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Why do conservatives but not progressives get to question candidates?

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CNN is hosting the next Democratic presidential debates on July 30 and 31, but the AT&T Warner-owned network has announced no plans to include a progressive journalist on the panel of questioners. This contrasts with CNN’s Republican debates of 2015-16 in which unabashed conservatives were included to question candidates and thus influence the substance and tenor of the debate.

Click here to tell CNN that this double-standard is unacceptable.

In all four GOP presidential debates last cycle, right-wing Salem Radio host Hugh Hewitt was part of CNN’s panel. His questions strayed far from those asked by mainstream “objective” journalists – for example, pushing candidates on whether they’d “nominate conservative justices” committed to “religious liberty” as “an absolute litmus test.” Or when Hewitt goaded candidates to not “stay neutral” between Israel and Palestinians. Or when he bizarrely pushed a candidate to be as “ruthless as Churchill” in ordering air strikes that would kill “thousands of innocent children and civilians.”

Please urge CNN to quickly add a strong progressive to its debate panel.

An unapologetic progressive journalist would widen the debate by asking questions of Democratic candidates that CNN journalists will likely not ask – questions reflecting the concerns of Democratic voters and activists. Four years ago, CNN’s first GOP debate offered three panelists: CNN anchor Jake Tapper, CNN correspondent Dana Bash, and rightwinger Hewitt. In its March 2016 GOP debate, CNN offered four panelists: two CNN journalists (Tapper and Bash) and two conservatives: Hewitt and Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times.

But for its upcoming Democratic debates this month, CNN is proposing a narrow panel of three of its own journalists: Tapper, Bash, and anchor Don Lemon.

Click here to sign a petition urging CNN to broaden its Democratic debate panel, and end the double-standard by which rightwingers question Republican candidates but leftwingers are not invited to question Democrats.

As the media watch group FAIR recently suggested to CNN: “Any number of progressive media outlets could provide qualified journalists” – including Democracy Now!, The Nation, and The Intercept. Such journalists would be more sober than Hugh Hewitt, and would offer a needed complement to Tapper, Bash and Lemon.

Sign now to let CNN know that broadening the panel of questioners would serve its viewers and democracy.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

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-- The RootsAction Education Fund Team

FAIR:  “CNN Should Treat Left and Right Alike in Presidential Debates.” 


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