You know the expression, “You can’t make this stuff up”? Well, over the weekend CNN gave us just such a moment — an example of bias so blatant and so unprofessional that when I first heard it I thought I was watching a Saturday Night Live comedy routine.
It happened at a news conference in Honolulu, at the end of the APEC summit. CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian brought up the weekend GOP debate and told the president that several candidates said in their view waterboarding is not torture. “I’m wondering,” Lothian asked the president, “if you think they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible.”
(I suspect many of you reading this will think I made that up. Click here and see it for yourself.)
I actually laughed when I heard the question. Bias is usually much more subtle, and not nearly as funny. The president just stood there, silent, for a few seconds. Even he seemed stunned at the unvarnished bias of the question. I got the impression he wanted to say, “Come on, man. I know you guys love me – and for good reason – but this is downright embarrassing.” Instead, he smiled and asked if it was a multiple- choice question – then said he thought the Republicans were wrong, that waterboarding is torture. Fine.
My sources tell me that these are a few more questions Dan Lothian may ask the president as the campaign heats up:
“Mr. President, Dan Lothian here from CNN. First I want you to know that we all love you at CNN and think Republicans are Nazis. Now to my question: Do you agree that they’re Nazis or do you think they’re simply morons?”
“Mr. President, should Herman Cain be executed for raping those women?”
“B. I hope you don’t mind Barack if I simply call you B, my main man. Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Should he even be allowed to run for president, especially given the fact that he has 19 wives? And if he wins, should he be allowed to serve? I would say, no, B Man. You agree, right?”
“Good morning, Mr. President. Here’s some coffee and cupcakes I brought to the press conference for you. Question: We took a vote at CNN and decided that the U.S. government should put your face up there on Mt. Rushmore with those other guys who were president. Are those who oppose this great idea uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible?”
You think someone at CNN will take Mr. Lothian aside and say, “Honest reporters don’t do what you did, so don’t do it anymore!” Neither do I.