Accuracy in Media

CNN anchor Erin Burnett offered no countering voices about failed Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

Burnett set up the piece with a fawning profile of O’Rourke by CNN reporter Tom Foreman, which failed to mention a past arrest for a DUI accident in which police reported that a witness said in that accident that O’Rourke tried to leave the scene of the accident. The CNN report also failed to mention in the age of #MeToo that O’Rourke was forced to apologize for misogynistic comments he made against women.

After Foreman’s piece, Burnett brought on New York Times columnist Frank Bruni to fawn over O’Rourke.

“So is the buzz about Beto — and you know, I got to say, the name helps. when you got a quick little name like that, the name does help. But is this real?” Burnett asked, with no counterweight guest at the table.

“It is real and I’ll tell you why,” Bruni said. “I have interviewed him. I followed him on the campaign trail. He is one of the nimblest and most talented politicians I’ve watched in the decades that I’ve been doing this sort of thing. When you see him interact with voters, do Q&As, when you do an interview with him. He’s deft, he has this ability to pivot from folksy to eloquent. He’s very kind of sensitive to when there’s a ripe viral moment and we’ve seen that, that beautiful moment that went out, his video talking about defending the players who kneel for the national anthem and why that’s so consistent with American values. He’s just got a knack, for that for the social media. And most importantly of all, as these various Democrats kind of come up to the starting gate and decide whether they’re going to run or not, we’re going to start weeding them out based on how much money they can raise because you cannot make a go of this, this go for the democratic presidential nomination, if you can’t raise money. Beto broke records for a Senate race with the money that he raised for the Texas Senate race against Ted Cruz, and there’s no reason to believe he’s not going to be able to do it again.”

Burnett did mention that O’Rourke’s failure to win a statewide election wasn’t the best selling point for higher office, yet she allowed Bruni to falsely spin the narrative that the failure was a positive.

“It’s a good question,” Bruni said. “If you lost your Senate race, how do you then get a promotion to president? But in fact, by losing that senate race, that’s why Beto can run for president. if he’d won that senate race, how does he turn around to Texans and say ‘You just hired me for a six-year job but in year one, I’m going to pay no attention to it and audition for something better.”

While branding herself as a neutral anchor, instead Burnett offered her opinion that O’Rourke’s youth would be an asset against Trump.

“I’m trying to think what the nickname would be. ‘Little Boy Beto?’” Burnett posited. “I don’t know, he’s young compared to Trump. that probably doesn’t help Trump with the comparison. We’ll see.”

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