Column: Ari Fleischer Book Exposes Media Suppression, Deception, Snobbery & Bias

Ari Fleischer, my press secretary in 2001/2002 was part of the White House press corps. His demeanour was unflappable and he was very mild-mannered for George W. Bush. However, he said that the reporter were back then less aggressive.

Fleischer published a new book entitled, “The Aggression of the Animals”. Suppression, Deception, Snobbery, and Bias: Why the Press Gets So Much Wrong – And Just Doesn’t Care. That sounds harsh, but if they cared, wouldn’t they try to fix their fact-mangling tilt? The lack of interest has been all they have.

CNN is the chapter I love most. Fleischer notes he was a contributor there from 2011 to 2013, when it seemed a little more like “straight” news – at least in comparison to its incessant attacks on everything relating to Donald Trump.

Even personnel decisions demonstrated how deeply CNN loathed Trump. In 2019, when they announced the hiring of Sarah Isgur, who had served in Trump’s Justice Department, as a political editor, there was a nasty internal freakout. The woman had never worked in journalism. The Daily Beast reported CNN employees were “upset and confused” that CNN would hire a “partisan political operative.” Brian Stelter reported employees questioned it as an “ethical breach.” CNN backed down, and named Isgur a CNN analyst, not a political editor.

Fleischer points out there was no such freakout when CNN announced on January 19, 2017 that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett’s daughter Laura was joining CNN as a Justice Department reporter – with no journalism experience. She’s now a morning anchor.

James Gagliano (ex-FBI man) was also hired by CNN in 2017. He appeared on CNN to criticize the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Fleischer was told by him that he was very critical of Trump’s conduct during the Mueller probe. However, his views changed after new evidence revealed overt partisanship among FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. After the Justice Department’s Inspector General called out this behavior, Gagliano thought “I’ve got to take a position and criticize the FBI here. This is the truth. Once I started doing that, I got moved off those issues.”

Suddenly, Gagliano was mostly analyzing crime stories on CNN’s Headline News channel. Gagliano was replaced by Josh Campbell who came straight from CNN’s public relations office and continued to sound like a Comey PR agent. CNN made Campbell a reporter and not an analyst. Andrew McCabe joined CNN also as a contributor, even though he was caught lying to investigators regarding his leaks.

Gagliano was on CNN’s bench and expressed his views on Twitter. He liked Drew Brees, the NFL quarterback, standing for the National Anthem. According to him, Rebecca Kutler from CNN called Gagliano to inform him that he should get off the CNN bench. “Your job at CNN is to be a law enforcement analyst.” He said he replied “But you don’t use me” and pointed out the opinionated anti-Trump tweets from other CNN personalities. Kutler shot back “You need to watch your social media.”

Gagliano was grateful for his CNN tenure, but concluded the lesson was “If you bash Trump, you can be political….if you dare push back the other way, you’re just not going to get airtime.”

Fleischer insists the American people deserve a media that won’t engage in suppression of news it hates and deception in overselling stories it loves. The people who aren’t as liberal as the press deserve respect, not snobbery. They deserve it, but it’s unlikely they’ll get it.

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