Former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, recently hired by CNN to be a paid political commentator, can’t stop fabricating facts when he goes on the air. Since making his CNN debut on Sunday, Duffy has lied about the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords. He’s lied about Joe Biden trying to fire a Ukraine prosecutor in order to protect his son. And Duffy’s helped spread the preposterous lie about the Democratic National Committee’s email servers from 2016 somehow ending up in a foreign country.
Sean Duffy, who staked his congressional reputation in recent years on being an undying Trump loyalist, is not a serious person. And Sean Duffy appears to be a habitual liar. (He once claimed George Soros was rigging voting machines, and that Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.) You would think those unfortunate traits would represent two large check marks against someone who wanted to be in the business of commenting on the news.
And yet, here we are.
CNN executives, having surveyed the political landscape in search of new voices to add to its discussions, decided to hire Duffy, which says a lot more about CNN than it does Duffy. What’s newsworthy about Duffy’s hiring is the timing. It just seems odd since much of the press, including CNN, has moved to toughen up Trump coverage in recent weeks and temporarily abandon the hallmark timidity that has defined so much of the reporting and commentary over the last two-plus years.
“The mainstream media seems to have quietly removed its Trump-normalizing gloves in the past few weeks,” wrote Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan,
CNN anchors and commentators have often been part of that change. They have been out front since the Ukraine collusion scandal broke last month, emphasizing that Trump’s pronouncements and denials are almost always wrapped in lies and deceptions. That’s a good thing.
So why now, of all times, would CNN decide to shift into reverse and hire another Trump loyalist who cannot be trusted to be honest or state anything factual each time he appears on air? Why would CNN want to go back to playing the silly and time-consuming game of blocking off lots of airtime so conservative contributors can make stuff up, which CNN anchors then have to point out is, y’know, made up? What does CNN hope to accomplish with this?