Ziegler: My spot proves CNN’s bias
posted at 10:45 am on November 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
John Ziegler offers his side of the story regarding his appearance last week on CNN’s Parker & Spitzer in discussing the rerelease of his documentary, How Obama Got Elected. The big story, Ziegler writes at The Daily Caller, wasn’t really Kathleen Parker’s admission that she “led” the character assassination of Sarah Palin in 2008, but rather the manner in which CNN rebutted his allegations of media bias against the Republican candidate afterward. But it may have been the next night that showed just how inept CNN and Parker really was:
I was told when I arrived at the studio that the segment would not air the night of the taping (last Thursday) and this convinced me that I had made a mistake even coming to New York. After all, knowing I was in the lion’s den of CNN’s obvious liberalism, I would have to be edit myself just to make sure that anything I said had a legitimate chance of airing (I decided telling Parker & Spitzer that they were a perfect team because one was a “John” and the other was a “whore” probably wouldn’t make the cut).
So instead I decided to throttle back to about a 5 on my 10 scale of outrage and still plenty of fireworks ensued. Most of the focus has been on Parker responding to my attempts to get her to admit the treason she committed in 2008 by going in the other direction (in what I perceived at the time as a knee-jerk “fight or flight” response) and actually bragging that she “led” the “assassination” of Sarah Palin 1.0 (which is a term I have used to describe Palin’s pre-Fox News persona, which I see as fundamentally different than the one she was forced to create due to the media’s unfair targeting of her).
Apparently sensing that something had happened that people might actually find somewhat interesting, the moment I got off the set I was immediately told by CNN producers that the interview would be cut into two segments and would lead that night’s show.
While Parker’s admission about “leading” the “assassination” of Palin (1.0) was both bizarre and shocking (and elicited a rather perfect tweet from Palin herself), almost totally lost in that skirmish is that Parker blatantly lied when she denied ever endorsing Obama as a presidential candidate. A simple look at Charles Krauthammer’s evisceration of Parker’s Obama folly reveals that this was really the most remarkable revelation of my appearance.
As for the larger issue of “media bias” which was allegedly the primary topic of my appearance, the big picture of what transpired here proves the case of my film as well as any of the hours of facts and details I spent over a year compiling for my film and its DVD special features. Here I was, a “conservative” (immediately identified as such, unlike most liberals on TV) having to bend over backwards and self-censor in order be on a show on the allegedly “non-partisan” cable channel, hosted by a disgraced Democrat (when was the last time a scandal-ridden conservative got a prime-time show of any kind?) and a sometimes “conservative” willing to sell out in a heartbeat. Then, the next day the show decides to follow up on my episode (now calling me “ultra-conservative”) by examining the issue of “Palin bias” by inviting on … wait for it … a liberal commentator most well-known for having hosted a show on MSNBC. Shockingly, the verdict was that there is no anti-Palin bias, but without even once going beyond the most superficial analysis that, “We all know Palin is stupid and so the negative coverage is warranted.”
Now, I’m a friend of John’s, but it doesn’t surprise me that he needed to turn the dial down to 5 or so on his amplifier as a strategy. Like the amps in Spinal Tap, John gets to 11 rather easily. He did a commendable job in this appearance, and his strategy worked, in that he did get Parker to brag about her leadership in the character assassination of Palin. Dan Abrams, the commentator to whom John refers, did run MSNBC for a brief time as well as having two shows on the network from 2001-8, at which time he left and founded Mediaite, which does a credible job at giving a fair look at conservatives as well as liberals.
It would have been better, I’d say, if CNN had a couple of people on the next show with some diverse perspectives on the bias in the 2008 election as a follow-up. Supposedly, the pairing of Parker with Eliot Spitzer is supposed to provide that balance, but as John showed, Parker is not exactly a heterodox voice on media manipulation. But Abrams’ presence — as well as the volley of criticism Parker received over her braggadocio — had its effect. By that time, Parker wanted to walk back her extemporaneous comments to John after 24 hours to think about their implications:
After asserting that she “led” the charge againstSarah Palin in 2008 the day before, Kathleen Parker revisited her comments and the greater media bias against Palin last night, adding a few revisions. For one, she didn’t really lead the charge against Palin– “the liberal media” did– and did treat Palin, in some instances, “cruelly, and partly because she’s a woman.” She and co-host Eliot Spitzer further explored the relationship between Palin and the media with Mediaite founder Dan Abrams.
Parker modified her earlier statement about “leading” the assassination, toning it down to being the first on the right after Palin’s damning interview with Katie Couric to question her qualifications.
Can that actually be walked back? After proclaiming oneself to be the leader of a media assassination movement, can one credibly backtrack to a position of sadness over its success? I’d say that either Parker realized that she had crossed a line — or CNN did. John’s point is validated in this retreat.