Shoddy Journalism: CNN AGAIN Fails to Note Family Ties in Valerie Jarrett Interview

Whenever CNN goes off about President Donald Trump having conflicts of interest, just remember CNN’s inaction regarding their own conflicts. Wednesday’s CNN Right Now featured a gooey interview with longtime Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett and, as par for the course, failed to note how she’s the mother of supposedly objective CNN Justice reporter Laura Jarrett.

On May 5, 2018, NewsBusters wrote that Jarrett had “given seven interviews and, according to the CNN transcript, Laura’s name never came up.” Since then, she’s done an additional seven interview segments and her personal connection to CNN came up only twice (with one of them being Valerie disclosing it herself). So, two for 14 isn’t a great ratio, Jeffrey Zucker!

 

 

As for Wednesday, host Brianna Keilar teed up Jarrett under the auspices of 2012 GOP presidential candidate and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) voting against a federal district judge who had previously slammed Barack Obama as an “un-American imposter.” The friendliness was clear from the start (click “expand”): 

KEILAR: We have Valerie Jarrett with us now. She was, of course, senior adviser to President Obama. She's out now with a new autobiography titled Finding My Voice. Thanks for coming into the studio to talk to us. 

JARRETT: It's a delight to be with you here, Brianna. 

KEILAR: When you saw that Michael Truncale had been confirmed, what did you think? 

JARRETT: Well, I wasn't surprised. I mean, I think it's just par for the course. I was heartened to see Senator Romney speak up and be principled and say, do we really want our judicial full of people who are clearly impartial?

KEILAR: But he was the only one. 

JARRETT: I know. That's what we've been seeing these days and it's disappointing, because something like that, you would think that they would rally and say, this isn't someone who reflects the values of our country and while would you speak so disparaging of a former president who was so well-respected.

The pair then spent a few minutes discussing the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, any advice she’s offered to candidates, and how much the massive field should criticize each other. But things then pivoted to Jarrett’s book, which Jarrett even thanked Keilar for wanting to discuss

Keilar praised the book as “getting some pretty good reviews, I will say, because it's got in it what a lot of people want, which is they want someone to pull back the curtain” even though, as NewsBusters reported, has had some problems, ranging from its sales to being panned in the liberal Washington Post.

Keilar then lobbed this loaded softball (click “expand”):

KEILAR: [A]nd you have a lot of instances where you're really telling people sort of what happened. They're going to find out some things from your perspective they otherwise would not have known about the Obama White House. At the same time, we learn about you. We learn that you were shy and that's part of where the title —

JARRETT: Painfully shy. 

KEILAR: — painfully shy — part of where the title comes from, the idea of finding your voice. But what do you — what do want people to take away in general from your book? 

Keilar concluded by flaunting how a career change led to Jarrett meeting future First Lady Michelle Obama in 1991 (the then-Michelle Robinson) and the rest being history, but not before another easy question: “You were miserable at one point in law. And so what — but where did you go from miserable to I — I have to turn this completely on its head. What was the thing that made you do that?”

In other words, it must be nice to be a liberal at CNN.

To see the relevant transcript from May 15's CNN Right Now, click “expand.”

CNN Right Now
May 15, 2019
1:12 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Controversial Pick: Trump Judicial Pick Called Obama “Un-American Imposter”]

BRIANNA KEILAR: And Mitt Romney breaks with fellow Republicans over one of the President's judicial picks who once called President Obama an “un-American imposter.”

(....)

1:31 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Controversial Pick: Romney Votes Against Judicial Pick for “Disparaging” Obama]

KEILAR: Senator Mitt Romney break ranks with Republicans. Romney voting against a Trump judicial nominee for disparaging President Obama. We'll tell you what was said, we'll get reaction from a longtime Obama adviser. 

(....)

1:36 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pasisng Judgement: Romney Votes Against Judicial Pick for “Disparaging” Obama]

KEILAR: A Trump judicial nominee gets approved, despite making disparaging remarks about President Obama. Michael Truncaledescribed Obama as an “un-american imposter” in remarks back in 2011. Truncale was approved by a vote 49 to 46 for a position as district court judge in Texas and the lone Republican vote against Truncale came from senator Mitt Romney, Obama's opponent in the 2012 presidential race. We have Valerie Jarrett with us now. She was, of course, senior adviser to President Obama. She's out now with a new autobiography titled Finding My Voice. Thanks for coming into the studio to talk to us. 

VALERIE JARRETT: It's a delight to be with you here, Brianna. 

KEILAR: When you saw that Michael Truncale had been confirmed, what did you think? 

JARRETT: Well, I wasn't surprised. I mean, I think it's just par for the course. I was heartened to see Senator Romney speak up and be principled and say, do we really want our judicial full of people who are clearly impartial?

KEILAR: But he was the only one. 

JARRETT: I know. That's what we've been seeing these days and it's disappointing, because something like that, you would think that they would rally and say, this isn't someone who reflects the values of our country and while would you speak so disparaging of a former president who was so well-respected.

