Appearing on Current TV's broadcast of "The Young Turks" on Thursday night, host Cenk Uygur introduced a new segment, Establishment Media Watch, and took aim at his first target: CNN's lax coverage of the National Defense Authorization Act.
"We have covered it many times on this show, yet we were surprised to find out that the establishment media is not covering it very much at all," Uygur said. "In fact, in this entire process, as they considered the law, they debated the law, the president issued a veto threat, and then he did not veto it and he signed it into legislation, throughout all of that, the so-called most trusted name in news, CNN, covered this story zero times in prime-time. Not one story in prime-time.
"Overall, they do 24 hours of news, in those months they mentioned it just five times. In three of those instances, it was in under-30-second soundbites [...] and, in fact, they weren't even clear on that."
He gave credit to CNN contributor Natalie Allen, who interviewed constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley about the bill and gave it a fair treatment. "Credit where credit is due," Uygur said.
But, he added, "the other interview was with a law professor who seemed to be in favor of the bill. I don't know how they even found a law professor in favor of the bill in the country, but leave it to CNN to give it that kind of nonsense balance. 'Almost all the civil libertarians believe that it's an attrocious bill, including the ACLU, Amnesty International, etc., but we found one guy that seems to agree with it.' That's CNN's balance for you."
He concluded: "I'm bothered that they don't cover it, overall. Just, please, stop with the weebles and do real news!"
In a "Web extra" published to Current.com, Cenk added that he decided to so harshly criticize CNN because it's such an important component of democracy, being the one 24-hour news network that's supposedly be without bias.
"It's not just about CNN and it's not just about this issue," he said. "It's many issues where they don't do the news justice. So much of Americans' get their news from television. It's especially incumbent on television to do their jobs. That's why we're doing media watch."
This video is from Current TV's "The Young Turks," broadcast Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.
This video is a "Young Turks" Web extra, published Friday, Jan. 6, 2012.