Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones declared the notion of CNN’s ongoing attempt to appear less liberal could be dangerous because “the other side shouldn’t be given a voice” on certain issues.
Jones penned a piece headlined, “CNN ‘hewing toward the center’ is not necessarily good for our democracy,” which took aim at a recent Chicago Tribune editorial weighing in on CNN’s attempt to become less polarizing and liberal. The Tribune’s editorial board noted that most issues have two sides, but made an exception “when it comes to the antics of former President Donald Trump.”
The Tribune said the U.S. needs a news organization that everyone can trust, but Jones doesn’t particularly agree.
“Here’s the problem: All Americans aren’t reasonable enough or willing to accept what’s true,” Jones wrote. “And it isn’t just a small minority of those who aren’t willing to accept things such as the 2020 presidential election, the authenticity of our elections and other bedrocks of our democracy. For the editorial board to wrap up the issue by briefly mentioning the ‘antics of former President Donald Trump’ seems overly dismissive and not nearly as comprehensive of what’s truly at stake here.”
In recent weeks, CNN has dropped liberal media pundit Brian Stelter, toned down the use of the network’s dramatic “breaking news” graphics, and allowed other partisan personalities to exit in an attempt to appeal to a larger percentage of Americans. However, the network also moved liberal host Don Lemon to its new morning program, an indication that the editorial tone will continue to lean left.
The Tribune editorial board wrote, “Perhaps it’s Pollyannaish to hope that CNN can retrofit itself in a country where each political side believes the other is living in a kind of dangerous alternate reality,” but Jones doesn’t think the term went far enough.
“I’ll add another word to at least consider: dangerous. Pushing for fairness and completeness in journalism as well as fewer ‘hot takes’ is never a bad idea. But that’s not the same as making sure you present both sides. Sometimes, the other side shouldn’t be given a voice, particularly if that side’s argument is based on lies or pushes harmful agendas,” Jones wrote.
The Poynter Institute bills itself as a “global leader in journalism” that aims to champion “freedom of expression, civil dialogue and compelling journalism that helps citizens participate in healthy democracies,” according to its website. It owns the left-leaning fact-checking site PolitiFact.