Accuracy in Media

CNN took to not only politicizing the recent school shooting in Colorado but doing so with a melodramatic new gimmick.

Brooke Baldwin simply emoted into the camera as images flashed behind her on a screen.

First, you see Baldwin at her desk at CNN. Then, you see the inside of a classroom where students are discussing the incident. “I’m afraid that one day I’ll go to school and I’ll never come out,” one grieving student sobs. “What actions will you take to protect people like me and my classmates from this happening?”

Then we see Baldwin again, hands folded in her lap, glaring angrily at the camera. A screen beside her reads: “35 U.S. School Shootings Since the Fall.” Then “336 school shootings since 2008.” Then “373,663 killed by gun violence from 2007-2017.” Then, “If words aren’t changing anything … what about these images?”

We then see crowds of parents at the school, some talking on cell phones. Soon, it reads on the screen: “Parents waiting to hear their child’s name called … “Or not,” read the next screen.

Then, we see an image of a first responder with a crying boy too young to have been in the school where the attack took place. Then, an image of buses and school officials, with kids walking toward them with their hands above their hands.

“Children with their hands up,” reads the message. “ … At school.”

Then, we see a frame of kids on a sidewalk with teachers and school officials checking them and their hands still on their heads. “Or clenched … to pray,” the screen reads.

The shot then returns to Baldwin sitting at her desk, her hands unmoved, her gaze still fixed on the camera. The screen behind her reads, “If this isn’t a crisis now … … when will it be?”

Then another frame says, “Enough.”

Then the scene returns to the school, where a mom is saying, “It’s the worst phone call or text message that you could ever get.” Then, there is a mom with her daughter talking to a dad with his daughter. The mom recounts that her daughter called and said, “Mom, I love you.” And she responded, “What’s going on?” And the daughter had told her, “This … it’s not a drill. It’s real lockdown, Mom. There’s a shooting.”

Then, a boy is shown. “Not knowing if we would make it out,” he says, trembling.

Then, another woman is shown being interviewed. “After everything that happened at Columbine,” she says crying and upset. “And all the suffering that’s happened. And now it’s happening to us. You never think that this would be the reality.”

Then we see a father find his son in the crowd and embrace.

Finally, the camera returns to Baldwin, who pauses for another moment of dramatic effect, then says, “Those voices … those images … are from Highlands Ranch, Colo., where … “ She lets out a deep and affected sigh and closes her eyes, then regains her footing and says, “where authorities are investigating a school shooting. One student was killed. Eight others were injured. It happened at the STEM School-Highlands Ranch … it’s a public charter school. It’s in a suburb. It is … seven miles from Columbine High School.”

It then flashes to the local sheriff who says he has the suspects in custody … one of whom they thought was a male but have since learned is a female. He updates the medical condition of the students.

Perhaps it is time for such desperate measures at CNN. Ratings for its prime-time lineup in April were 26 percent lower than in April 2018 with a total prime time audience of 767,000. By comparison, MSNBC drew 1.66 million and Fox drew 2.395 million.

It was CNN’s worst month for total viewers in nearly four years and the worst month ever for CNN’s Cuomo Primetime.


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