“Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not; it’s not social media.”
Why do people think CNN and Fox News are equal news sources? I’m always confused when people who watch Fox News claim that people from the left are brainwashed by liberal media. Other—claiming to be—non-partisans claim CNN is unreliable and their news is skewed. Complaints that CNN won’t report on stories that don’t serve their narrative are typically met with facts that show CNN was unable to confirm the story. But once objective facts are brought to light and made to be verifiable by other sources, CNN will share the negative stories too.
CNN is said to be left-leaning or pushing a progressive agenda, but Bernie Sanders’ supporters also don’t like CNN. The Occupy CNN movement is about the fact that CNN fails to cover Bernie Sanders with the same glowing spotlight as many other politicians, not only Democrats. Democrats have previously been given more positive storytime, however, negative stories on Republicans only slightly outweighed Democrats in 2016. Most stories were either positive or neutral (46%, 8% respectively), and in many cases, neither Democrat nor Republican candidates were afforded positive coverage.
CNN Guest Speakers
CNN is a cable news network, which means they need to produce and stream repurposed content constantly. In order to do so, they’ll take facts, based on intelligence reports, White House Briefings, public comments made by certain officials, and other sources, and then they will digest the facts with guest speakers, analysts, and correspondents. Each speaker will offer a perspective based on their own background expertise or inside knowledge, oftentimes they are opinions or projections of what some of the information means. Many of the speakers are left-leaning and do side against Republican candidates. However, the facts they’re opining on are always traceable to other sources. Facts are not created out of thin air, they’re not speculative stories with unverified information, most importantly, they are not alarmist. CNN has not repeatedly called the former president or his followers or the far-right “fascists.”
Fox News guest speakers include people like Geraldo Rivera, and their hosts, Jeanine Pirro. Their anchors spread falsehoods as if they’re facts. Cries of socialism and communism surround every Democratic position. Fox News hosts tell their viewers Democrats want to make the United States a socialist communist country (yes, both, at the same time apparently…. Or the terms are maybe interchangeable to them now, I have no idea) and completely dismantle or void out the constitution. Which is wild—because it was far-right extremists who attacked our Capitol and attempted to stop a constitutional process they believed was occurring in a fraudulent way.
If you respect our constitution and feel that something nefarious has occurred, how is it respectful to our constitution to then violate it to stop the nefarious actions? Should you not continue to operate within the framework of the constitution in order to sort out irregularities and faulty activities? How would violating the constitution set a precedent to protect it? It is entirely unclear to me how stopping the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory would have worked for or within our constitutional laws. If the insurrectionists were attempting to violate the constitution or did not care that they were violating it, is that not a treasonous act and, dare I say, a little fascist?
Facts are Facts
Fox News Frequently shares information with their viewers as if it is pure fact. They have been known to occasionally correct, but only if the information is shoved down their throats. It’s not uncommon for a late-night host like Tucker Carlson to entertain theories of UFOs. Beliefs grounded in no fact, conjured from thin air are digested with hosts and analysts, making it appear as though the starting line was, indeed, a fact—but it wasn’t.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California appeared on Fox News frequently to tout the president's lies of election fraud often saying, “President Trump won this election” and other obscenities like Joe Biden stole the election through fraud. A government official, on national television, saying something so blatantly false and there was not one “journalist” on Fox News who called him out or asked for accountability or looked for substantiation in any way. The stories were sympathized and then echoed. No facts have been made available to support voter fraud—the intelligence communities, justice departments, and judicial system have all determined there to be absolutely no basis for claims of fraud.
And if we really want to look deep into where the former president got this information, just read through the transcript of his call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Ryan Germany, the lawyer for Sec. Raffensperger is pressing Trump on where he’s getting information. At one point, Mr. Germany says, “Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.” Trump responds, “Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not; it’s not social media.”
Donald Trump is getting information that election fraud happened from some social media source… not intelligence officials, not whistleblowers in the states, not election officials, but from the internet. The internet that he’s reading by himself and stories he’s pulling from sources he has not verified. He believes because these media outlets favor him and other Republicans, they’re more reliable than other media outlets, and apparently more reliable than his own justice department or intelligence officials.
Not the Same
CNN and Fox News are not the same. CNN does lean left, they do digest facts with analysts who typically favor democratic policies, but they don’t lean far enough left for Bernie or AOC supporters and their commentators include a wide array of Republican officials, politicians, and aides, as well as many moderate Democrats. While their opinions are politically charged, their facts are objective and traceable back to other sources such as intelligence reports or public comments. Fox News will share information regardless of the source or objectivity.
How can cable news networks be compared in their interpretations when their base facts do not stem from the same objective foundation? When working on the same facts, a healthy divergence of opinions and interpretations leads to diverse and helpful debates.
But making up facts altogether is not equal to or the same as opinion bias.