CNN Pushes ‘Facts First’ with an Apple

It’s an apple, not a banana.

That’s what CNN is telling viewers in its new ad, “This is an apple,” which most likely is in response to President Trump’s repeated criticism of the cable news network as fake news.

The ad is getting lots of traction and national news coverage. For those who have not seen it, a graphic of an apple appears with the voice over: “This is an apple. They might scream banana, banana, banana, over and over again … but it’s not.” You get the point.

Interestingly enough CNN is having a good year despite repeated criticisms, beating MSNBC in total day for 40 straight months among adults ages 25-54, but still failing short to rival Fox News.

So, is the president helping CNN?

Controversy and conflict are main drivers of news, even when the news, well, is the “news.” All the hoopla around “fake news” is propelling people to watch, and news organizations like CNN to act.

The stakes are high. According to the 2017 Global Social Journalism Study, 51 percent of reporters feel that fake news is a serious problem in their area of journalism.

But if statements are made over and over again, even they are not true; does it actually become true, fostering doubt among reputable news organizations?

Maybe. A global survey from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that only 38 percent of U.S. adults trust the news they consume. Pew also reports that Americans are divided along political lines when it comes to trusting media, and that only 28 percent of U.S. adults say general news outlets get the facts right about science almost always or more than half of the time.

Media have a credibility problem. But so does the president, with 65 percent of voters saying Mr. Trump is not trustworthy, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.

Americans may never fully trust the media, and President Trump for that matter. CNN’s “Facts First” ad campaign is helping quell innuendo and improve reputations. Either way, trust is essential to effective government relations and media reporting on the country’s affairs.

Stories need angles, however, even if they contradict a point of view or collective opinion. That’s what makes news interesting. And given the country’s deeply divided electorate, trust may be more aspirational than reality.

Why Can’t We Stop Talking About Donald Trump?

No time in recent American history has one president been regularly talked about online, in the press or at the proverbial water cooler as much as Donald Trump.

One thing for certain is Donald Trump knows how to make news, which usually is done in 140 characters or less. Policies aside, many factors contribute to this phenomenon, such as Trump’s unorthodox style, recklessness or lack of a media filter.

President Donald Trump during a signing ceremony for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

But all publicity is not good publicity. A recent Harvard Study found that 60 percent of Trump’s media coverage during his first 100 days in office was 80 percent negative, at times hitting the 90 percent mark. Even GOP-friendly Fox News had him at 52 percent negative.

No doubt all this is taking a toll on Trump’s approval ratings. According to FiveThirtyEight, only 37 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing a good job, the lowest of any U.S. commander in chief since Harry S. Truman.

The Pew Research Center finds a majority (58 percent) of Americans do not like the way Trump conducts himself as president, and nearly half (45 percent) do not agree with him on any or almost any issue.

Trump’s conduct also is having a negative impact on his fellow Republications. Forty-six percent of GOPers expressed mixed feelings on Trump’s behavior, while 19 percent say they do not like his conduct.

As support dwindles among those that helped him get elected, President Trump is finding it harder to get key legislation passed even with a Republican-dominated Congress, as several attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act fell flat.

Not so says Donald Trump. He boasts his administration has accomplished more than any other president except Franklin Delano Roosevelt, citing his own election as historic, stretching the truth and transparency.

Political pundits have called him a liar, many times. But it’s this behavior that lands Trump on the front pages. Forget about the old ad age of kids saying the darndest things, Donald Trump has made comments as president that go beyond any logical reasoning.

Whether it’s threatening nuclear war with North Korea or blaming Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad ratings on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump says and does things – good, bad or indifferent – that makes news and prompts reactions from people.

Unfortunately, that’s bad for Trump … and can be bad for America too.