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CNN Tries to Outfox Fox With Tea Party Deal

CNN, the once dominant and comparatively respectable cable news network, seems determined to destroy whatever shreds are left of its credibility.

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It is also notable that Tea Party Express has become a fixture on Fox News. Fox provided wall-to-wall coverage of the TPE bus tour with reporter Griff Jenkins riding along. Perhaps Fox would have been an even more natural fit for partnering with TPE than CNN. After all, TPE was created by a Republican PR firm and Fox is the communications arm of the Republican Party. If nothing else this underscores the transparent dishonesty of portraying the Tea Party as anything other than an affiliate of the Republican Party. How else can it justify playing an official role in the GOP primary debate?

But far worse is the damage this does to CNN, an already wounded critter. This is an unprecedented partnership between a news organization and an active political action committee that has already taken sides in the debate. Would CNN ever consider partnering with for a Democratic debate? I think not. And prior to this news, I would have hoped not. Now I would suggest that MoveOn give CNN a call just to see how fair and balanced it is.

What might have have prompted CNN to make this unholy alliance with a discredited and over-hyped entity? Undoubtedly CNN’s new president Ken Jautz had something to do with it. Jautz, who took the reins at CNN in September, was previously in charge of its sister network HLN. It was there he made history by giving Glenn Beck his first job in television. In hiring Beck he praised the radio shock-jock as being “cordial,” and “non-confrontational.” That should have been a warning sign that Jautz might not be a suitable choice to run a news network. Jautz has always been more interested in ratings than journalism, and the Tea Party deal imparts a disturbing vision of the direction he intends to take CNN.

Earlier this year ABC News tried to hire smear artist Andrew Breitbart as an election analyst. The public outcry (and Breitbart’s own prickly personality) resulted in Breitbart getting thrown to the curb. That should serve as an example that we can have a positive influence on these sort of decisions. Everyone who who cares about ethical media and fair elections should let CNN know this is inappropriate and unprofessional. You can use this form on CNN’s Web site to tell it that it should not be partnering with Tea Party Express or any right-wing wing PAC (or left-wing for that matter). You can also Tweet CNN at Use the hashtag #NoCNNTP.

Mark Howard is an artist and author and the publisher of News Corpse . His political and socially disruptive artwork has been displayed internationally.

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