On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Rick Sanchez referenced New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” during a short segment about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. Both men are known for their less-than-conservative stance on social issues, particularly on the issue of homosexual “marriage;” their sharp criticism of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during her bid for the vice presidency last year; and their sympathy for Obama.
The anchor cited the two writers a quarter of an hour into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program as examples of how Governor Jindal “hasn’t exactly been getting accolades from members of his own party” for his handling of the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Sanchez referred to Brooks as the “heralded conservative columnist for The New York Times,” and read a quote where he criticized the governor’s attack on big government: “It’s just a disaster for the Republican party. In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to say government is the problem -- it’s just a form of nihilism.” He then read an apparently sarcastic quote from “noted conservative” Sullivan: “This guy [Jindal] is supposed to be the smart one.”
Sanchez wasn’t the first CNN anchor this week to cite a “conservative” writer who likes to bash Sarah Palin and social conservatives. During an interview of filmmaker John Ziegler on Tuesday’s American Morning, Kiran Chetry read an excerpt from an anti-Palin column by Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker: “Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.”
Ziegler replied that this criticism of Palin has been “a great career move for people like Kathleen Parker....You would never quote Kathleen Parker in a million years if she said nice things about Sarah Palin, and that’s a phenomenon that goes on in the news media. If you’re a Republican or conservative [who] bash [sic] Republicans, all of a sudden CNN wants to quote you and thinks that you’re noteworthy and credible.”
That line of thinking could very well apply to Brooks and Sullivan’s criticism of Jindal. After all, they wouldn’t be “heralded” or “notable” in the mainstream media’s view if they weren’t consistent critics of other conservatives.