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Sam Feist and Eliot Spitzer: A tale of two CNNs

This is the price you pay for having someone with Eliot Spitzer's history hosting a weeknight show in the heart of prime time.

When I saw that news that Sam Feist was named chief of CNN's Washington bureau this morning, I decided to write a post about what a wise and wonderful decision this was.

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Wise on the part of CNN management, because Feist knows politics as well as anyone in the country, and he has the respect of some of the finest journalists in the country in the men and women of the CNN Washington bureau. (I interviewed Feist in August for a story on political campaign advertising, and he absolutely nailed the story for me with a dead-on prediction about the role TV advertising would play in October and November.)

Wonderful for citizens and viewers, because as Fox News and MSNBC stumble further down into their ideological rabbit hole darkness, audience members looking for political news they can trust in this election season have a place to go in CNN with Feist leading the political coverage.

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But before I had a chance to write that piece, along came word from TVNewser that CNN had run a piece on political sex scandals and a decision had been made in the editing process to not include the Spitzer saga, one of the more egregiously hypocritical examples of the very pattern the piece was trying to report. Read it here.

What a shame that CNN is willing to compromise itself this way for the least trusted man on 24/7 cable TV news. And I could understand it in a cynical sense if he had decent ratings.

Either way, as much as I admire Feist and the folks who promoted him today, I am not going to tell any reader to trust CNN when it comes to politics -- not when they make the kind of decisions they made with the Spitzer story today.

When the possibility  of Spitzer was first floated, I wrote several times that hiring him would strike at the very core of CNN's credibility -- and credibility is the one all-important area in which CNN towers over Fox News and MSNBC.

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