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OPINION
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A Brutal Day for CNN

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"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage on the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We'll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.

01.18.23

News Avoidance Syndrome – WASHINGTON POST

  • Is there such a thing as mis-racialing someone?!

Ever since Friday, there has been a strong reaction to the unveiling of a tribute statue to Martin Luther King, Jr. in Boston. The work, entitled the "Embrace," is, shall we say, an interpretative piece of public art.

One person displeased with the result is Karen Attiah of the Washington Post. Ms. Attiah delivered a diatribe about the repellent nature of this sculpture, describing it as just another way that whites have insulted the name and reputation of Dr. King.

- "Public art and the decisions around it are political. In a country that has VERY FEW public monuments and statues of Black people, the 'Embrace' Martin Luther King statue in Boston sends a message. A lot of the wrong ones. Boston's Embrace statue perfectly represents how White America loves to butcher MLK. MLK- in his fullness-- is still too much for them. It is sending a whitewashed, multi-million dollar message. This is what happens when white America tries to grossly distort what MLK really stood for. To have a dismembered statue of a Black man and woman, in a country that killed and destroyed so many Black people, will never sit right with me."

A nice speech and all, but now we have reached the portion of this column where I need to point out the severe lack of research committed by Ms. Attiah. I will do so by now noting that the sculptor, Hank Willis Thomas, who has upset her with this message of whiteness…is in fact not white.

Pathological Media Amnesia – CNN

CNN has come out with a report on how President Biden’s brothers have been banking on their family name and his political clout. Now, before you get energized by CNN actually reporting on the First Family, understand that this is actually a bit of an old tale they are just getting around to covering, not unlike the Hunter laptop details. 

The amusement is that this took three reporters to basically rehash coverage that first appeared in the New York Post years ago, and they took care to highlight that the newly installed House Republicans are on the hunt. The trio was also certain to inject whataboutism details about the Trump extended family, to place the illegalities in proper perspective.

- "The allegations about the Bidens aren’t 'anywhere near to what Trump did,' said Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer during George W. Bush’s presidency. 'Under Trump, it was outrageous what was going on – this doesn’t rise to that level.'"

Reporting on the Mirror – CNN

The word has trickled out that CNN will be gradually moving staff out of the iconic CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. With the corporate headquarters already transferred out to New York, and most studio broadcasts being staged there or in D.C., the remaining efforts taking place will be relocated to the original site of CNN’s launch, the Techwood Campus in Midtown, where other Turner Broadcasting channels are also located. The new ownership will be spending the better part of this year vacating the iconic downtown building, home to most operations for 35 years. 

- "This move means the oversized CNN logo on the sidewalk off Centennial Olympic Park Drive, a major spot for tourists to take pictures, will be dismantled, and the CNN sign affixed to the building for decades will be taken down."

Demo-lition Project – CNN

  • Breaking down the ratings breakdown at the network.

There can be no surprise why the new ownership of CNN would be looking at closing a location once you peer over the diminishing returns of its broadcasts. In 2023 – and that is down from the number of a year prior when it had lost a staggering 90% of the core demographics numbers in 2021. Now we have come across another metric that further underscores the underperformance at the network.

Last week’s ratings showed that on Friday, Fox News had the top 17 cable news programs, and the #1 show was “The Five.” What was the eye-popping statistic is that the audience for that lone program, just shy of 3.5 million viewers, exceeded all of CNN’s broadcasts from late afternoon and throughout its primetime schedule. “The Five” managed to put up a larger audience than SEVEN HOURS of CNN programming – combined. 

Adding up all of the figures from "The Lead With Jake Tapper" at 5 pm ET all the way to include "CNN Tonight" at 11 pm ET, it still did not amount to the audience for the one-hour show on Fox at 5 pm ET.

Anti-Social Media – BREAKFAST TELEVISION

  • Compulsory volunteerism is the pathway to equity.

A controversy is a-brewing in the NHL, as the Philadelphia Flyers have a skater who has committed the most horrific act you might imagine – he declined to participate in franchise virtue signaling.

Like many teams in the NHL, the Flyers hold a Pride Night, and this involves the team coming out for warmups in themed jerseys, with some wearing other insignia or wrapping their sticks with rainbow-hued tape. Defenseman Ivan Provolov declined to participate, on the grounds that he sees this as something he cannot support due to his religious beliefs. There was no grand gesture on his part, he simply elected to remain in the locker room during the warm-up skating session. 

That calm act has set off many people, including those in the sports press circles. One precious display comes from Canada, where host Sid Seixeiro was very agitated by this move, and goes so far as to suggest that Provolov should come under some kind of punishment, and the team should also incur a fine for this decision he made. That Seixeiro makes his case by invoking the NHL’s policy of “Hockey is for everyone” as he then declares hockey should have been off-limits to the Russian player is as oblivious as one might become on such matters.

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