CNN makes journalist crazier

By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views  

Benin in the heart of West Africa on a two week business trip. There are worse places to be. The people are friendly and anxious to please. The food is excellent thanks in part to the positive influence from being a former colony of France.

Health conditions could be better with six separate vaccinations and shots necessary to visit Benin.  It is good to know one is not to come down with Yellow or Typhoid Fevers. However, Polio, Cholera, Zeta, and Tuberculosis can still be found when one ventures out of Cotinou city limits. To lesson stomach ailments, it is recommended to drink only bottled water, fruit juices, and beer. I obeyed these edicts and was healthy during my stay.

The only material thing missing from this country, which reminds one of Tijuana 35 years ago, is the news media.  All of the papers are printed in French. There are two TV stations which show old movies in English. This left me with CNN for my connection to the outside world.

Left with Entertainment Tonight circa 2015 or Anderson Cooper for entertainment, CNN came in slightly ahead. After listening to this station for several minutes, I regretted having done so poorly in school taking French I on three separate occasions during my academic career.

In a word CNN is “pathetic” They are totally obsessed with hatred of President Donald Trump.  They do little to hide this. Rumor is made to sound like fact. Conjecture is confused with truth. Journalism ethics and objectivity are right out the window with enthusiasm similar to the Blues Brothers being on a mission from God.

At one point when they were discussing the so called Russian Crisis, I counted 14 occasions in less than an hour when CNN was dishing Donald Trump.  This count might have been a bit low because at that time jet lag caused me to drift in and out a bit.

In retrospect, trashing Trump on the so called Russia Scandal was light weight stuff compared to the vitriolic coverage a couple days later of the clash between White Supremist’s and Left Wing Anarchists in Charlottesville Virginia.

CNN did little to hide their rage.  The President was responsible for all of this by unanimous decree by the news stations panels of experts. Sure enough, according to these pundits, little difference can be found between the White Supremists, the KKK and Republicans.  For proof it was mentioned that Donald Trump did not mention the former KKK Wizard by name in criticizing the Nazis sympathizes. CNN was trying to tell viewers that there version of political correctness was the only proper way to react to what transpired in Charlottesville.

In defense of Donald Trump, it could be argued that in condemning the racism and prejudice exhibited during the demonstrations, he did not care to give free publicity by mentioning David Duke and some his Nazis buddies by name.  Why give these jerks publicity, the President apparently reasoned.

After the incident of a vehicle running over pedestrians during the riots, Trump declined to name those who were responsible for this tragedy.  He did not want to make the same mistake that his predecessor Barak Obama did in Fergusson Missouri when criticized the police for killing an innocent man. When it was later proven “Hands up don’t shoot” was proven to be a hoax, the CNN’s of the world never apologized for originally misreporting the incident.

Not to be forgotten is that the President might have had better things to do than comment on CNN’s outrage on an hourly basis. No matter. Over a week later the cable TV station is airing almost nonstop coverage of Charlottesville to the exclusion of just about everything else going on in the world.

After days of listening to Trump haters not even pretending to be objective, I actually missed the fairness exhibited by former CNN Reporter and Juan Williams who is presently working as liberal political commentator on rival Fox News. How sad.

Despite my disgust of CNN’s biased coverage of what amounted to a clash between skin heads and commies, it was a welcome relief to the endless coverage of the Russian conspiracy to  elect Donald Trump coverage since the inauguration which was put on hiatus by the progressive news media.

Despite this 24/7 coverage, no one where I was in Benin cared much about Donald Trump, fake news,  Putin, Charlottesville, or any of the topics that the American media was obsessed with. Instead the people were more interested in their new national government which appears to be less corrupt than previous ones or what goes on for democracy in next store neighbor Nigeria.

Unlike the United States where alleged hate crimes, cap and trade, transgender rights, and identity politics, swallow the headlines, Benin has more important fish to fry than these abstract topics.  Although most adults process cell phones, the general topics of conversation of the man on the street revolve around what Adam Smith referred to the struggle for food, shelter and clothing.

There is not enough of any of these things for this poor country of over 10 million residents; but no one seems to be complaining. Racial tensions are much less than in the States. Diversity and equal opportunity is being lived rather than being talked about by faceless politicians.

Unlike the United States inner cities such as Chicago, Oakland, and Baltimore, crime is relatively low in Benin. Police presence is minimal. Very few guns can be found. For armed robberies, knives and machetes are the preferred weapons. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of hopelessness found in the States,

Given the poverty level economic conditions that exist in this tiny West African Republic, how can this be?  The answer is very simple.  In Cotinou. Close family life along with the presence of a strong Catholic Church leads to relative harmony. Christens and Moslems  live side by side with a minimal amount of acrimony, compared with what goes on in the rest of world.

How can it be that these people can live in peace without diversity training, frequent opinion polls, global warming concerns, or if three out of four experts are certain about any one topic?  The answer is simple.  These are good people who are not strung out with materialism and guilt, who don’t require anti depressants and mood elevators to get by in their world,

While after two weeks in Benin, I was happy to return to civilization in the United States, However, what was witnessed there gave me a new perspective on American life these days.   It made me realize our politics, news media, and social values, are way out of line with what has made our country great in the past..

Being away from American culture except listening to CNN gives pause for thought. It reminded me about the advice given by Joni Mitchell many moons ago at Woodstock, “We are Stardust, we are Golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”

Anderson Cooper Eye Roll CNN Screenshot PhillyVoice

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

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