CNN should retake media ethics 101

On Nov. 28, CNN and YouTube hosted a debate between the Republican candidates, who were asked various questions by YouTube users.

However, it turns out some of these candidates had a hidden agenda. According to CNN, its staff went through around 5,000 submissions and at least eight (out of 40) of the video questioners had varying degrees of allegiance or ties to Democratic presidential candidates.

This comes after Hillary Clinton was accused of having planted questions in a previous campaign event.

One can make the case that anyone had the right to record a question on YouTube and submit it, but it seems suspicious that one-fifth of the questions were chosen by liberal CNN and were linked to Democratic causes.

Here is some information about some of the YouTube clips gathered by National Review Online:

Keith H. Kerr, the retired brigadier general, is on Hillary Clinton’s gay and lesbian steering committee.

The young woman who asked about jailing women who get abortions has said on her YouTube profile page that she backs John Edwards.

The “Log Cabin Republican” has written on the Web about why he supports Barack Obama.

The guy who asked Ron Paul if he would run as an independent also asked a question at the Democratic debate and has told reporters that he “like(s) Bill Richardson.”

The mom who asked about toys with lead paint from China is an assistant to the American Steel Workers Union, which has endorsed Edwards.

The young man who asked about corn subsidies interned for Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman in 2004.

The guy who asked about Social Security reform “is working with a member of (Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick) Durbin’s staff, helping him develop his proposal to submit to the Congressional Budget Office.”

The guy who asked why Republicans can’t attract more African-American voters has made satirical YouTube videos about “the blind black Republican” and rather laudatory videos attending an Edwards event.

If one or two questions had been linked to the Democrats, that’s one thing, yet eight questions were obviously deliberate plants.

If CNN wanted to ask pointed questions they could have simply held a regular debate, in which the media asked the candidates questions.

However, CNN chose to claim that the questions were from the American people and were not selected because they represented the views of CNN. CNN deliberately chose to ask pointed questions and violated the tenets of journalistic ethics and objectivity. Journalism ethics is a course offered at many colleges. Maybe it’s time for CNN to go back to school.

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