CNN host cracks the whip, rebukes Bob Schieffer for ‘normalizing’ President Trump
The heads of media Trump-haters are quietly imploding as their bête noire is executing a diplomatic triumph in the Middle East. The fanatics among them are lashing out at colleagues who dare to deviate from the Party Line that Trump is stupid, embarrassing, corrupt, and everything they hate. In order to maintain message discipline, positive comments about the remarkable accomplishments achieved in Saudi Arabia – restructuring the relationship of the Sunni world with America – must be avoided, or if actually uttered, refuted.
That is exactly what happened Sunday on CNN's Reliable Sources show.
Mark Finklestein of Legal Insurrection captured the revealing interchange when veteran correspondent Bob Schieffer – a journalist who remembers the actual function of the profession, as opposed to its corruption into a propaganda cadre – is corrected by a young True Believer named John Berman. This must be seen to be believed:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today you saw a very different President Trump. He actually sounded presidential. You may agree or disagree with what he said, but he sounded like a president . . . This went over very well, mainly because he stayed on script. No tweets today. But a dignified speech. ...
I think very few people would disagree with me when I say he helped himself today, because he didn't sound like the guy at the end of the bar popping off. He sounded like someone who had actually thought about what he was going to say before he said it.
JOHN BERMAN: You know, Bob, though, that there will be people who look at that last comment you made and say, you're normalizing the president. You're saying because he met this admittedly very low bar for not sounding foolish, in fact, he was in fact presidential. What would you say to criticism like that?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I'm not trying to normalize him in any way. I'm trying to do what reporters do, and that, report and try to emphasize what I think was important here. (emphasis by Finklestein)
No positive comments allowed about Trump, unless placed into a context that presents him as a fool. This is the very definition of a propaganda operation. A study by the Harvard Shorenstein Center found that CNN's coverage of Trump was 93% negative. With John Berman guarding the output, that 7% positive coverage must surely be reduced by now.