CNN hasn’t exactly been the gold standard of journalistic accuracy or integrity in recent years, but the cable network’s coverage of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Friday evening set a new bar that’s low even for CNN.
The governor had a tough week, first gaining notoriety for supporting a full-term abortion proposal in the state legislature with language that basically outlined infanticide. He followed that up with a Friday from hell, in which yearbook entries from the 1980s linked him to a photo of men wearing black-face and Ku Klux Klan attire, along with a racist-sounding undergrad nickname at VMI.
Northam later had to acknowledge he was one of the men in the embarrassing photo. A growing chorus of Northam’s fellow Democrats is calling for him to resign from office.
Leaders are called to a higher standard, and the stain of racism should have no place in the halls of government. The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 2, 2019
Did we say “fellow Democrats”? For most readers, that probably didn’t have to be clarified. Yes, Northam has spent his political life as a Democrat. He entered Virginia politics running for the state senate as a Democrat in 2007. He ran successfully for lieutenant governor as a Democrat in 2013, and ran for governor as a Democrat in 2017, opposing Republican Ed Gillespie.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that on Friday evening, when CNN aired Northam’s apology video for the black-face/KKK yearbook photo, the network whiffed on the key descriptor for Northam in the chyron (you’ll need to play the video clip to see it in the CNN caption):
CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" falsely claims that Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam is a member of the Republican Party
Watch the Chyron at the bottom as they show the video of Northam.
CNN identifies him as "Gov. Ralph Northam (R) Virginia" pic.twitter.com/3pMUNUlIJG
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 2, 2019
Folks on social media think that was pretty darn … sloppy of CNN.
Seriously? This is not hard.
— amyeandrews (@amyeandrews) February 2, 2019
Some aren’t convinced it was just sloppiness.
— Sherman A. Thomas (@shermanthomas01) February 2, 2019
No chance this is an accident
— Paul Russell (@Ccakesandfball) February 2, 2019
No accident at all – propaganda media know a million people will see that and spread it
— Rich Castaldo ???????? (@RNCastaldo) February 2, 2019
Gotta damage the Republican party somehow.
— Sam Mitchell (@hawkeye_1276) February 2, 2019
One tireless tweep found a couple of instances in which Fox News labeled a politician’s party incorrectly.
— Alex C (@alexanderc1003) February 2, 2019
We report. You decide.