Don’t hold your breath — AT&T has signaled it will take a hands-off approach to editorial content — but the first order of business should be a major overhaul over at CNN. Once a real news organization trusted to deliver honest reporting, the pioneering 24-hour news channel has long been since tainted by scandals from admissions about withholding information on Saddam Hussein’s bloody regime to its gratuitous bashing of the Trump administration, with a willingness to grasp at any straw in its Russia obsession.
And when they’re not pushing political narratives at CNN, they’re often trafficking fake news, botching major stories or floating the likes of a “dirty dossier” paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign that even former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress is “unverified and salacious.”
Who can forget three employees having to resign over its retracted story on Russia ties? Or the network falsely reporting that candidate Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr., had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks, only — oops! — it got critical dates wrong.
Total botch job.
Then there’s CNN’s fabricated reporting about former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s alleged meeting with a Russian that never took place. CNN had to apologize and admit it had a “significant breakdown in process.”
Memo to AT&T: It’s not a breakdown when unfounded partisan slams are standard operating procedure.
But it’s no surprise CNN has had a significant breakdown in viewership in recent years, with its ratings in the cellar.
The network has simply alienated viewers with its round the clock “Russian collusion” obsession — when its hosts are not beclowning themselves with hard-hitting analysis of how many scoops of ice cream the president eats.
AT&T also will now own HBO, whose radical late-night host Bill Maher said last Friday he wants America to suffer an economic collapse — a full-blown recession — in order to get rid of Trump. The left wing network dishes out that kind of extremist, crazy talk when its uber liberal host isn’t having to apologize for saying the “N” word.
But AT&T now has the golden opportunity to overhaul its programming — and present fair and balanced news on CNN — based on facts, not political narratives. They can also tell Maher to take a hike.
A failure to clean up those acts will only empower media competitors, including Fox News, who will continue to win the ratings game.
The choice is AT&T’s.