Leftists Demand 'Unapologetic Progressive' Moderator for CNN Debate, an Anti-Hugh Hewitt

Tom Tillison at BizPac Review reports that CNN is being targeted by the hard left for having no progressive analogue to Hugh Hewitt in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.

“The fact that CNN might be stacking the deck in favor of the Democratic Party is not breaking news — the irony here is that far-left zealots are complaining about it. You see, they want a hard-nose progressive panelist on hand to push the issues they consider important.”

The group Roots Action has started a petition for “basic fairness and balance” demanding an “unapologetic progressive” as one of the moderators:

At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. But at Tuesday's upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is planning to include not a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.

Former MSNBC producer and radical media critic Jeff Cohen, who co-founded Roots Action, pointed out that the Democratic debate panel will be “composed of four journalists CNN presents as neutral: CNN’s Bash and three CNN anchors (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol.)”

Cohen, who used to run a radical group called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, insisted at The Huffington Post that  “There are many qualified journalists for this seat--from respected progressive media institutions that haven't taken sides in the Democratic primaries (like The Nation or Mother Jones, to name just two).”

Tillison suggested “while the network may deny it, critics will suggest that Hewitt’s presence was intended to pull the GOP candidates further right before a national TV audience, while the absence of a left-wing counterpart Tuesday allows the Democratic candidates to appear more mainstream — if national socialist Bernie Sanders can pull that feat off.”

But CNN was also responding to demands the Republicans made to include conservative journalists. The Democratic establishment feels much cozier about the “neutral” journalists like Anderson Cooper. Republicans surely felt Jake Tapper is more objective than Cooper – but he certainly hammered the GOP candidates with each other’s toughest criticisms.
Will Cooper and his panel let the Democrats have a much less challenging debate? And if so, who will keep watching? Without Joe Biden joining the proceedings, ratings can’t be expected to be anywhere near the record ratings the Republican debate drew for CNN.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis