Josh Marshall walks right up to the line of going Full Beltway on us by issuing a near apologia on CNN's behalf. The camerawoman-peanuts story "puts CNN in an exquisitely awkward position," writes Marshall, since "There’s a normal and correct tendency for a news outfit not to want to make itself into the story."
Marshall then acknowledges that "this goes way beyond that," though, because of CNN's market-maneuvering into the middle. The network cannot now afford to offend either partisan side, otherwise its careful positioning collapses.
All of this is offered in the way of an explanation, but it comes across (it did to me, anyway) as at least approaching the sympathetic: CNN's position is exquisitely awkward.
No, it isn't. It is, rather, deeply non-journalistic.
No network news executive should be in the business of news as a meticulously balanced ideological scorecard. Yet when CNN decided to play the middle, it didn't just box itself in--it cut itself out of much of the real news, such as the sick, soul-eaten corruption of today's Republican Party, and now a huge story concerning itself.
Fox News may be a screaming whore and MSNBC a higher-priced escort, but at least they make little pretense for what they are. CNN? It's more like a moralizing Molièrean hypocrite. And there's no excuse for that--nothing even close.
Andrew Sullivan expatiated on CNN with greater economy than Marshall:
CNN sucks ... because this awful notion of balance - which requires journalists to be lobotomized when assessing reality - is "on-brand."
Good place for a final period.