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CNN botched its coverage of Joe Rogan’s use of ivermectin as a treatment of COVID-19. CNN saw an opportunity to pounce on Rogan, then recklessly claimed he had taken a horse dewormer pill. After CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, admitted to Rogan that the network’s coverage was irresponsible, it seemed, at least on the outside, CNN would move on. Yet, CNN chose to double down on it and light a back-and-forth with Joe Rogan instead.
After first allowing Don Lemon to defend the network’s coverage of Rogan, CNN next issued an edited statement to the Washington Post. Somehow, CNN’s PR staff is as inept in the communication department as Lemon is. Take a look:
“The heart of this debate has been purposely confused and ultimately lost. It’s never been about livestock versus human dosage of ivermectin. The issue is that a powerful voice in the media, who by example and through his platform, sowed doubt in the proven and approved science of vaccines while promoting the use of an unproven treatment for covid-19 — a drug developed to ward off parasites in farm animals.
“The only thing CNN did wrong here was bruise the ego of a popular podcaster who pushed dangerous conspiracy theories and risked the lives of millions of people in doing so.”
Got that? CNN just bruised Rogan’s ego. Nothing else to see.
Even Washington Post media columnist Erik Wemple, no opponent of the corporate press, said CNN’s response sounded more like “the work of an advocacy group than a journalism outfit.”
Journalists at CNN see the writing on the wall. It’s not that CNN leans well to the left– all networks have a bent — it’s that CNN has pivoted entirely to division. CNN needs a bad guy, a target to amass a following. Insert Joe Rogan.
CNN doubled down as a direction, not an excuse. CNN needs Rogan, the network needs his response. For the first time since Donald Trump, CNN has found a sufficient boogeyman. And while Rogan-focused coverage isn’t translating to TV ratings, it’s bolstering CNN’s digital numbers immensely. Keep in mind, CNN will roll out its OTT service, CNN+, in 2022, a platform reliant on digital interest.
Donald Trump drew viewers to CNN with his criticism of the network. Similarly, each time Rogan responds to CNN on his podcast, he sends his large following to click on CNN’s video clips.
Rogan’s listeners laugh at the foolishness of CNN’s statement. Meanwhile, CNN appreciates the attention.