Not only does CNN try their best to muddy Fred Thompson's stance on the Confederate flag but they use a picture that makes the candidate look ashamed of himself or pensive to accompany the piece, cementing the fact that CNN is trying their best to flavor Thompson's flag stance as a "bad" thing for him. This is one of the most manipulative articles I've seen this election cycle thus far, shameful for its slant and subtle enough that many won't recognize it for the anti-Thompson spin that it truly is. But, in many ways, this CNN presentation is a perfect example of the sort of spin that CNN specializes in making the lie to their claims of being purveyors of "news." They are, instead, purveyors of spin designed to harm GOP candidates -- in this case Thompson.
In the entry titled, "Romney, Thompson criticize Confederate flag," this particular piece on the Political Ticker section of CNN's website fashions itself as a claim that both Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson "criticized" the Confederate flag during the YouTube, BoobTube debate on Tuesday evening. However, Romney is barely mentioned in the body of the piece with the focus being mostly on Fred Thompson. And, in that focus, CNN distorts Thompson's position badly.
They begin with Thompson's initial reply to the YouTuber who asked the question about where the candidates stood on the flag issue.
But Thompson added that, "as far as a public place is concerned, I am glad that people have made the decision not to display it as a prominent flag, symbolic of something, at a state capitol."
But the Confederate flag in South Carolina's state capital is in a very public place -- located on the Statehouse grounds along Gervais Street in Columbia, next to the Confederate Soldier Monument.
CNN then goes on to remind us that, "On Nov. 6, Thompson held a campaign event on the Statehouse grounds, just yards from the flag."
CNN is clearly trying to make it seem as if Thompson didn't know that the Confederate flag does fly in a "public" place at the South Carolina state capitol. Thompson clarified to CNN that the memorial over which the CS flag flutters there is acceptable as far as he is concerned.
Thompson said Wednesday that using the flag in the context of a memorial -- as it is used in Columbia -- is acceptable.
"As a part of a group of flags or something of that nature, you know, honoring various service people at different times in different parts of the country, I think that's different," he said.
(Thompson's campaign spokesman Todd Harris said after the debate that, "The flag stands right next to the Confederate Memorial on the capitol grounds, honoring, as Fred says, the 'various service people at different times and different parts of the country.'")
The former senator concluded: "As a nation, we don't need to go out of our way to be bringing up things that to certain people in our country that's bad for them."
But, Thompson did not really "criticize" the CS flag itself in any of his comments when his comments are considered. He merely said that some find it "bad" for themselves. Here Thompson is obviously saying that we shouldn't be trying to stick the CS flag in the faces of people who are upset by that 150 year old symbol of a defeated government. But Thompson said nothing of the character of the flag, nor of its admirers. Basically, all he said was that we should be cognizant of the divisive nature of the issue and not force it on people and that he agreed that it was OK for the people of South Carolina to decide to move it away from their Capitol dome.
Romney's words, however, really were critical of the CS flag.
Romney's criticism was blunter: "… that flag, frankly, is divisive, and it shouldn't be shown."
"Right now, with the kinds of issues we got in this country, I'm not going to get involved with a flag like that," Romney said. "That's not a flag that I recognize so that I would hold up in my room."
"The people of our country have decided not to fly that flag. I think that's the right thing."
Romney is fully against the CS flag, but Thompson was saying that it is up to the people of South Carolina, but that he understands it can be a troubled issue.
But, the worst part of this presentation is the photo that accompanies the piece. As the Political Ticker ends their entry with the line, "Both candidates may have to answer questions about those comments next time they hit the state," it becomes obvious with their photo that Thompson is the only one they feel should have a come-to-Jesus with the South Carolina's voters.
As I stated in my own graphic of the picture that CNN used, does that picture say "news" to you or does it say Fred Thompson is ashamed of what he has done? That picture is a blatant attempt to make Thompson look as bad as possible.
Shameful spin CNN, shameful spin indeed.