CNN’s Wolf Blitzer’s Shocking Journalistic Unprofessionalism
Richard E. Vatz
Ever since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for President, and throughout his presidency, Wolf Blitzer has been increasingly embarrassing in his agenda-spin work on CNN.
This has been quite disappointing to those of us who once saw him as an exception to CNN’s yellow journalism, but now we have one less exception.
Blitzer has abjured serious moderating of his “Situation Room” over the last 20 months or so. He often refers to the president’s rhetoric as “outrageous,” rather than “provocative” or “controversial.” When he has Trump-despising California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff as a guest, Blitzer routinely responds to Schiff’s anti-Trump observations with “That’s a good point,” “That is certainly what it appears to be,” and other reaffirming and supportive responses. When interviewing the smaller number of Trump-supporting politicians or experts, he regularly interrupts them and presses his own spin.
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Six days before Trump was to meet with Kim Jung-Un and on a day wherein the Dow was up 346 points, the “Situation Room” devoted the entire 6:00-6:30 primetime news period to the Stormy Daniels affair.
Last night (July 11, 2018) 3may have been the apotheosis of Wolf Blitzer’s anti-Trump spin-driven newscast: the guest was the German ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber. Repeatedly, Blitzer hammered her on her unwillingness to severely criticize Trump for his irresponsible “rhetoric” at the meeting of the NATO allies, a meeting of which the ambassador reiterated and reiterated her opinion that the disputes were unimportant since so much was accomplished on solving disputes and reestablishing all NATO countries’, including the United States’, support of the North American and European military alliance.
But you must be “irritated,” Blitzer interrupted. When Ms. Haber again pointed out that one must look at all that has been achieved, Blitzer became exasperated. He then wonders aloud if this at least means that Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
One needn’t point out Jim Accosta’s contribution to CNN’s lack of journalistic integrity; one anticipates nothing different. But Wolf Blitzer, a brilliant newsman, has lost all respect of serious news observers.
One has to wonder why he has not lost his self respect.
Prof. Vatz is professor of political communication at Towson University and author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (McGraw-Hill, 2017) and the co-editor of Thomas S. Szasz: the Man and His Ideas (Transaction Publishers, 2017).