Irony Alert: White House Praises 'Unbiased' CNN as Network Runs Promo Appealing to Democrats

(UPDATE: Apparently there was a drowned out Republican voice in the promo. See full update below.)

The irony in this story is so delicious, as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard would probably describe it, that one must take a bit of time to savor it.

Yesterday, Sheppard posted a story about White House communications director Anita Dunn whining at length on Howard Kurtz's "Reliable Sources" about how supposedly unfair Fox News is. Her appearance on that show was instigated by Dunn's complaints about White House coverage by Fox News in a Time magazine story by Michael Scherer. Among her attacks upon Fox News was the assertion that it wasn't a real news network "the way CNN is." Well, Michael Scherer himself wrote a followup blog post and pointed out the supreme irony of attacking Fox News as biased while CNN was running "Anderson Cooper 360" promos pitching that show as appealing to liberals. First Scherer quotes Anita Dunn from her "Reliable Sources" appearance:

But let's be realistic here, Howie.  You know, they are widely viewed as, you know, part of the Republican Party.  Take their talking points, put them on the air.  Take their opposition research, put them on the air and that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is.

And now the Michael Scherer slam dunk just dripping with absolutely delectable irony:

The ironic part came later, during the commercial break. All morning, CNN has been intermittently running a promo for Anderson Cooper 360, a show that has long billed itself as a classic straight news program with an investigative front man who digs "beyond the headlines" with "many points of view, so you can make up your own mind." The new promo, by contrast, consists of a woman's voice, pitching Cooper's show as, essentially, a liberal alternative to Fox News: "I'm a lifelong Democrat," she says, "and that's why I watch Anderson Cooper." Hmmm. The voice goes on to say that Cooper is the person she can turn to hold "right wing" conservatives accountable. Cooper is not exactly aiming for the political middle ground here.

Anderson Cooper not exactly aiming for the political middle ground is certainly an understatement considering his juvenile "tea bagging" snarks earlier this year. 

Scherer isn't finished. He also casts aspersions upon any claim that MSNBC is somehow unbiased:

But then who is? MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz are committed liberals, increasingly focused on the dual project of holding President Obama to a liberal line and attacking his detractors. Fox News, on the other hand, is well, Fox News. Dunn, on Kurtz's show, made a point of criticizing Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace for "fact checking" an Obama administration official but not its other Republican guests. So it goes.

And in what must be especially painful for both CNN and MSNBC, Scherer posts some cable news ratings:

The ratings tell the story: In September, according to Nielson, the top thirteen cable news shows were on Fox, led by the networks conservative pundits: The O'Reilly Factor (2.6 million households), Sean Hannity (2.1 million), Glenn Beck (2.2 million), and the less political Greta Van Susteren (1.8 million). The top non-Fox shows are CNN's Larry King (921,000), Countdown with Keith Olbermann (881,000) and Rachel Maddow (827,000). Only then, in the 17th spot, does Anderson Cooper make a showing, with 746,000 households in the 10 p.m. hour.

Ouch!  UPDATE: Apparently there were two voices speaking simultaneously in the Anderson Cooper promo. There was also a man's voice that was hard to hear. Here is a description from a commenter on Michael Scherer's blog:

I was watching Reliable Sources this morning, too, and was also surprised and disappointed when I heard CNN's promo for AC 360 (I was looking at my computer so I only heard it when it ran). But I just didn't believe it. So I went back on my DVR and played it again. Turns out that the woman saying "I'm a lifelong Democrat" comes at the same time a man says "I'm a lifelong Republican." The on-screen graphics try to bring home the point, sort of melding the words that the man and the woman are saying. The point of the ad is that AC 360 is there for both sides because it's a fair program. Unfortunately, the woman's voice seems more powerful (at least to me and, apparently, you) and that's what we picked up if we're only listening and not watching.  Interesting idea for a promo but it failed.

It sure did fail because the Republican's voice was pretty much drowned out. Intentional or not? You decide. Even Scherer couldn't pick out that other voice.  

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.