When News Is News

John F. Kennedy once observed that "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion, without the discomfort of thought."  

In its most lethal form, comfortable opinion often comes packaged as something else. 

Namely, news.

By way of example, recently captured the before and afterglow of a live CNN remote, videotaped at last week's Chicago TEA party.  As Wendy Davis pointed out in Tuesday's  Daily Online Examiner, CNN subsequently demanded that You Tube pull FoundingBloggers' behind-the-scenes expose (which You Tube did), but it has since reappeared.

I strongly advise you to watch it,   regardless of your stand on the patriotism of taxes.

But before doing so, I would ask that you do so with eyes that see every American as a valuable human being, quite frequently holding an opinion that is, at a minimum, worth learning more about.



CNN reporter/propagandist Susan Roesgen clearly did NOT go into the crowd with this belief, nor did she comprehend (or accept) that the Party was based on the TEA acronym of TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY.  She instead chose to read only certain signs aloud, and when she selected one father holding his 2-year-old daughter to interview, Roesgen was armed with arguments, disguised as questions.

When asked why he was there, the citizen begins to discuss Lincoln's defense of liberty, only to be cut off with the question, "What does this have to do with taxes? Do you realize that you're eligible for a $400 credit?"


The interviewee tried to continue.  "Lincoln believed that people have the right to share in the fruits of their own labor, and that government should not take it." To which Roesgen abruptly cuts him off again, shrieking "Did you know that the State of Lincoln gets $50 billion out of this stimulus?"

Her pedantic glance back at the camera while making this statement makes her appear to be a spokesperson for the bailout.  Seriously, you've GOT to see it.

Finally, when the citizen attempted to clarify once more, Roesgen disengaged, and went back to the camera, providing CNN's shrinking TV audience with her summation that, as anyone could see, the demonstration was "anti-government, anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by the right wing, conservative network Fox."

Wow.  I guess that says everything you needed to know about the Chicago TEA Party, right?

Wrong.  Cameras continued to roll AFTER the remote concluded -- but they weren't CNN cameras, they were public cameras.  And what it caught was a breathtaking confrontation between Roesgen and an unidentified female from the audience.

At 2:55 into the video, the passionate American CLEARLY states her belief as to why many in the audience are exasperated. See if YOU catch it -- I mean REALLY catch it, because Roesgen didn't -- or, more likely, didn't understand it.  As the cameras continued to roll, the animated and increasingly frustrated woman tries again to bring the topic to the forefront, when she points to one of MANY signs held in the crowd that attempted to boldly finger the culprit of our nation's nearly 100-year-old malady.

I'm being discreet for a reason (or at least as discreet as I can be).  From other reports I have read, a full 10% of the people in attendance at the various TEA parties are of the firm mind that the culprit is NOT Democrat or Republican, CNN or Fox, black or white, Christian or Muslim, or even "rich" or poor.  

In fact, they believe it's not American at all.

So, before the Internet gets "turned off" (now, wouldn't  THAT be a crazy idea? ) -- leaving us once again sedated with the controlled charade of TV opinion disguised as news -- I invite you to begin your own personal journey of discovery.

Because TV -- even TV news -- remains a scripted window to a world we are being allowed to see.

Look behind the camera.

And be prepared to be uncomfortable.

11 comments about "When News Is News".
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  1. Elliott Mitchel from Major Market Media Services, April 23, 2009 at 11:56 a.m.

    I think it's time I unsubscribed from this service.

    The audience for this particular piece is probably well conversant with how TV news is produced, there are no surprises in the foundingbloggers tape.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 23, 2009 at 12:11 p.m.

    It's not a surprise that CNN's ratings are in the tank, given their abundant bias. They report the news that fits the template enjoyed by all the right people, all the smart people at the best cocktail parties.

    But it doesn't matter that CNN is losing ratings, because all the right people will throw ad dollars their way. CNN is a comfortable home for Bush-haters and Obama-worshipers. And Fox will continue to draw viewers from citizens fed up with life-term congressional leaders (of either party).

  3. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, April 23, 2009 at 12:24 p.m.

    CNN does not have a liberal bias (this reporter's work here notwithstanding.) Fox has a conservative bias, MSNBC has a liberal bias. CNN does a pretty good job of playing it down the middle. In fact if there is a reason their ratings are fallinig, it is probably because most avid news viewers prefer partisan news that mirrors their own beliefs, on either side of the divide.

