HLN conservative S.E. Cupp has been on a roll this week with using her show (S.E. Cupp Unfiltered) drawing attention to the media’s massive liberal bias. First, a CNN host admitted he let an anti-gun teen get away with falsehoods, then she and her panel tore into the media for unfairly smearing Trump’s recent hires as unqualified talking heads. On Thursday, she ratcheted up the criticism by calling them out for being hostile to conservative views and hiring ones whose principles were squishy.
Cupp began the segment by asking her audience if conservatives had the ability to “crossover” to other media outlets that leaned left. She then played a clip of CNN media reporter Brian Stelter whining to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro that he and others in conservative media should get jobs in the liberal media.
She pointed to the recent case of Kevin Williamson, formerly of National Review, who was hired by the liberal Atlantic magazine. “A week ago they hired former National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson to be a contributor. So, are liberals applauding his move? No, the reaction to this has gone as you'd expect,” Cupp reported. She then highlighted the hate the move received from left-wing outlets.
“As a conservative who has worked at scores of networks and publications left and right, I will tell you, it's hard out there for a pimp. You heard me,” Cupp joked. She explained that most true conservatives were hired by the liberal media to be their “tokens or exotic animals to be gawked at.” She asserted that “when you're not busy translating your values to coastal liberal journalists and executives, you're against the wall defending them to a panel of 18 shouting pundits who think you are evil incarnate.”
In introducing conservative commentator Mary Katherine Ham, Cupp noted that, while Fox News and other conservative outlet enjoyed a tremendous following and success, “we are hardly welcomed in numbers by the media arbitrators of influence, you know, The Times, network news, daytime talk, late-night talk.” Ham explained that their success was due to their ability to cater to a market that had been greatly ignored until their founding.
Cupp’s next concern was liberal outlets who hired so-called “conservatives” who check their principles at the door back in 2016. Her list of shame included never-Trump Republicans such as The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, The New York Times’ Brett Stephens, and MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace and Joe Scarborough.
Unfiltered senior producer Andy Levy explained that the only reason those outlets hired those people was so they could say that they have a conservative on staff. “These people are show-conservatives,” he said. “The Washington Post hires Jennifer Ruben and they say, ‘see, no we have a conservative.’ And that’s their function. And generally, like you said, they tend to hire people who are conservative-ish; particularly they tend to hire people who are not social conservatives.”
“Yeah. You know, it is hard for conservative to swim in mainstream waters. I do it all the time. And it's -- it's tough. You really have to steel yourself,” Cupp added while talking about the importance of conservatives going on to hostile outlets.
The Guardian's Sabrina Siddiqui argued that with the liberal media’s “tokenizing of conservatives,” it only served to intensify the anti-Trump/never-Trump echo chamber. “You have everyone operating in this silo and not understanding the phenomenon that led to Trump in the first place,” she lamented.
The relevant portions of the transcripts are below, click expand to read:
HLN's S.E. Cupp Unfiltered
March 29, 2018
5:32:59 PM Eastern
S.E. CUPP: Can conservatives crossover? On March 18, CNN's Brian Stelter suggested to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro that the answer to liberal media is simple. Conservatives should simply work in the mainstream.
BRIAN STELTER: Your website, The Daily Wire, a lot of other conservative media sites that have criticism of the press. I sometimes worry y'all are trying to tear things down as opposed to make things better. [Flash] Part of me thinks that you and your colleagues at The Daily Wire should try to get jobs at then at The New York Times. If you don't like the coverage, try to be a part of the solution as opposed to complaining about it.
CUPP: As fate would have it, The Atlantic did just that. A week ago they hired former National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson to be a contributor. So, are liberals applauding his move? No, the reaction to this has gone as you'd expect. The Ne Republic’s Sarah Jones complained, “Williamson excels at the sort of reactionary meanness that has long been dominated conservative punditry. He gleefully says something horrific; the left reacts; the outrage cycle churns onward.” (…)
Ben Shapiro was sure to point out this new move on Twitter: “Last week on CNN, Brian Stelter asked why conservatives didn't try to join mainstream media outlets. Watch what's happening with Kevin Williamson and you have your answer.”
As a conservative who has worked at scores of networks and publications left and right, I will tell you, It's hard out there for a pimp. You heard me. Conservatives at liberal outlets are often either pimped out as tokens or exotic animals to be gawked at. When you're not busy translating your values to coastal liberal journalists and executives, you're against the wall defending them to a panel of 18 shouting pundits who think you are evil incarnate.
My question is, why are liberals so afraid of dissenting opinion? Let me ask Mary Katherine Ham, CNN political commentator and senior writer at The Federalist.
CUPP: People talking about the media being liberal, and it is, but these so-called conservative ghettos are frankly more like paradises. I mean, Fox News does really, really well. There are powerful conservative online outlets, conservative radio, killing it! Conservatives are not exactly suffering in obscurity. But, we are hardly welcomed in numbers by the media arbitrators of influence, you know, The Times, network news, daytime talk, late-night talk. Is that a problem?
MARY KATHERINE HAM: Well, first of all, the bottom line is, the reason that those places flourish and those outlets flourish is because they are answering what was a missing part of the market before they existed. And they have flourished because there is an audience that is not being served by often very left-leaning or default sort of liberal media on the other side.
CUPP: Guys, one thing the mainstream media does is they hire conservative-ish people. Like, well, we'll say, like Washington Post blogger, Jen Rubin, for one. New York Times op-ed columnist, Brett Stephens, for another. MSNBC hosts Nicole Wallace, Joe Scarborough. And eventually, they start sounding not very conservative. And I don't know if that's a factor of being where they are. I know I was at MSNBC and it, you know, it's challenging to keep every day, remembering who you are as a conservative, when everyone around you is different. Or if that's a factor of these places or hiring the kinds of conservatives that they like.
ANDY LEVY: Yeah. No, I think it's probably more the latter.
CUPP: So what's the point then? What's the point of hiring conservative-ish?
LEVY: There's a phrase, at least I swear this phrase exists, although I can't find it on Google. There's a phrase called a “show Jew.” And that was someone like years ago when a company needed to let people know that they weren't anti-Semitic, they would hire a Jew. And that would be their show Jew so they can show the world they weren’t anti-Semitic. These people are show-conservatives.
LEVY: The Washington Post hires Jennifer Ruben and they say, “see, no we have a conservative.” And that’s their function. And generally, like you said, they tend to hire people who are conservative-ish; particularly they tend to hire people who are not social conservatives.
CUPP: Yeah. You know, it is hard for conservative to swim in mainstream waters. I do it all the time. And it's -- it's tough. You really have to steel yourself. But to M.K.'s point, it's so important that we do this cross-pollination, so that we're not just all talking in vacuums.
CHRIS BARRON: This is what we're missing. So the balkanization of the media has been something that I think has been really bad for democracy and bad for the country in general, because we're missing that kind of real debate. Where we're hearing opposing sides and people making their minds up at home. And by the way, the point about the Jen Rubins of the world, it's really doing such a disservice to everyone -- there's nothing conservative about Jen Rubin. At this point, she's literally a de facto progressive, hard-left person. And pawning her off saying she's a conservative is so disingenuous. That is fake news.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI: I actually think that's such a key part of this, is that this tokenizing of conservatives in the media is in part because you have a controversial president. And so everyone who's been given this platform happens to fall under that never-Trump coalition of conservatives. Which then gets us back to the same echo chamber that in some ways precipitated the outcome of the election, where you have everyone operating in this silo and not understanding the phenomenon that led to Trump in the first place.