KEILAR: I want to talk about the 2020 race because you have said that you have been talking to several of the Democratic candidates. Will you share with who you've been talking to? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: 2020 Race; Polls Show Biden, Sanders Leading Crowded Dem Field]

JARRETT: No —

KEILAR: No you won’t, okay?

JARRETT: — but I will say, several. 

JARRETT: Several, okay. 

JARRETT: Several, yeah. Yes.

KEILAR: Have you been seeking them out or have they been seeking you out? 

JARRETT: They’ve sought me out.

KEILAR: Okay.

JARRETT: And I have made it clear that I would happy to be a resource to any of them. I think we have an embarrassment of riches in the field and I've learned a lot in the course two presidential campaigns and if I can be helpful, that's what I want to do. 

KEILAR: What’s — I'm sure you've given them some advice. 

JARRETT: I have.

KEILAR: What have you told them? 

JARRETT: I have. So, the general guidelines I've said is, look, be authentic, be yourself, recognize that this is the highest position in the land and you better earn it and the American people better believe you and trust you with their futures and so you have to say, not just what your vision is, but why we should have confidence that you can execute the vision. The other thing I've said to the Democrats is, look, don't beat each other up so badly that whoever emerges as a nominee goes into a weakened position and also I think, look, I want to know what you're for. I can figure out what the other guy is for or against. Tell me why I should believe in you. Guy or gal, I should say and I'm heartened to see, now we're up to six women who are running in the race, and that's historic. 

KEILAR: Well, to that point, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire just a short time ago, Senator Kamala Harris, she took issue with the former Vice President Biden over the 1994 crime bill that Biden helped write. Here's what Harris said. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Just In; Harris: Biden Wrong, Crime Bill Did Add to Mass Incarceration]

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): That 1994 crime bill, it — it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country. It — it encouraged and was the first time that we had a federal three strikes law. It — it funded the building of more prisons in the states and so I disagree, sadly. 

KEILAR: You — you said that you've counseled them, don't hit so hard in the primary that someone goes into the general —

JARRETT: — in a weakened position. 

KEILAR: — in a weakened position. Well, is — I want to ask you about that, because isn't — here you see Kamala Harris taking a stance to differentiate herself from Joe Biden. Is that something that could, if he is able to maintain his standing in the polls, weaken his position. 

JARRETT: Well, I think she said it in response to a question. So I think you have to be honest and if she disagrees with the bill, look, even Vice President said he didn't have everything right on criminal justice reform. So, in a sense, that's a fair point to make. What I'm saying is don't strip each other down. Don't — don’ts have those belly punches that are just unfair and disrespectful and people do want to hear what you're for. No, if somebody asks you a direct question, you should answer it. 

KEILAR: I want to talk about your book. 

JARRETT: Oh, thank you! 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Life & Politics: Former Obama Senior Advisre on “Journey to the West Wing”]

KEILAR: There — it's getting some pretty good reviews, I will say, because it's got in it what a lot of people want, which is they want someone to pull back the curtain and you have a lot of instances where you're really telling people sort of what happened. They're going to find out some things from your perspective they otherwise would not have known about the Obama White House. At the same time, we learn about you. We learn that you were shy and that's part of where the title —

JARRETT: Painfully shy. 

KEILAR: — painfully shy — part of where the title comes from, the idea of finding your voice. But what do you — what do want people to take away in general from your book? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: 2020 Race; Former Obama Senior Adviser on Democratic Candidates]

JARRETT: Well, looking back, what I realize is when I was craving the comfort zone, when I was doing what everybody else expected of me, as opposed to listening to the quiet voice inside of me, it was a rather boring, unhappy life and when I swerved way outside the comfort zone and I found my passion in public service, that's when the adventure began and I want to encourage people to do. Don’t play it so safe. Take chances, if you can, calculated risks, but be adventuresome, and look at life as multiple chapters where you can take some risks and if you make a mistake, you can recover. 

KEILAR: You were miserable at one point in law.

JARRETT: Complete miserable.

KEILAR: And so what — but where did you go from miserable to I — I have to turn this completely on its head. 

JARRETT: Well, I just —

KEILAR: What was the thing that made you do that?

JARRETT: — you know what? I just wasn’t made to be that miserable and I was also in a miserable marriage, so I had two miseries. I would sit in this really fancy office in a big corporate law firm and I would just — I would cry. And I thought to myself, this is ridiculous! And fortunately, I had a friend who suggested joining the administration of Mayor Harold Washington in Chicago, who was a big progressive and I had — had, you know, a junior, junior position, knocking on doors in his campaign and he said, you're going to feel a part of something bigger and more important than yourself. Try it. 

KEILAR: And you met a very important future First Lady. 

JARRETT: I surely did, Michelle Robinson, 

KEILAR: That’s right.

JARRETT: — back in 1991 —

KEILAR: That’s right.

JARRETT: — it changed my life. 

KEILAR: Alright, Valerie Jarrett, thank you so much —

JARRETT: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: — for coming into the studio. 

JARRETT: Appreciate you.

KEILAR: We really appreciate it. 

NB Daily Bias by Omission Liberals & Democrats CNN Other CNN Video Government & Press Brianna Keilar Laura Jarrett Valerie Jarrett
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