There was a Museum of Broadcasting in New York City, but there's never been a Museum of Broadcasting Shamelessness. Imagine a place where they could run a medley of clips of Dan Rather insisting that, despite the small problem of his reporting on phony National Guard documents, "the underlying story is true."
An obvious entry in the Shamelessness Museum emerged about one minute after Joe Biden made his "victory speech" on the night of Nov. 7. CNN tweeted out a new commercial in which it creepily echoed Biden's sentiments that we must all come together and break out the Cokes and sing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" or something.
A female narrator mourned in the commercial that "our trust has been broken — in our leaders, in our institutions, even with some of our friends. And we are hurting. Now, more than ever, we need each other — to listen, to learn from one another, to rebuild those bonds."
Does anyone think CNN hasn't been ripping apart our leaders and our institutions for four years? The announcer added: "trust shows that we believe in the good in each other. It's what makes us human. And when we trust one another, that is when we can truly achieve great things."
If you thought this would lead to an abrupt switch in CNN's daily product from hourly rage to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," you would be sadly, badly mistaken. Instead, shameless CNN is running this unity-goo-goo advertisement in between its usual Trump Hater thunderbolts.
Anderson Cooper is pictured in the ad, but two days after Biden declared victory, Cooper was furious that Trump hadn't conceded. He complained to old Obama strategist David Axelrod: "In the mid-90s — I think it was like '96 — I was in Kinshasa, in the waning days of Mobutu. And Mobutu was, you know, a pretty awful dictator. And when he finally fled the country and the rebels were moving to take the capital, his son drove around in a pickup truck with a machine gun and settling scores with people he felt had not been supportive enough with Mobutu."
So, President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are somehow comparable to a tyrant and his son on a mobile, murderous rampage. Cooper added: "Thankfully, it hasn't come to that here, but I can't believe we're in a situation where, you know, a transfer of power is not — I can't believe we are in this situation here. It just seems so petty."
Anderson Cooper has cornered the market on pettiness. This came after he strangely apologized for comparing the president to "an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun." This showed his capacity for insincerity.
But this kind of inflammatory fare just keeps churning on CNN. Morning anchor John Berman carped on Nov. 9 that the Republicans were still enabling Trump: "They're treating him like a petulant child....They hope he wears himself out." The next day, Berman complained that the GOP wasn't accepting Biden's call for unity: "The response from the outgoing president? No. The response from the administration? Hell no. The response from Republican leaders in Congress? F no."
CNN should expect hostility toward the call for unity, because hyperbolic abuse has come out of the network for years. There will be no unity, because there is not one ounce of regret from CNN. You cannot spend four years with people such as Don Lemon denouncing Trump fans as "people who will lie, steal and cheat, lie to their own mother, lie to themselves" and expect unity. CNN's own continued abuse in between the "unity" commercials should underline why their Xeroxed Biden message is preposterous.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.