You’ve spoiled me, CNN. Having delivered breaking news in place of the morning paper all these years, waking up and going to sleep to the likes of Anderson, Erin, Don and Wolf, I’ve grown accustomed to a refreshingly high standard of TV journalism (I’ve also been honored to be a guest on CNN numerous times over the years). Monday night’s spontaneous Election Special with all 5 remaining candidates is yet another example of CNN’s standard of excellence. But not the next morning.
Your decision to go “split screen” during one of the most historic and inspirational speeches of our lifetime by President Obama in Cuba with cell phone video “coverage” of children screaming near dead bodies in Belgium after a terror attack was a grave error in judgment.
The President’s speech was everything a world in turmoil, divided nation and children living in fear of terrorism need to see and hear about how, in practice, to overcome differences, find common ground, show respect and move forward together. By speaking human to human (humanizing) rather than ideology to ideology (politicizing), the President was able to break through multi-generational barriers of fear, anger, distrust and hatred, put our differences in perspective and shine the light on a future that could benefit all. This was a lesson in civility, courage and the art of achieving peace.
CNN’s decision to split the screen and then, after the President’s speech concluded, turn exclusively without one word of follow up, to “horror shots” in Belgium, sends viewers the subliminal message, “We at CNN chose to feed you the gore of war over the nobility of peace.” As fans of CNN, we are left to wonder, “Will CNN continue to feed public hunger for violence because it’s what keeps folks glued to their TV’s. Or take the high road?”
Please consider rebroadcasting President Obama’s groundbreaking speech in it’s elegant entirety later today. The world and our nation are in desperate need of his message of peace and reconciliation. Encouraging our nation to “rubberneck,” by showing repeated footage of the mayhem in Belgium, sends a message of fear and hatred into the airwaves. We’re at once re-traumatized and desensitized. By prioritizing and deconstructing the good things that happened in our world today, like the President’s speech in Cuba, CNN can help us and our children awaken and fall sleep to the empowering messages of hope and healing.
Let us keep those in Belgium and around the world who suffer the unspeakable grief of terrorism close to our hearts today. And honor those lost by doing whatever we can to build and fortify the bridges of understanding, respect, forgiveness and cooperation that bring peace.