Here are 5 right-wingers CNN paid to lie and spout propaganda this year -- other than Rick Santorum
Paris Dennard, David Urban and Steve Cortes (Photo: Screen captures)

Former late-night comedian Jon Stewart brought down CNN's "Crossfire" in 2004 when he demanded the hosts explain why they're paid to have a debate show where both sides do nothing but yell at each other.


Former co-host Paul Begala called it a "disemboweling" of his show.

"Stewart thought it was absurd to pretend every issue could be reduced to a forced choice between the right and the left. I thought that was a good point. Some issues have seven sides, but better to air two than none," Begala wrote.

While "Crossfire" was gone shortly after, CNN has copied this same idea and brought it to daily panel discussions on all shows, featuring far-right Trump apologists and sound-bite experts from the center and left.

CNN was attacked again, more recently, when they bumped climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who co-author the recent U.S. National Climate Assessment warning the Earth is in the final moments of a much-needed turnaround. She was coaxed into the "Anderson Cooper 360" appearance during a busy conference. The network filmed the interview and the scientist explained it went well. But when the show aired, she was replaced by climate science denier Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

In a Twitter post, Hayhoe wrote about the incident in a broader context that the network is likely more interested in ratings-grabbing cranks spreading disinformation because they make better television than knowledgeable experts doing daily work on these issues. Opinion seems to have become more valuable than factual analysis and as such it's put on the same plane.

Other than Rick Santorum, here are five other right-wing commentators that CNN pays to lie on the air:

1. Stephen Moore:

Listed as an "informal economic advisor" to Donald Trump, Stephen Moore is often forced into a debate with former Labor Secretary and class warrior Robert Reich. Moore served as the Founding President of the Club for Growth, a far-right group that believes cutting taxes is the only economic policy that matters. By contrast, Reich is a Dartmouth, Oxford and Yale-educated expert who has actually served in government.

One of Moore's more absurd statements credited Trump with creating tens of thousands of coal mining jobs in the first two months of his presidency, restoring the industry. The number was more like 200 in four months.

Moore frequently twists actual facts and replaces them with convenient "alternative facts" that benefits Trump.

2. Scott Jennings:

Jennings has spent the last few years expertly twisting himself into whatever position the president demands of him. When Trump attacks generals, admirals, former members of the military like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and any other oppositional figure, Jennings swoops in for defense.

When Jennings tried to defend Trump's attack on Retired Adm. William McRaven comments, CNN's Jim Sciutto nailed the guest by saying that Trump could never understand the high call of the military because he refused to “serve.”

The pinnacle finally came recently when Never-Trumper Max Boot unleashed on Jennings last week, saying he was sick of Jennings' "sanctimonious bull crap" about Trump's racism.

3. Paris Dennard:

CNN host Don Lemon has a strong pet peeve of pundits who knowingly lie on his show. Things got so bad with conservative Trump defender Paris Dennard, that Lemon actually took to cutting off the guest live on air. The Trump fan is so willing to parrot White House talking points, that he even tried to justify the white nationalists in Charlottesville. "They're freaking chanting Jews will not replace us!" Anderson Cooper said to him at one point. Dennard even tried to say that the president never said "there were very fine people on both sides" of Charlottesville. There was a video of him saying it.

Dennard is likely picked because each of his appearances are guaranteed to end in fireworks. The pundit says such outrageous things that when he's ultimately fact-checked, he gets into a fight. One Democratic commentator even led Dennard into a rage when he commented on the conservative's blood pressure.

Since it became known he was fired for sexual harassment, Dennard hasn't been around much, after being bankrolled for years by the network.

4. David Urban

Another key apologist for CNN is former Trump campaign strategist David Urban, who told Anderson Cooper he's never heard the president tell a lie. The host was struck speechless. Former Republican Rick Wilson simply laughed hysterically.

He's defended Trump's "work" in Puerto Rico, he downplayed Trump revoking clearance credentials of generals who bash him on cable news, Trump's Muslim ban and more.

Worse, however, was the time Urban shilled for one of his clients live on air without disclosing he was being paid by them. He also has a knack for interrupting women and talking over them to excess.

5. Steve Cortes

Steve Cortes is often put up against Republican Never Trumper Ana Navarro, who routinely dances rhetorical circles around the Trump-loving conservative. He's been in difficult discussions about race with black commentators, he refused to admit Trump lied about his affair with Stormy Daniels and saying he couldn't agree Trump was a racist.

This year, however, the rare moment came when Trump went too far, even for Cortes. During a Mississippi campaign rally in October, the president went into full attack mode against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, one of the alleged sexual assault survivor of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.