In Defense of CNN and Fake News

If there is a way to make myself unpopular among my followers, it is not dismissing CNN out of hand. The “Clinton News Network” meme does have some legitimacy—let us be clear about that. CNN clearly has a liberal bias, but every single news agency does. Conservatives consistently citing Fox News, Breitbart or other news agency with clear right-wing biases show a clear double standard, “our biases are okay but yours are not”. But beyond that, they assume facts care about feelings. If you want to judge a news station on how trustworthy they are, then do not apply an ideological test, but a reputation test. You can have a belief and still be honest. There is nothing about being on the American left which makes you an automatic liar. Judge reports on the history of those reporting it and how many people are reporting the same thing, not if those reporting the story agree with you ideologically.

I think it is a sad reflection of conservatism today that we have such childish reactions to sources we do not like. The left does the same thing, but that doesn’t make it okay. Just because a news organization generally has a specific viewpoint, and regardless if they acknowledge it, facts are facts despite who tells them. Every news agency has great reporters. The New York Times has Maggie Haberman, and the Washington Post has Robert Costa. CNN has Jake Tapper, Fox News has Bret Baier, and so on. It does not matter that these outlets are liberal or conservative. When Fox News was on the case of President Obama over Benghazi, IRS targeting, or gun running to Mexican cartels it did not matter than they are America’s leading conservative outlet. The same thing is true when Jake Tapper reports Jim Comey being fired because he would not scale back an investigation into Trump and pledge loyalty. Facts are facts regardless of ideology and who is saying them.

Does any of this mean you have to love CNN? No. Reasonable people can reasonably differ on what agencies are good news agencies. I happen to think CNN is a good one and they have many excellent reporters—like Jake Tapper. But reasonable disagreement does not provide an excuse for the outright rejection of everything that comes out of CNN or other liberal-leaning news agencies. I have said this before in this article and I will say it again—facts do not care about who tells them. I understand the instinct, I used to have it. Until recently, I would dismiss information that came from agencies I disagreed with politically. It is a completely understandable response for someone who is not completely absorbed in the political world and does not see the individual reporters or reporting. I do not blame people for seeing CNN as a blob, but that does not make it right.

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