Thank heavens all the uncivil debate and angry rhetoric is out here on the Internet where it can never touch the pristine minds of Americans, while the mainstream mediaupholds gatekeeping and editorial integrity:
CNN political director Sam Feist compared the joint debate to past forums the network has co-hosted with organizations such as the Congressional Black Caucus and Rock the Vote.
“You find groups [that are] part of the coalition that make up a party and partner with them,” Feist said. “The tea party is clearly a significant part of the Republican coalition.”
The presidential primary forum will serve as a high-profile platform for Tea Party Express, which spent $7.7 million in this year’s midterms trying to elect conservative candidates such asJoe Miller in Alaska, Sharron Angle in Nevada andChristine O’Donnell in Delaware, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The group also sponsored a series of bus tours and rallies around the country, some of which featured Palin as a keynote speaker.
“We will be full partners with CNN, jointly making decisions with them about the debate, and we will ensure that this debate reflects tea party principles, and we appreciate the opportunity to have those values represented over the airwaves of CNN,” the organization said in an email to supporters. “Folks, we continue to expand our reach, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Well, of course you’re thrilled. I would be, too, if CNN had teamed up with anti-war activists to host debates and town halls and put their name on the agenda of, say, ANSWER or something, because after all anti-war Democrats had had a significant impact in the elections, in terms of not being able to get hardly anyone elected at all. But then, that would never happen, because political movements are only significant and worth noting and undeniably about a significant change in the zeitgeist or whatever the hell if they’re Republican.
Part of me’s okay with this because it’s so clearly going to go bad at some point. At some point in this historic and significant partnership, somebody with the TP Express is going to say something far more vile and racist than the six hundred things that have already been said, and CNN will be all “not us” and then will have to say “actually, kind of us, but how could we have known?” and eventually “shit, we’re sorry, we had no idea teaming up with racist lunatics would lead to the lunatics being racist and the racists being lunatics, our bad.”
But the part of me that isn’t okay is watching institutional journalism make all kinds of excuses:
Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at the Poynter Institute, said that because it is partnering with such a political organization, CNN will need to take measures to demonstrate its independence in designing the debate and selecting questions.
CNN will need to take measures. Such as NOT DOING THIS FUCKING STUPID THING IN THE FIRST PLACE. That’s a measure that could be taken.