at least I'm out with it –
COSTELLO: I know. I know.
MATTERA – and say, hey, this is my world view. This is my standard. And I'm going to ask questions that comport with my world view. But at least I'm up front about it.
COSTELLO: You are up front about it, and that is true. Jason Mattera, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
MATTERA: Thank you very much.
COSTELLO: You knew that was going to come up, didn't you?
ALI VELSHI: Yeah, but I think there, what we have – the discussion here is, is he a journalist or is he a partisan?
CHRISTINE ROMANS: And it's advocacy journalism. And some people like to say it's advocacy journalism, and this is the kind of journalism where you have – you wear your affiliations on your sleeve.
COSTELLO: But you're only going around and you're targeting people just to make them look silly. Or provide those gotcha moments, like how much can people really learn from that? Especially when you're selectively using parts of things that you have done with politicians.
ROMANS: Well, maybe if your audience only wants one kind of news, then that's what they want. They just want that.
COSTELLO: Well, to me, I think the audience wants a lot of information. And they want the truth from both sides of the aisle so that they can make a decision when they go into that voting booth.
VELSHI: And that's why we're here because we think you guys want lots of information.