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CNN risks viewer trust in naming Spitzer co-host

CNN is going to do it. The cable channel that said it wasn't in the business of airing shows involving an ideological debate premise is launching one this fall. And it will feature Eliot Spitzer as a co-host, the former New York governor who resigned after his relationships with prostitutes and attempts to cover up the evidence of those liaisons were revealed.

This might be where I ultimately get off the train of unqualified support for CNN as the last best hope of a full-service, US-based, global news network dedicated to fact-based information and balanced analysis. Forgive me if I am not feeling too good about this "news," given the countless times in the last few years that I have been a stalwart supporter of CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein's call for a channel dedicated to a "down the middle" presentation of news and analysis.

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I'll hold off pre-judging and screaming bloody murder until I see the show on-air, but as I said in a previous post, I don't know how any channel committed to journalistic integrity makes a host out of a guy who betrayed the public's trust by his actions and then tried to cover it up by manipulating the very records of his deception. Forgive me again, but that feels like the Richard Nixon School of Ethics to me.

When you no longer have the credibility to be governor of New York, you might wonder what's left. The new answer: A co-hosting job on CNN. Remember the old Democratic campaign posters that showed Nixon with a cutline that said: Would you buy a used car from this man? Well, maybe Fox or MSNBC can put one out this fall with Spitzer on it that says: Would you trust this man for your news and analysis? Sorry, but this is the very sort of thing that undermines the credibility of every hard-working journalist in cable news -- and CNN has lots of them.

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Here's part of the CNN release, you read the way the cable channel is trying to spin it yourself and judge:

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