CNN’s media reporter Oliver Darcy took a blowtorch to one of his network’s rival outlets for daring to host a Republican presidential debate and “collaborating” with so-called extremist partners, like a YouTube competitor and a massive radio company that used to host his former boss, Glenn Beck.
“NBC News has made its decision,” Darcy fumed in a blog post about the network’s partnership with Rumble and Salem Media… which CNN has previously partnered with for multiple Republican primary debates. “Now it’s up to other news organizations to do so as well.”
Awkwardly for Darcy, as of the time he published his article, his own network was working to secure the exact same kind of partnership with the Republican National Committee. Rumble and Salem are problematic in Darcy’s eyes because they don’t censor people he doesn’t like; it’s this practice that he deems a “history of peddling extremist rhetoric.” The Spectator would be remiss if we didn’t note that Darcy’s own network once platformed notorious white supremacist Richard Spencer.
“CNN has and continues to pitch the RNC on doing a debate with Salem, and agreed to have Rumble as the livestream partner,” RNC spokesman Keith Schipper said. In revealing as much, the RNC introduced Darcy to the underside of a bus. His reporting is aging about as well as Chris Licht’s vision for the company to become less of a shrieking shack of partisan bile.
After all, this isn’t the first time that CNN’s staff has proved to be ungovernable. Despite Licht’s attempts to avoid the network becoming MSNBC Lite, many of the channel’s few remaining top talents fumed at Kaitlan Collins hosting a town hall with former president Donald Trump — which helped pave the way for Licht’s ignominious exit.
As a “senior media reporter,” Darcy is presumably well sourced enough within his own company to have known the open secret that CNN had been vying for a GOP debate for months; at their height during the Trump 2016 era, the debates were “gold mines” for networks, with the going rate for ad buys going well into six figures. If Darcy’s condemnations have internal repercussions, he could have cost CNN millions of dollars.
Without a hint of irony, Darcy lambasted NBC for the partnership his bosses are trying to ink right now. “News organizations will need to grapple with this uncomfortable reality as they navigate the 2024 waters. Do they really want to associate themselves with and — as a result — help legitimize companies that are in the business of mainlining extremism to the American public? Is doing so really worth hosting a debate which the party frontrunner will likely refuse to participate in?”
Darcy reports that he had asked NBC for comment on whether “the network was actually comfortable collaborating on the third GOP debate with Salem and Rumble, given each company’s history.” The network did not respond.
The Spectator asked Darcy if he was aware that his network was guilty of everything his piece had accused NBC of. He referred us to the CNN comms team. The Spectator then asked CNN if it is comfortable continuing to seek out the same kind of partnership with such problematic outlets, given the line in the sand drawn by its own reporting. We have yet to hear back from Darcy’s superiors.