CNN Admits Error in USC College Republicans Story

CNN has admitted to a serious error in a report filed Thursday concerning a Republican student organization at the University of Southern California.

A segment which originally aired at 6:00 AM on "American Morning," and twice after that, used a person not affiliated with the USC College Republicans to suggest the organization is having a hard time drawing support because of a lack of enthusiasm for John McCain.

According to the Los Angeles Times "Top of the Ticket" blog, CNN has apologized (h/t NBer Tom):

A CNN spokeswoman admitted the error this evening in an e-mailed response: "“Eric Perlmutter appeared on today’s 'American Morning' segment about young Republicans on college campuses. While he attends USC and says that he is a registered Republican, he was inadvertently identified on-screen as a member of the USC College Republicans organization.

"We regret that error. We have invited Ben Myers, the president of the USC College Republicans organization, to appear on 'American Morning' at a future time.”

Here's the transcript of the segment in question:

KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST: Christian Amanpour live from Berlin, thank you so much.

Well, there is one part of the vote that Barack Obama has not had trouble with, and that has been the youth vote. However, the McCain camp has had a challenge with that.

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He hears the screaming at his rival's rally. And this young Republican wonders what could be for his candidate.

ERIC PEARLMUTTER, USC YOUNG REPUBLICANS: We try to get people out to our college Republican meetings and we can't seem to draw the same type of vocal support.

LAWRENCE: Eric Pearlmutter cringed when his candidate admitted he doesn't use e-mail. John McCain's MySpace page looks like it hasn't been updated in five months. And some pictures seem too nostalgic to represent, say, small business.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Does that image connect to young people?

PEARLMUTTER: Well, when you see the Main Street barber shop image, you think of 1950's America. An entrepreneur as Silicon Valley guy will definitely make it more attractive.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Barack Obama has spoken at hundreds of college campuses.

JASON MATTERA, YOUNG AMERICA'S FOUNDATION: Senator McCain should demand that the same colleges and universities host him or else their tax-exempt status could be in jeopardy.

LAWRENCE: Young conservative Jason Mattera says McCain has to connect young voters to conservative principles.

MATTERA: So, if they're suspicious of Uncle Sam telling them what Internet sites they can view, they should be equally suspicious of Uncle Sam, the federal government, telling them what health care plans they're going to be a part of.

LAWRENCE: At an Ohio town hall meeting this month, a student told McCain that Republicans were a dying breed on his campus.

MCCAIN: But I understand the challenge I have and I understand that this election is really all about people of your generation.

LAWRENCE: The campaign plans to increase McCain's presence on Facebook, and MySpace. He's also appearing on shows that appeal to younger viewers like "THE DAILY SHOW."

McCain is trying to close a numbers gap. According to recent CNN Opinion Research Corporation polls, 40 percent of young voters consider themselves Democrats, only 25 percent Republicans.

(on camera): Up until now, both parties tended to ignore young voters because historically they're pretty unreliable when it comes to actually turning out to vote. But the bad news for Republicans is that once a young person does vote for a particular party, they tend to stick with it for years.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.