CNN Is Once Again Being Very Dishonest About Senate Republicans

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

While it shouldn’t surprise us that the so-called “most trusted news source” in America is being dishonest when it comes to Republicans, sometimes it’s startling to see how just how willing they are to frame some people in the worst light possible for both clicks and agenda.

This tweet, from the CNN Politics account on Twitter, sets up the framing against McConnell and Senate Republicans as dirty obstructionists.

But, the tweet doesn’t stand up to both common sense, logical conclusions, and, frankly, journalistic integrity. The story doesn’t match the framing, and yet it also makes things even less clear.

Senate Republican leaders threatened on Monday to block a vote later this week advancing the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the negotiators strike a deal on it.

Right at the beginning, the story falls apart. How can the Republicans threaten to block something that hasn’t been written yet?

“We need to see the bill before voting to go to it,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I think that’s pretty easily understood.”

And now it gets even murkier. CNN claims Republicans are threatening to block a bipartisan bill, but it hasn’t been written yet, and their opening quote is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking to… read it? What?

Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota told reporters Monday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is making a major mistake if he moves ahead with a key test vote on the plan.
“I can’t say we will have every Republican, but he is not going to get 60,” Thune warned.
Schumer, a Democrat from New York, set up a test vote for Wednesday on the legislation, which doesn’t exist yet, in order to spur the Republican and Democratic negotiators to write it. Schumer said on Monday that if the senators don’t draft it by Thursday, he will offer a bill consisting of relatively noncontroversial provisions, so the Senate can start debate on a key priority for the Biden administration.

So, Thune is saying Republicans won’t support a bill Schumer is blindly throwing up Wednesday if the bipartisan bill isn’t written. McConnell is saying they aren’t going to vote on what is essentially a shell of a bill in order to get cloture on the infrastructure plan before it is even written.

That makes the framing deeply dishonest, and that is coupled with holding off detailing Schumer’s plan in the story until after the Republicans are established as simply obstructionist.

Schumer’s plan is one that comes from a place of impatience and powerlessness. He wants to make it appear like he’s in control, so he’s making threats and forcing votes on things that aren’t ready in order to try and scare the Republicans into moving along.

CNN
AP Photo/Ron Harris

The dishonesty from CNN here is that there is no deal to object to yet. McConnell is objecting to forcing a vote before a bill is written, Thune is objecting to Schumer’s plan to do just that, and the Republicans are standing up to this very weak threat from Schumer. This isn’t obstructionism. It’s really just common sense.

But, CNN has to frame it as though the Republicans are just being thick-headed, partisan jerks for daring to want to actually see the bill before they’re forced to vote on it. That is media bias. You know exactly how this story is written if the roles were reversed. The lede itself would portray the Democrats as heroes.

Democrats are standing firm against a last-ditch Republican effort to force a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that is still in negotiations.

And they would be right in framing it that way because that is actually what’s happening here. But in the story we actually have now, you have to go through three paragraphs of Republicans objecting before getting to Schumer’s plan, which is just ridiculous.

It gets worse when you consider that Democrats just spent the last several years filibustering and objecting to a lot of Republican and bipartisan plans, including COVID-19 relief, simply because of partisan politics and who might benefit from them. That the Republicans would object to voting for a bill that hasn’t been written yet is actually understandable.

Voting to obstruct COVID-19 relief because it might have benefitted Donald Trump’s re-election efforts was insanely more irresponsible, and CNN never really said much on that, did they?

This framing is anathema to what CNN claims to be. They are not objective news sources. They are partisan actors, and they have stopped hiding it. It’s unreal that anyone who calls themselves a journalist would be this dishonest, but that’s the world we live in. Is it any wonder that CNN has lost so many viewers and readers?