Time magazine columnist Joe Klein called CNN “an embarrassment to our profession,” surprising a New York City audience on Sunday by declaring Fox News “the only option” for straight news at 6 p.m.
Hardly a rabid right-winger, Klein nevertheless felt compelled to lament the decline of liberal media bastions like CNN and MSNBC during a conversation with Jeff Greenfield at the 92nd Street Y.
He singled out for particular criticism CNN’s endlessly breathless coverage of missing Malaysia Flight 370 (RELATED: The five most ridiculous aspects of CNN’s missing Malaysian flight coverage).
“I come home, and I turn on CNN at 6 o’clock at night — because that’s something I kind of do in preparation for the 6:30 network news, to see what Wolf [Blitzer] is being really hyperbolic about — and he’s talking about the plane!” Klein lamented.
“It is such an embarrassment to our profession that CNN has gone in the toilet the way it has,” he continued. “You know, I miss being able to turn on a straight newscast. And it turns out, the only place you can go to get one, at 6 o’clock at night, is Fox.”
That set off some grumbles from the Manhattan audience, prompting Klein and Greenfield to defend reporter Bret Baier’s performance on Fox’s 6 p.m. “Special Report.”
“The other option is to go to MSBNC and see the Reverend Al Sharpton, who I still consider to be a major criminal,” Klein quipped, prompting audience applause. “I mean, the guy can have a job on network TV, on an NBC cable network, and he still hasn’t apologized for Tawana Brawley? Gimme a break.”
Sharpton — now host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” at 6 PM — maintained a very different public persona in 1988, when he promoted black teenager Tawana Brawley’s false and defamatory narrative that she’d been raped by three white males, including a police officer.
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