    I am also inclined to cut them some slack for overreacting to the TEA party events, because of the extent to which Fox did indeed sponsor them (and sponsorship is the right word; Fox personalities were featured speakers at several events across the country, and Fox covered them in a fashion similar to promotional events.) CNN and Fox are competitors and so that competitiveness obviously bled into CNN's coverage here. While that is no excuse for bias, it does tend to explaiin the bias. What remains unexplained with respect to media bias and basic good journalistic practices is the fact of Fox's sponsorship of the TEA party events.

  4. Rich Miller from Barking Dog Marketing Communications, April 23, 2009 at 1:54 p.m.

    Very well said, Frank. Thank you!!

  5. Dave O'Mara from Logan Marketing Communications, April 23, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.

    Somebody in this industry had to say what you did, Frank, and you said it very well.

  6. Jackie Percher from JP Associates, April 23, 2009 at 4:13 p.m.

    I applaud your article Frank, thank you. I'm so troubled these days as to where one can find real news. I always thought that reporters and news media were supposed to give both sides of a story and keep their personal opinion out of it. Now, I realize the owners of these broadcast giants have an agenda and I'm not completely naive, but I don't know where to turn to for facts and honesty in journalism anymore. So I just look at several sources.

    But no one seems to be interested in questioning our government and holding them accountable these days. I wish Govt. would grow up and learn to take the best ideas from all sides and make decisions truly based on a bipartisan approach. I believe that is what the tea parties were all about. People are frustrated by footing the bill and not having a more direct say in the decisions being made in D.C.

  7. John Grono from GAP Research, April 23, 2009 at 6:37 p.m.

    A dispassionate view from Down Under.

    It looked like angry mob-rule espousing dismantling of at least the Federal Reserve Bank if not the government itself because "we didn't vote for them" (somone on the video said that - I wonder who did all the voting in the largest turnout on record from memory?). The views of the more vocal people in the crowd seemed somewhat on the anarchic side to me.

    Did I think the CNN reporter was biased? Of course she obviously was! Was she unprofessional? Yep again! But no more than what we have seen over the years and continue to see on Fox News on my cable service down here in Australia.

  8. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 23, 2009 at 8:59 p.m.

    She just didn't do her job as a reporter to look dumber than the person she was interviewing. Most of the tea party people had no idea what the idealogies or words they were supporting mean. They were calling names they didn't know what they were, just that they thought its not popular. How many know the names of their representatives and each of their agendas? Do they know what democracy really is? That the home of democracy was built on the need and use of slavery? Do they know democracy is more socialist than socialism? Can they really describe in detail what either are?

  9. David Thurman from Aussie Rescue of Illinois, April 24, 2009 at 8:16 a.m.

    Frank spot on commentary of what is slowly becoming a divided nation, a biased news services, left and right, and a peak into those in the ad business, you have an odd mix, of left I luv him, to the right side worried about employment and getting by till next pay period.

    I see the left leaning comments and wonder if we will actually survive the next 4-8 years intact and the same place.

    Thanks again frank, kudos for having the b$!ls to speak about poor news coverage.

  10. chuck mincey, April 24, 2009 at 9:41 a.m.

    I applaud Frank for his candid comments. However, I will go further & expose the real culprit, the Federal Reserve Board. This private entity created by Congress in 1913 by a total vote of 5 Congress members. That's right 5 members. The vote was held on December 23, 1913 when most of Congress was home for Christmas.
    The same year which coincides with the Federal Income temporary Tax bill. This is no coincidence. the taxpayers of this country guarantee the payment of the debt to this private international cartel. I strongly urge anyone who cares about this country to contact their Congressmember & ask them to support the Ron Paul sponsored bil HR 1207. This bill calls for thae audit (transparency) of the Federal Reserve. If the Federal Reserve has nothing to hide what's the big deal?
    Time is of the essence. HR 1207 will be introduced Monday April 27.

    Thank you,
    Chuck Mincey

  11. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion, April 28, 2009 at 6:06 p.m.

    It has been a long time since much of what is presented as television "news" has been journalism. We've come a long ways from Walter Cronkite and Huntley-Brinkley. Corporate interests, while realizing profits from "news as entertainment," have been in no mood to spend money on news as journalism, which brings kudos but little income.

    And, it seems the same interests, which have been squeezing newspapers for profits off the top for more than two decades, are ready to strangle the goose that once laid golden eggs on demand.

    It is similar to an earlier era, when newspapers were owned by rich men to gain personal power. As it was then, blame the owner not the medium.

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