Abrams: CNN makes vain attempts to hide its bias

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — CNN has been trying mightily to convince Republicans and independents that it is somehow a balanced network without a liberal bias. They have changed almost nothing apart from purging a couple of its more partisan hosts, as if somehow that will solve the issue.

Understandably, some of its other overtly liberal hosts who are still there are nervous and trying to play the game to please the new boss, Chris Licht. It’s creating a bizarre situation where liberal CNN hosts are now trying to pretend they’re actually balanced or even conservative leaning. 

For example, the media website Puck reports that Brianna Keilar, co-anchor of CNN’s morning show “New Day,” has fallen out of favor with CNN brass who view her as overly partisan against former President Donald Trump and Republicans at large.

Keilar won fans on the far left with her outspoken anti-Trump commentary while former CNN boss Jeff Zucker was in charge. But the new regime led by Licht is thought to be critical of Keilar’s partisanship.

Apparently, she had not gotten the pretend-to-be-balanced memo in an interview last month with Republican congressman Mike Turner about the FBI search of Trump’s home in Florida. According to Puck, Licht was unhappy with the “tone and tenor” of Keilar’s questioning.

Turner: These are 2-year-old documents that are in the president’s residence. We don’t know what’s in them. They’re not ongoing communications. Certainly now.

Keilar: Do you have evidence of that? (crosstalk) sir, do you have evidence to say that or not?

Turner: Ongoing communications like you had with Hillary Clinton.

Keilar: Do you know that?

Turner: But remember, they did not raid Hillary Clinton’s home. This is why (Attorney General Merrick) Garland has got to answer these questions. This is unequal application of law.

Keilar: Excuse me, sir. How do you know they’re not ongoing? You haven’t been briefed on what you want to be briefed on. How do you know that?

Whether the questions are fair or not, Puck reports that Keilar is internally thought to subject only Republicans to that type of tone and tenor.

Here is the issue: Keilar is clearly a liberal. I experienced it personally. When my then-live police show “Live PD” was pulled off the air, she relished in the moment. We had a spirited debate on air, and she disagreed with me, I believe, because she doesn’t support police. I may be wrong, but I will always be transparent about my views.

But now, to keep her job, she and others at CNN have to fake it.

Keilar recently took a shot at President Joe Biden, calling him out for having Marines in full dress uniform stand behind him while he was delivering his prime-time address in early September, a speech that turned out to be very political in nature.

After the address, Keilar tweeted: “Whatever you think of this speech, the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it.”

Puck reports that some inside CNN believe Keilar’s tweet was aimed squarely at Licht as part of an effort to try and win him over and get him to believe that she scrutinizes both sides. But the audience is not stupid. People aren’t going to all of a sudden change their minds and ignore everything she’s done and said up until now.

I believe the best kind of media and journalism is about honesty and transparency, and her reported job-saving tactics show it’s really about expediency. And this episode underscores the whole issue with the network right now — CNN has a real credibility problem.

The company can get rid of media reporter Brian Stelter and White House reporter John Harwood and even Brianna Keilar if they so choose, but none of that addresses the real problem, which is much deeper.

Dozens and dozens of producers are responsible for writing the highly partisan chyrons you see on the bottom of your screen when you’re watching CNN. They’re the people who pick the topics they cover and don’t cover. These are critical roles, and they are almost all still there and still overtly liberal. 

CNN has leaned solidly left for much of the past decade, and I truly hope they’re sincere about changing. I say, the more outlets that speak to what I call the marginalized, moderate majority, the better.

But theirs is a house in need of much more than a fresh coat of paint, which is all that the dismissal of a few anchors amounts to. If CNN brass is serious, they have got a much bigger project ahead of them.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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