CNN's Tightrope Burden
To say this year has been challenging for CNN is an understatement. To begin with they have been involved in scandals that have led to the firing of two of their on-air personalities. Kathy Griffin for many years alongside Anderson Cooper rung in the new year during their highly watched annual NYE special. Like Kathy Griffin, Reza Aslan, former host of Believer, was also fired.
It is no secret that both Ms. Griffin and Mr. Aslan were terminated because of their respective visual and written attacks on President Trump. Both instances are but the tip of the iceberg for CNN as they also had to issue several corrections on their own stories when after further review they were found to have been incorrect. All of which was highly publicized throughout most news and media outlets. The aforementioned problems CNN rectified, but their exists one problem that still plagues the network, and seems to have staying power: fake news.
CNN's slogan is "The Most Trusted Name in News"-their entire operation as a news organization is founded on providing viewers with unbiased news reporting. But, with the recent rise of fake news an accusatory term relating to the purposefully incorrect and slanted news reporting being consistently used against CNN, the stakes are now high for CNN as fake news attempts to strip them of not just their credibility, but more to the point, their identity. All of this has paved the way for the unforeseeable future, to CNN fighting to stay on top of a very public tightrope, and maintain their position in the ever hostile arena of politics.
CNN wisely fired Aslan and Griffin which was a move that could have worked against them because not everyone agreed that what Aslan or Griffin did and said merited their termination. Those people were wrong, because when an individual uses over the top profanity and violence even if its solely metaphorically to express their opinion in politics the attention is no longer on the topic but instead becomes a review of the person and distracts attention from key issues.
CNN has continued to have their show panels filled with speakers that are both Democrats and Republicans. This not only leads to heated debates, which does make for entertaining television, but it also guarantees that both Democrats and Republicans are tuning in because they are being represented. While bipartisan viewers watch, CNN has the ability to inspire thought on both sides of the political divide. This is important to remember because CNN is genuinely trying to do good in the world, even if some disagree, and at this politically charged moment in American history, it seems nothing could be better for the nation than bridging the divide between the two major political parties.
CNN does not affiliate itself with either political party per se, although most believe it to be more liberal than conservative. This does not necessarily mean that only Democrats benefit from the work CNN does. CNN has many conservative Republican guests and pundits on many of their shows, and they are given a very unique platform. If a Republican expresses their political views on FOX or any other conservative outlet, they are simply preaching to the choir. So in other words they are not affecting change. Where as when conservative ideology is given the chance to be expressed on CNN, liberals are also hearing. Anyone who thinks that's "useless" because Democrats don't listen and won't change, would do well to remember how many traditionally Democratic states voted red.
The Democratic Party also benefits from CNN's coverage and discussion of news because Republican viewers hear political opinion from liberal pundits as well conservative ones. Had CNN chosen to stand by Aslan or Griffin, conservative viewers would have very likely stopped watching CNN thus closing an important window between the parties. Democrats additionally benefit from CNN because realistically liberals are not going to watch conservative news sources just so they can know what the other conservative half thinks. CNN's shows allow Democrats to hear and be aware of the key issues and frustrations Republicans have via the Republican pundits on CNN. This insight into the heart and mind of the Republic Party is of paramount importance because it was in part the lack of insight and understanding of the current Republican party that cost Democrats the 2016 presidential election.
Those who want ultra liberal shows know where to find them. Similarly, those who want ultra conservative shows know where to get their fix. For those who want some semblance of neutrality in their news, there is CNN. CNN's desire to report news for a bipartisan audience is a cornerstone of the network. To do this they must combat fake news allegations otherwise they loose credibility and a bipartisan audience. The only way to truly do this effectively is for CNN to continue providing a place for Democrats and Republicans to express themselves on-air and most importantly ensure meticulous and cohesive reporting on their part. All news sources at some point get a story or fact wrong, it happens, we're all human, but as the spotlight fake news has put on CNN continues to beam heavily down, the next misstep for CNN might mean its fall from the top, and that continuous window into each other's political party is something we as a nation cannot afford to loose. So, don't loose your footing, CNN, we're counting on you.