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The CNN Blacklist: The Most Busted Name In News Hits Itself In The Eye Again

Thursday, August 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I’ve been blacklisted!

CNN’s U.S. President Jonathan Klein is urging his producers to ban radio talk show hosts from the network, telling them that “Complex issues require world class reporting,” and adding that talk show hosts are “all too predictable.”

I guess that’s why I had Michael Yon on from Afghanistan today, E.J. Dionne on yesterday, reporters Mike Allen and Kenneth Vogel on Tuesday or The New Republic’s Robert Wright on for a full three hour show two weeks ago to discuss his new book The Evolution of God. This is just the last two weeks, and that included three days of vacation for me.

Christopher Hitchens, Jonathan Alter, Glenn Greenwald, Nicholas Kristoff, Bill Press, Lawrence O’Donnell, Tom Ricks –these and many more are representative of the guests I welcome to the program. Howard Kurtz and Howard Fineman are regulars from the world of MSM as well, as are John Burns and Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, Robin Wright and Thomas P.M. Barnett, Michael O’Hanlon and Max Boot, Lawrence Wright and Robert Kaplan, all are past guests when foreign affairs have been front and center. The only difference between most of CNN’s shows and mine is that I have better guests, give them more time, have prepared more carefully, and put my own opinions on full display so as not to mislead the audience.

Sure, I have many conservatives on, and will continue to do so proudly because they are rarely given anywhere near the time or opportunity for serious conversation on MSM platforms as the left gets on my program or on the programs of my Salem radio network colleagues Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager or Michael Medved. (When did you last see Victor Davis Hanson on CNN?) And CNN never allows the voice of the average center-right American to be heard in the same way that Rush allows, nor for the variety of guests –left, right and center– plus the fun, passion, and patriotism of Sean Hannity or for the analysis of constitutional issues and presentation of political theory that Mark Levin provides or the humor and guests of Dennis Miller. Let’s see, which CNNer has clerked at the Supreme Court as did Laura Ingraham? Mark Steyn who guest hosts for Rush and is on most Thursdays on my program may be the best writer at work in America today, and certainly the funniest columnist –is that the sort of guest CNN must avoid at all costs?

Rush of course invented the medium and dominates it by sheer inventiveness and extraordinary creativity –qualities not exactly flooding CNN’s programming.

The talk radio hosts noted above are far better informed and far better read than almost all of the news readers on CNN, and I suspect Jonathan Klein knows this. (I participated in one of those all-day “future of news” discussions with Klein a few years back in NYC, and found him smart and funny, but perhaps the pressure of declining ratings and plummeting credibility is taking a toll.) With Wolf Blitzer as the big exception among the daily anchors –Wolf has always read the books and been fully prepared when I have been on his show– CNN’s hosts don’t really analyze the news in the way that old time news divisions did before the rise of the giant news-reader anchors. The folks closest to the intellectual temperament of early broadcast giants such as Murrow, Brinkley and others are now almost all on the radio, and on the right.

Talk radio continues to grow its audience and for many reasons, not the least of which is that MSMers are increasingly dismissive of the points-of-view of average Americans. Klein’s recent directive is just another brick in the wall that CNN has been building for years between itself and a majority of Americans who are center-right. CNN’s decision to blacklist hugely popular influencers is the most telling indicator yet of its deep deep bias against center-right opinions, beliefs, and arguments. If you can’t beat ’em, ban ’em.

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