CNN’s lack of integrity


Justin Chandler

On the evening of Oct. 13, the Democratic debate was broadcasted live on CNN. Moderated by channel journalist Anderson Cooper, the stage was set for five Democratic hopefuls seeking to win the hearts and minds of viewers around the country. Of the five debating, the prime focus of attention both in marketing for the event and in actual discourse were Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

At a combined speaking time of 58:10, it was evident that these two were going to be the clear winners out of the herd and created an interesting scenario of the grassroots-led Sanders gaining on Clinton in the polls, with some outlets projecting that he actually won among voters over his rival. One such poll included CNN.

Following the broadcast leading into the post-debate roundtable, the social media polls on CNN projected Sanders winning with 75 percent, Clinton at 18 percent, and the other delegates ranging around 3 percent. The irony of this situation is that while their own polls reflected this result (along with a near unanimous vote for Sanders from a random focus group collected by CNN), the channel spent the entirety of the aftermath claiming that while Sanders provided passion, he ultimately did not succeed against the former Secretary.

The following day, the poll was removed from the website, the video of the focus group supporting Sanders was removed and no longer mentioned, and new topics flooded the viewers stating that Clinton “proved without a doubt why she is the Democratic Party’s presidential front-runner.”

To add insult to injury, Facebook commenters who came to Bernie’s defense on the CNN Facebook page pointing out the discrepancy had their opinions removed from the posts.

This would be a non-issue in any other scenario except for one key piece of this puzzle: CNN is owned by Time Warner Inc., who has been a constant financial supporter for Clinton since 1999, with an overall donor amount of $411,296. So logic dictates that if there is a financial stake invested into a candidate, then the donor will do whatever it takes to make sure that their choice not only wins, but does not become a waste of money.

What this demonstrates is an overall lack of journalistic integrity from a major news source, especially one that is broadcasted in over 100 million American homes. Similar to the constant criticism towards Fox News for its misusage of the tagline “Fair and Balanced,” the misrepresentation of public opinion by CNN represents a new professional low for media outlets.

It is one thing to lean one way or another on the political spectrum, it is quite another to disregard the views of your vocal audience when the evidence was graphically shown, further push another agenda across the airwaves and moderate social media posts with a fine-tooth comb.

This is not a matter of being in favor of one candidate over another, as the outcry most likely would’ve been similar had the rolls been reversed. This is a matter of unequivocal bias in order to justify spending thousands of dollars into one political investment, all at the cost of the American voter.

Recent polls have shown mixed results between the two candidates, and we are still months out from finding a Democratic representative for 2016. My hope is that when the time comes, it will have been the candidate who represents the voice of the people, not the voice of the pockets.

Chandler, a senior middle grades education major from Icard, is an opinion writer.