CNN's headquarters in Atlanta in May 2011. (iStock)
Media critic

On Friday morning, CNN had no major developments in the Russia probe to chew on. No dramatic White House resignation. No national disaster, no poop cruise, no deus ex machina.

So why not plow ahead with some mindless political analysis, courtesy of host S.E. Cupp.

During a chat with morning anchor Poppy Harlow, Cupp examined The Post’s scoop that the White House pushed the immigration bureaucracy to release detainees into the so-called “sanctuary cities” as a means of revenge against Trump detractors such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. No, came the answer from immigration officials.

Asked about all that, Cupp placed the proposal in the arena of optics: “This administration has done a politics of PR, whether it’s a North Korean summit, that was never meant to really go anywhere. Or even a border wall — a lot of people don’t think that’s a real policy solution, it’s more of a PR stunt,” she said, also noting that the proposal smacks of “revenge.”

Harlow noted that the idea was problematic considering that Trump himself has blasted sanctuary cities as being dangerous places — such that releasing detainees in such places, to extend Trump’s logic, would render them more dangerous. “All PR,” said Cupp, who also commented that Republicans wouldn’t have to defend the plan because it hasn’t panned out. Of course, she said that before Trump tweeted this:

We’ve seen this act on television all the time, though more often on Fox News, where the idea is to minimize and dismiss the horror of Trump governance. The “PR” angle enunciated by Cupp is actually spin, in that the detainee proposal Cupp is presenting as mere politics, in fact, represents an attempt to transform the professional bureaucracy into a partisan tool.

All of the foregoing qualified as a warmup for the “political analysis” that came next. Moving to the 2020 presidential campaign, Harlow asked Cupp about Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate from El Paso who has border credibility. Could he counter the Republicans? Cupp responded:

So there’s this divide in the Democratic Party — are we going to sort of traffic in fear — anti-Trump — or are we going to be hopeful and optimistic. I think he’s trying to be the latter — the hopeful, optimistic always-smiling candidate of the future, but he still really wants to go to some of the policies that progressives are pushing him toward. That’s a hard thing because the progressive far-left policies are in some ways fear-based. They rely on a fear about climate change and um, you know, anti-amnesty Republicans.

Let’s see: Climate change is pushing up sea levels and flooding coastal communities, in some cases poisoning farmland; destroying marine habitats; decimating Rocky Mountain forests; intensifying wildfires; propagating more damaging weather events; producing more grueling heat waves; and so on.

Perhaps that’s an appropriate threat to fear? We’re not quite sure how to square Cupp’s fear-climate change talking point with her opinion piece last November on the topic: “Republicans can continue to protest reality and stick their heads in the sand, but the sooner they acknowledge the very basic facts of climate change, the sooner they can get to crafting a conservative strategy to combat it, instead of ceding the territory solely to Democrats,” she wrote in the New York Daily News.

As for this apparent “fear” of “anti-amnesty Republicans,” the Erik Wemple Blog can’t comment, if only because we have no idea what she was talking about.

Stultifying political chatter might be understandable if CNN had nothing else to cover. But the network has nearly 3,000 employees and “36 editorial operations” worldwide. Just hop on, and look at all the international, political, business, travel and entertainment stories that the network is already covering. It’s all about choices.

Read more:

Karen Tumulty: The Trump White House sets a new standard for cynicism and callousness

Jennifer Rubin: A new low: Trump tried to use migrants as cannon fodder against Democrats

Erik Wemple: Remember, cable news: Trump is a liar. Act accordingly.