David Zurawik

Former CNN executive David Bohrman says he's been longtime liberal

After having written numerous pieces in recent years arguing how crucial it is to have a 24/7 cable news channel that presents fact-based journalism without a a bias to the right or the left, I have to admit I am troubled by the admission from David Bohrman, the longtime chief of CNN's political coverage, who acknowledged his liberal beliefs in an interview with Howie Kurtz on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday.

I am troubled because my argument has often cited CNN as a channel viewers can trust to give them reliable information that they can use to make educated choices in their lives. I have especially argued this case as I denounced the ideological excesses of Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left.


And now after Bohrman, who had been kicked upstairs at CNN in recent months, finds a job as president of Current TV, the channel half-owned by Al Gore that is re-building itself around Keith Olbermann, he admits he's always been a liberal who feels like he has now "somewhat outed" himself.

Is there anyone left who believes in the higher calling of the news business -- namely that there can be no real democracy without impartial, trustworthy information being provided to citizens? Is there no one who believes that dedicating your career to that might be a good and worthwhile effort?


It is late on a Sunday night, and I have been thinking about Bohrman's words all day. I am not going to go crazy about this. But I do feel let down by him in some way tonight, because I did believe in the news operation he helped build in that Washington bureau at CNN.

And now, Bohrman can walk across the street and go to work with a hardcore ideologue like Olbermann and a Democratic Party partisan like Gore, and try to spin this line about how he is somehow doing God's work by being a "counterpoint" to Fox News. Please.

I swear to God, I thought my head was going to explode when I heard Bohrman try to put that spin on it. I planned to hold my powder and not pre-judge. Out of respect for Bohrman, I had decided to wait until I saw some of Bohrman's work at Current TV, particularly his election 2012 coverage, before writing anything beyond the news story of his appointment.

But he has already acknowledged that he will be operating as an ideologue finally able to openly practice his own beliefs in the TV shows he produces for Current.

Maybe he and Olbermann deserve each other.

And by the way, his talk in this video about how well the channel is doing is absolute hype. Of course, it is doing better than it was before Olbermann. It would be impossible to do worse than an average audience of 23,000 viewers an hour for any national channel. But Olbermann and the channel have failed to change the dynamics of 24/7 cable news prime-time viewing even a little.

Here's the video.