Priorities: CNN Spends Nearly 3x More in 12 Hours on Liz Cheney Than Economic Crises

May 13th, 2021 1:10 AM

When it comes to fulfilling basic journalistic duties, CNN long ago ditched them in favor of what Becket Adams called “the business of hyping meaningless, clickbait feuds” and the news version of “professional wrestling.” 

On Wednesday, they further showed their unseriousness by spending nearly three times (2.72) times more time over a 12-hour period on Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) losing a role in House GOP leadership than the multiple economic crises facing the country, ranging from the Colonial pipeline hack to gasoline shortages to inflation to stagnant job growth.

From the 9:00 a.m. Eastern hour of CNN Newsroom when Cheney was ousted to 9:00 p.m. Eastern at the end of AC360, CNN spent roughly 151 minutes engaging in punditry masquerading as news about how the change was “a historic day” in America that proved the GOP doesn’t have a “big tent.”

This was in stark contrast to the 55 minutes and 19 seconds on the economy with most of that time talking about the ransomware attack on the gas line that fuels over a dozen states.

Former Obama official Jim Sciutto breathlessly started the 12-hour window with a warning while co-host Poppy Harlow painted a picture as if this would dramatically affect the lives of ordinary Americans (click “expand”):

SCIUTTO: Breaking this hour, a flashpoint moment for the Republican Party. Right now the GOP conference is meeting behind closed doors where they are expected to oust Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her number three leadership position. Why? Because she told the truth. She refused to tout former President Trump's big lie that the election was stolen. The congresswoman gave a defiant speech on the House floor on Tuesday. She vowed not to remain silent.


HARLOW [TO JAMIE GANGEL]: Jamie, listening last night in real-time to Liz Cheney talking about the miracle of America and our freedom only survives if we protect it, and now listening to what Manu just recounted that she told her members all while, as you pointed out last night, wearing a speech of George Washington's battle flag on her lapel given to her by her mother. What does all of that tell us about where this goes from here, and where Liz Cheney goes from here?


HARLOW [TO DANA BASH]: Dana, our friend and contributor here, David Axelrod, last night brought up the speech in 1950, the Declaration of Conscience by Margaret Chase Smith, someone you've studied deeply. And when she stood up to her Republican colleagues then, she was in the Senate then, and to Joseph McCarthy, and she didn't mention Joseph McCarthy's name in those remarks, and, interesting, Liz Cheney didn't mention Kevin McCarthy's name in those remarks last night, but it — but it was all clear. And Margaret Chase Smith said then, “it is high time that we all stop being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques and cherish the American way of life,” she went on to say. So many parallels this morning.

Weekday afternoon CNN Newsroom host Ana Cabrera feigned concern for the Republican Party, saying Cheney lost her job “not because she did anything wrong but because she did something we teach our kids is right.” 

In the next edition of CNN Newsroom, co-host Alisyn Camerota said that, in order to keep her job, Cheney would have had to “sacrifice her integrity and her values and the truth for the conspiracy theorists.” Political director David Chialian reacted moments later by saying this was “inflection point” for “the history books.”

Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief and former CNN political analyst Eliana Johnson wrote a must-read May 5 op-ed in Politico that blew this narrative apart (click “expand”):

In conversations with nearly a dozen GOP operatives and lawmakers, many of whom are now indifferent to or supportive of Cheney’s ouster, they say they are not unsympathetic to her views either on Trump or on foreign policy, where she is and always has been an important voice within the Republican Party. That’s in part why, just three months ago, Cheney beat back—by a convincing margin—an attempt to oust her from House leadership.

But Republican lawmakers and GOP operatives alike are frustrated that, after standing by her, Cheney has repaid the favor by continuing to draw attention to an issue that divides Republicans, rather than training her fire on the Biden administration. And while, yes, it is possible to do both, take a look at the headlines and see which message is getting more traction.

Cheney’s allies say that allowing Trump to promulgate lies about the election, as he has done since November, risks another insurrection. She has every right to make that her focus. But it’s one thing to do that as a rank-and-file member; her job as conference chairwoman is to help the party regain a House majority next year by rallying Republicans around a message that unites them and damages Democrats’ prospects. 

Needless to say, nuance was something CNN has only rarely been interested in.

Speaking of something that affects peoples’ lives, CNN spent four times more coverage over the same period on Cheney than the deadly and relentless rocket attacks on the Israel from Hamas with the latter topic only fetching 37 minutes and 27 seconds with two shows ignoring it completely (AC360 and At This Hour).

Late Wednesday in the U.S., The Jerusalem Post reported that an “Israeli ground offensive in Gaza” was “‘on table’ as rocket barrages continue,” but for CNN, they want viewers to be fixated on a GOP leadership fight and perpetually relitigate the 2020 election.

The incessant trashing of non-Biden voters wasn’t isolated to Cheney. Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the January 6 Capitol riot gave CNN another chance to hurl invective to the tune of 160 minutes, which worked out to only slighter higher ratios compared to the economy (2.89 times larger) to Israel (4.02 times larger).

AC360 host Anderson Cooper and OutFront host Erin Burnett both opened their shows with commentaries about their disdain for the GOP.

Cooper kicked off what would be a combined 17 minutes and 28 seconds on Cheney and the hearing (versus six minutes and 45 seconds on the gas crisis) with a commentary featuring the chyron “Keeping Them Honest; Blinded by the (Gas)light” and this opening salvo: “There hasn't been a day in recent memory when the entire charade of what is happening within the leadership of the Republican Party was laid so bear.”

And his lead guest to back him up? Never Trumper and ex-Lincoln Project conspirator George Conway.

If only Cooper showed the same outrage at the gas lines, inflation, and the crunch Americans of far-lesser wealth are feeling in their pocketbooks.

In Burnett’s case, she led off with a commentary that would later be joined by Jim Acosta with this quip about how the GOP was “gaslighting America.”

After playing a series of clips of Republicans who’ve expressed concerns about the 2020 election, Burnett incredulously stared into the camera and questioned whether Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has “a serious case of amnesia or a mental condition.”

When CNN wasn’t covering Cheney or the hearing, they had their fingers on the pulse with stories such as the loose Houston tiger (six minutes and 59 seconds), Jake Tapper’s new novel (four minutes and 37 seconds), and how police apparently dislike minorities having air fresheners in their cars (four minutes and 13 seconds).

Those three topics combined to come within almost four minutes of their entire non-Biden coverage of the coronavirus pandemic (20 minutes and 10 seconds).

Instead of displaying nuance or delivering a comprehensive look at the day’s news, CNN showed on Wednesday it has zero desire to do that as they’d rather play the role of liberal agitators condemning Americans who don’t support their political party.

This is CNN.