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Thursday 27 January 2011

Party On – On Another Channel

These are strange times in the world of cable news: the channel that had, until recently, been averse to opinionated hosts and any kind of overt partisanship has struck up a partnership with a group that is not merely partisan, but also apparently as much a money generating scheme as a political action committee (PAC).

CNN – the original cable news network – has been languishing in the ratings, only scoring serious viewer numbers for set piece events such as Monday’s State Of The Union (SOTU) address. As CNN’s numbers have sunk, MSNBC, many of whose hosts are overtly liberal in outlook, has overtaken it, especially in primetime. And it is way behind our old friends at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).

And, from the start, Fox has been the channel of choice for the various “Tea Party” groups that have sprung up around the USA recently: one such was the Tea Party Express, which the channel promoted heavily, gaining the attention of Media Matters For America (MMFA), as can be seen in this video.

But recently, Tea Party Express has moved its affiliation ... to CNN! The two have joined forces, and the association between them was heavily promoted on the channel during the SOTU address and analysis. Moreover, CNN carried not only Barack Obama’s address, and the official Republican Party response, but a “Tea Party” response from Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

The CNN action effectively elevated the Bachmann response to the same level as the mainstream GOP one, although she is not part of the Party’s leadership, and nor is she an official “Tea Party” spokesman.

This change in approach for CNN, and some background on the Tea Party Express, was covered on her Tuesday show by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Given her analysis, and that of MMFA, one can only wonder what CNN are doing getting into bed with this group, other than perhaps to garner ratings from those who would normally tune in to Fox.

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