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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

CNN Got It Wrong

posted by on May 20 at 13:10 PM

Before our fearless leader grabbed the network by the horns in this excellent appearance, wouldja believe CNN wrongly reported the gay marriage decision in California? How wrong? Well, see for yourself…

In case you can’t see the video: A news feed read for a “just in” segment says that the court affirmed that gay marriage is illegal in California. Then a legal analyst calls in to discuss the ruling based on faulty information she gets from the anchor.

Three things:

1) Breaking news can be like that. Inaccurate, hazy, hasty. It was a 172-page decision from the court, and making a quick assessment of two-inches of bound legalese on live TV is hard if not impossible.

2) Fucking whatever about point #1. There’s no excuse for CNN to be caught off guard by a potentially groundbreaking ruling that—for the 90 days prior—the court had promised it would release by 10 a.m. that day. If this were a ruling on abortion, gun rights, or OJ Simpson, CNN and every major news network would have had a reporter at the courthouse and a fleet of paralegal stenographers shooting an RSS feed to the news desk.

3) That poor anchor. I feel terrible for him. He was just reading “the feed.” That mistaken, pathetic feed. And of course the legal counsel. Poor gal, she was running with the bullshit he was reading. What a mess. I feel bad for them. But I don’t feel bad for the news producers; I’m kinda pissed at them.

In Los Angeles, an entertainment executive named Scott Seomin—a friend of mine—had flipped on CNN just before 10 a.m. to hear the decision. Because he was sitting on the lot of studio with a satellite bigger than Jeff Stryker’s cock, he could watch every station at once. “We’re flipping channels, and all I see is CNN’s mistake,” say Seomin (who knows how funny his last name is for a big ‘mo). He wasn’t upset only about the coverage on CNN, which his partner who read the ruling said was incorrect, but the lack of coverage elsewhere. The networks were showing The Price Is Right, The View, and the fourth hour of The Today Show. So he called local stations and asked them to run a crawl—that little ticker feed at the bottom of the screen. “They run one every time there’s a little earthquake in Barstow,” he says. At least, he said, “Do a goddamn film at 11.”

Seomin missed Dan Savage on CNN later because he had to go to a Hollywood-y meeting, populated, of course, by a bunch of fags and dykes. Having only seen the CNN coverage, they were all dejected—until Seomin told them CNN was wrong. “The news media was totally unprepared,” he says. And he’s right. CNN should have had Savage on the set at 9:50 a.m., preparing to respond to whatever the news might be. Not calling him on as an afterhought.

RSS icon Comments


Surprising that none of these high-powered media Hollywood people have access to the internets. The possibility of getting incorrect information from CNN goes down dramatically when you STOP LOOKING AT CNN. This wasn't a picture story.

Posted by Fnarf | May 20, 2008 1:19 PM

Is Jeff Stryker still the benchmark here? Because, I'm thinking Mandingo is bigger.

Posted by The Artist Formerly Known As Sigourney Beaver | May 20, 2008 1:26 PM

Oh, wow!

Now Ellen DeGeneres' getting married makes sense, after all!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 20, 2008 1:42 PM

What he says is that the court determined that public officials acted unlawfully by issuing marriage licenses without a judicial determination. He's correct. That is at the beginning of the ruling. He obviously then incorrectly concluded that meant that the court ruled that gay marriage was illegal. He obviously should have read/reported on the rest of the ruling which said that not allowing gay marriage was unconstitutional. The poor legal analyst.

Posted by Andrew | May 20, 2008 1:56 PM

All I know is that NAFTA means you're married if you got married in Canada, so Cali acknowledging gay marriages is mostly a moot (legal) point.

Except you don't have to get married during the Polar Bear Swim in English Bay ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 20, 2008 2:04 PM

re: point 2, last thurs. was not actually the 90th day, the court did not wait the full 90 days to hand down the decision. but it was known when the court's schedule was released earlier in the week that it would come on that day, so i think the point sorta stands. i'm sure cnn can get a competent legal analyst on 1 or 2 days notice. just a technical correction.

Posted by exiled in LA | May 20, 2008 2:13 PM

CNN mostly exists to prove how completely barren of any redeeming value American TV "news" shows have become.

Posted by Greg | May 20, 2008 2:14 PM

I can't believe this isn't a bigger story. Good job Dominic! The Stranger is the only place that has the balls to watch the media and demand that things are reported correctly.

Posted by say what?! | May 20, 2008 2:26 PM

I'm sad that there wasn't a hyperlink on "Jeff Stryker's cock" ... talk about shoddy journalism.

Posted by robo | May 20, 2008 2:34 PM

Jeff Stryker is soooooo 1988...I'd substitute Cam Kurtz; much younger and fresher.

I'm guessing that CNN fucked up, because Anderson Cooper had a sex hangover and came to work late that day...otherwise, I'm sure he would have caught it.

Posted by michael strangeways | May 20, 2008 3:12 PM


What. It was only one of the most landmark legal rulings in CA in decades. With the very real possibility of effecting similar legal rulings in other states in the future. You don't actually expect CNN to get the basic core of the ruling correct, did you? And why would any other show bother to mention it. It only impacts teh gays, right? And it isn't like the court announced days ahead of time exactly what date and time they would be making the announcement or anything... Oh wait.

This is actually one of the reasons I stopped watching TV entirely. I used to be kind of a news junkie, and I'd flip around to all the news stations. But it's all just enfotainment, with a minimum of actual news. I'm still kind of a news junkie, but I seek my news mostly on the internet and NPR now. I haven't watched CNN since the towers fell on 9/11.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | May 20, 2008 4:07 PM

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