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CNN Suspends Correspondent For Believing What Emma Lazarus Wrote

Sounds like Elise Labott didn't understand her job description!
CNN Suspends Correspondent For Believing What Emma Lazarus Wrote
Image from: CNN.com

Ladies and gentlemen, your librul media:

CNN has suspended Elise Labott, a global affairs correspondent at the network, for two weeks following a passionate pro-refugee tweet, a CNN source confirmed to Business Insider.

After the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation on Thursday to stifle the flow of US refugees from Syria and Iraq, Labott slammed the bill.

"House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish," she wrote on Twitter.

She was probably referring to the Emma Lazarus poem on the base of the statue:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

— Emma Lazarus

And how silly is that? I don't know where Elise Labott went to journalism school, but they didn't do their job of disabusing her of idealism! Elise, hon, your job is now to afflict the afflicted, and comfort the comfortable. Because rich and powerful people have feelings, damn it!

That tweet prompted immediate backlash from critics who said she shouldn't have been opining on contentious legislation. Unlike some of its competitors, CNN typically strives for a straight-news, nonpartisan approach to its broadcasting.

"CNN correspondent lays bare bias in one easy tweet," The Washington Post's media critic, Erick Wemple, wrote on Twitter.

"I was stunned that Elise Labott, a CNN reporter, would tweet about Statue of Liberty hanging its head after Syrian refugee bill passed," added Howard Kurtz, a media-focused Fox News host. Kurtz further called the tweet "disrespectful."

Let that sink in: Howard fucking Kurtz was "stunned." He said it was "disrespectful." (Personally, I find the idea of Howard Kurtz being anywhere near the national discourse "nauseating.")


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You would think some things are obvious and beyond dispute -- like the idea that Lady Liberty would hang her head over yesterday's disgusting Syrian refugee bill. Of course she would! Elise Labott was saying a true thing.

And we can't have that.

More than most, CNN embraces the famous "view from nowhere" approach to what they presume to call journalism:

In pro journalism, American style, the View from Nowhere is a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer. Frequently it places the journalist between polarized extremes, and calls that neither-nor position “impartial.” Second, it’s a means of defense against a style of criticism that is fully anticipated: charges of bias originating in partisan politics and the two-party system. Third: it’s an attempt to secure a kind of universal legitimacy that is implicitly denied to those who stake out positions or betray a point of view. American journalists have almost a lust for the View from Nowhere because they think it has more authority than any other possible stance.

As opposed to, oh, I don't know, simply being transparent about bias. Like interviewing "experts" and disclosing who actually pays them -- while you're interviewing them? Or by disclosing political contributions by your hosts.

This episode is a small one, likely to get lost in the news shuffle. But it's so indicative of the larger problem -- namely, the selective idea that disclosing any opinions at all should be a career killer.

And it's the kind of attention to meaningless detail that's meant to distract us from the much larger ethical issues and corporate interests of journalism. The routine decisions of how a story is framed in its presentation is the ultimate in journalism bias.

But let's not talk about that.

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