An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia
Exhibit 75: Your One-Stop Pro-Trump Talking Points Shop
CNSNews.com loves to publish multiple articles pushing the same exact talking point du jour -- sometimes on the same day.
By Terry Krepel
For instance, an Oct. 31 article by Melanie Arter is headlined "McCarthy: This Is an Attempt to Undo the Last Election and Influence the Next One" and states:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday the impeachment is not just an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well.
Then, on Nov. 4, Susan Jones wrote an article headlined "McCarthy: Democrats Trying to Change Outcome of 2016 Election and Influence the Next One," stating:
The Democrats' impeachment inquiry is a partisan effort to undo the last presidential election and influence the one coming up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
That's right: CNS devoted two articles five days apart to pushing the same exact talking point by the exact same Republican politician, albeit in two different places.
That's some serious dedication to pushing a narrative. Or is it just that CNS editors don't actually read the website they work for before posting stories to it? It's hard to say, because a month later CNS did it again.
In a Dec. 12 article under the headline "Sen. Lindsey Graham: ‘I Don’t Need Any Witnesses at All I Am Ready to Go’," Arter wrote:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News on Thursday that he’s eager to get the Senate impeachment trial under way, and he doesn’t need any witnesses to do it.
Then, on Dec. 16, under the headline Sen. Graham: 'I Don't Need Any Witnesses'," Jones wrote:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says it's best for the country to make quick work of the Senate impeachment trial.
So dedicated is CNS to pushing the Republicans' pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative that it once again devoted two articles four days apart to repeating the exact same talking point.
While there's usually a few days between those articles parroting each other, it moved to beat that by running both parroting articles on the same day.
Jones wrote in a Dec. 23 article headlined "Sen. Graham: 'I Want to Know How Far Up the Chain' the Trump-Russia Investigation Went":
"The Horowitz report is the first step in a long journey regarding FISA abuse," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told "Sunday Morning Futures."
"Up the chain" was clearly the Republican talking point of the day, and CNS apparently received marching orders to hammer it. Literally just 18 minutes later, Jones wrote another article headlined "Sen. Cruz on FBI Abuse: 'How High Up the Chain Did This Go?'"
"One of the worst legacies of the Obama administration is the corruption of law enforcement and the intelligence community," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Sunday Morning Futures."
CNS even promoted the articles next to each other on its front page, as if getting "up the chain" in the minds of its readers was the only (mandated?) goal.
CNS did it again on Jan. 8, though on a non-impeachment-related story. First, under the headline "Trump: 'Iran Went on a Terror Spree Funded by the Money From the Deal' With Obama," Jones uncritically transcribed how President Trump "recounted some of Iran's bad behavior, noting that its "hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion -- not to mention $1.8 billion in cash," quoting Trump as claiming that "Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration."
The same day, under the headline "Sen. Cruz: Obama Administration Paid for the Missiles Fired at U.S. Bases Tuesday Night," Jones also uncritically transcribed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz saying that "In a very real sense, the missiles that we saw fired on U.S. servicemen and women tonight (Tuesday night in Iraq) were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the ayatollah with. And if history teaches anything, it's don't give billions of dollars to people who hate you and want to kill you."
When House Leader Nancy Pelosi signed the articles of impeachment against Trump for delivery to the Senate, Republicans worked up some outrage because she used commemorative pens to do so -- even though commemorative pens are a Washington staple for signing legislation and other important documents. (Senators got commemorative pens at President Clinton's impeachment trial, which seemed to have gone unnoticed by Republicans.)
But such outrage must be manufactured, and CNS was all to happy to manufacture it with a pair of Jan. 16 articles. At 11:27 a.m., Arter wrote under the headline "Conway: Pelosi Celebrating with Fist Bumps, High Fives and ‘Commemorative Pens’":
While the Democrats are gearing up to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate and celebrating the president’s impeachment, President Donald Trump is talking about the trade deal with China and the Dow Jones Average hitting 20,000 for the first time in history, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, told Fox News on Thursday.
A mere six minutes later, at 11:33 a.m., Craig Bannister deliver a blog post under the headline "McConnell: Pelosi Handed Out ‘Golden Pens on Silver Platters, Souvenir to Celebrate’ Impeachment":
“The House’s hour is over,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared Thursday in a floor speech slamming Democrats for putting on a “partisan performance” celebrating the signing of articles of impeachment by handing out souvenirs and posing for smiling photos.
Neither Arter nor Bannister mentioned the relevant fact that there were commemorative pens at Clinton's impeachment.
But then, reporting facts isn't exactly CNS' prime directive right now; promoting pro-Trump talking points is. Same-day service on recycled GOP talking points appears to be about all that CNS is good for these days.
That's not how a news organization works -- that's how a propaganda operation works.