CNN Has A Double Standard When It Comes To Suspending Journalists
Credit: Screen Capture
November 20, 2015

As Susie and I both wrote, CNN Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott was suspended for two weeks for tweeting sympathy for refugees after the House vote to make it more difficult for them to come to this country.

Maybe Labott should have been suspended, but I would argue that another tweet of hers is the one which should have triggered that suspension. An earlier tweet, actually.

I interpret the word "wining" to mean "whining," as did Huffington Post writer Michael Calderone.

Labott's tweet expressed a point of view, which routinely happens on Twitter, even among supposedly objective journalists. And why not? She's a veteran foreign policy reporter immersed in covering the world's plans to counter Islamic State militants following last week's Paris attacks. In Labott's view, Obama wasn't outlining an adequate strategy, but instead griping about the criticism he'd faced. Her colleague, CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, presumably didn't think that Obama was offering a clear enough path forward, either: Minutes before Labott's tweet, Acosta bluntly asked the president, "Why can't we take out these bastards?"

Acosta received some criticism on social media for the framing of his question, but Labott's criticism of Obama went largely unnoticed until three days later, when a totally separate tweet put her in the center of a controversy about media bias. That Labott was reprimanded for the second tweet, but not the first, highlights the often arbitrary distinction between analysis and punishment-worthy editorializing or opining.

In CNN's mind, calling the President of the United States a "whiner" for failing to answer a question the way they thought it should be answered is not an indicator of bias. But making a true statement about how that vote in the House yesterday flies in the face of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is worthy of a two-week suspension.

Yet they consider themselves to be the "unbiased" news source. How utterly dishonest.

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