As you’ve surely heard by now, two GOP convention attendees were ejected from the festivities last night after throwing nuts at a black CNN camera-woman. The words “this is how we feed animals” were uttered.
The incident was first tweeted by David Shuster and confirmed by TPM. The GOP put out a statement condemning the incident as “deplorable,” which is good. CNN put out its own terse statement last night confirming the bare minimum about the affair.
But as my Post colleague Erik Wemple noted last night, the question is whether CNN, which presumably knows all the details about the incident, will treat this as a news story, and report in full detail what happened.
The answer, so far, appears to be No. CNN has since posted a brief item on the incident, but here’s what it does not tell you: The identity of the target of the nut attack or of the alleged nut hurlers. Whoever wrote the CNN item did not say whether it made any attempt to interview the target — or to identify the nut throwers.
As Josh Marshall notes, CNN probably doesn’t want to become part of the story itself. That’s understandable, but this is news. There is no evidence that whoever did this held any position of any significance within the GOP. But Wemple rightly points out that for all we know, the nut hurlers could be elected officials in some capacity. The details may make this story less damaging, rather than more. Either way, they need to come out.
CNN is trying to carve out a position for itself as the last neutral cable channel standing, in a world dominated by increasingly polarized cable coverage of politics, and increasingly polarized coverage of politics in general. Getting into detail about this story would presumably open it up to attack from the right. The last thing the network wants is for its neutrality to be called into question during the GOP convention.
It’s a tough spot for the network, but CNN is a news organization. It’s not in the business of witholding information about newsworthy events. Given the seemingly deplorable nature of this event, and given that it took place on the scene of the biggest story in politics right now, you’d think CNN will eventually err on the side of informing people, rather than the opposite.