What’s going on at CNN in terms of their “hard news” editing process these days? The latest questionable achievement in journalism coming out of Atlanta caught my attention by way of Scott Adams’ Twitter feed yesterday, highlighting an instance where The Most Trusted Name in News ran a chyron which rather pointedly edited comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. While discussing the issue of profiling and once again using Israel as an example, The Donald failed to use a word which would have made the comment far more incendiary to the Left, so CNN took the liberty of inserting it for him.
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) September 19, 2016
You’ll notice the difference between the caption and the actual text of the remarks comes down to one word. The Hill highlights precisely how they molded the narrative.
CNN added the word “racial” to Donald Trump’s Monday comments on terrorism and immigration, and is running headlines reporting that the GOP nominee is advocating “racial profiling”.
But a review of the transcript of Trump’s comments to Fox News that CNN quoted, however, shows that Trump never put the word “racial” in front of “profiling.”
“You know in Israel, they profile,” Trump said Monday to Fox News. “They’ve done an unbelievable job — as good as you can do. But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they’ll profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will profile. They will take that person in. They will check out.”
Even if this were examined in a vacuum, that’s a fairly egregious bit of editing. Just as with American law enforcement agencies, Israel’s defense forces engage in profiling. Using patterns and prior records of criminal activity (or terrorism in the case of Israel) is how you maximize your chances of success. But when you stick the word “racial” in front of it you have yourself a liberal talking point which is a sure fire way to gin up the base and get out the vote for Democrats.
But we don’t have to look at this in a vacuum. It’s even more remarkable when we consider this chyron edit as part of a larger pattern. Somebody in the production booth had to consciously make the decision to add in a word which Trump did not utter and, even more to the point, put it in quotes so it looked like an exact transcript of what the candidate said. There’s simply no way that the reasonable observer could write that off as an accident.
Now add it in with the recent incident where CNN blurred out the logo on a Trump shirt being worn by a subject being interviewed for a story having nothing to do with the election. These aren’t things that just happen by accident in an operation of that size and reach. There’s a culture in every newsroom and it bleeds over into the published product they put out. Of course, CNN isn’t alone in this pattern. Just look at the CBS incident last week where their evening news segment edited out a critical three seconds of an interview with Bill Clinton when he talked about his wife’s history of fainting spells. Sure, they wrote that off as having been done purely in the interest of time, but is anyone actually buying that?
CNN can’t afford to deliver the impression that they’re trying to put a thumb on the scale this close to the election. Their place in the food chain is supposed to be the “hard news” middle ground between MSNBC on the Left and Fox News on the Right. But there’s something going on behind the scenes at that network, and they owe their viewers an explanation for how this keeps happening and what they plan to do to correct it.