It’s hard reporting the news — especially when the “news” you’re reporting needs to fit in with a certain preconceived narrative. An example of this phenomenon occurred on Tuesday when CBS News felt impelled to pull a “fact check” of one of President Trump’s claims during his Oval Office address.
The problem was not that the fact check was wrong. It was that truth according to CBS supported Trump’s point of view. During the address he had said that “women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system,” emphasizing the point by noting that one in three women is sexually assaulted while traveling through Mexico. CBS’s “gotcha” corrected the record, noting that the number of women raped is actually between 60% and 80% — which is at least twice as high as the president had intimated.
Yesterday CNN followed in CBS footsteps. According to San Diego station KUSI:
Thursday morning, CNN called the KUSI Newsroom asking if one of our reporters could give them a local view of the debate surrounding the border wall and government shutdown.
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KUSI offered our own Dan Plante, who has reported dozens of times on the border. …
We believe CNN declined a report from KUSI because we informed them that most Border Patrol Agents we have spoken to told us the barrier does in fact work.
CNN responded to the station claiming that they “called several local stations to book someone for a show. We didn’t end up booking any of them.”
The network doesn’t say why it turned down all of the stations it contacted, leaving the reader to wonder if none of them agreed with CNN that a border wall is “immoral.”
It’s not clear why CNN needs to enlist the help of local stations anyway when they’ve got their own crackerjack reporter on the scene to file his own report on the border wall.