Thursday, June 19, 2014

163.4 - Clown Award: CNN

Clown Award: CNN

Talking about guns and gun nuts and their gun nuttery brings us to one of our regular weekly features, it's the Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity, this week complete with special commendation for intellectual cowardice.

This week the big red nose goes to CNN.

Last week I told you about how a group called Everytown for Gun Safety had compiled a list of 74 school shootings since Newtown.

Now, in what has been accurately called "a shameful and mind-numbingly insensitive move," CNN has decided that most of those 74 school shootings simply do not count.

In fact, CNN, has decided that only 15 of those 74 are real, honest-to-gosh "school shootings" - even though those other 59 incidents resulted in 25 dead and 40 more wounded.

How? CNN decided that only those 15 were "school shootings" because they were the only ones that involved someone walking into a school or onto a campus and just starting to shoot. If the shootings arose as the result of an argument or gang activities or whatever, well, those just didn't make the cut.

In fact, the standard used by CNN is a bit hard to figure out: It didn't matter, for example, if the victims were specifically targeted by the shooter or if they were random. You'd then perhaps think the standard was premeditation, but a suicide, which was clearly premeditated, was among those excluded.

Ultimately, it seems CNN sought to eliminate every instance where they could find a way to say it was not fundamentally the same as Newtown except for the number of bodies.

Beyond the student who committed suicide in full view of his classmates, among those incidents not included in CNN's revised list, according to Think Progress, was a brawl that escalated outside a college basketball game at Chicago State University, a shooting at a Mississippi town’s football game that left a 15-year-old dead, and a Georgia college that saw two shootings in two days.

Okay, that's the how, what about the why? That's easier to figure out: CNN backpedaled after right wingers started attacking the list.

It started with a series of tweets from a so-called journalist named Charles Johnson who makes a living telling readers of various right-wing rags what they want to hear. Johnson repeatedly called incidents on the original list "fake," a chant the rest of the right wing press picked up almost instantly, as its hive mind usually does.

And of course, CNN almost immediately caved. Because my gosh, how could any news media outlet be expected to stand by its own reporting when challenged by the intellectual heavyweights of outfits like - and these are the real names - the Daily Caller, HotAir, and PajamasMedia?

Actually, I can tell you what news media outlet could be expected to do that: any self-respecting news media outlet unwilling to lets its coverage be determined by a collection of right wing hacks - a description which apparently does not apply to CNN.

So CNN, you have shown yourself to be both moronic and gutless, more interested in placating the right wing than in truth or accuracy, with the result that you have downplayed the continuing deadly toll of guns. CNN, you are a clown.

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