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CNN's new boss needs some objectivity

JEFF Zucker takes over as president of CNN this year with a mandate to lead the network out of last place in cable news ratings.

Zucker earned a pink slip as head of NBC-Universal by leading NBC from first place to last in the prime-time ratings.

CNN's supporters explain away its bad ratings as having too good a product for the dummies who watch cable news.

The real problem is that CNN does not do a very good job - and it pretends to be objective when too many of its anchors are closet liberals.

Conservatives have great bull detectors.

Before CNN can fix its bias, its new boss must own up to his. Answering these questions should help him identify the problem.

What position of the Democrats is too darned liberal?

Do you pay too little in taxes?

Is racism a prime motive behind the Tea Party?

Is Tim Scott's appointment to the Senate tokenism?

Does the Occupy movement have legitimate beefs with the system?

Does the Tea Party?

How many anchors at MSNBC would you poach if you had the chance?

Other than the liberal Shep Smith, is there any Fox News host you would swipe?

Did the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 cause the 2008 recession?

Which is the bigger threat to society, government or big business?

Zucker also needs to work on the veracity of CNN. The network's credibility is at an all-time low.

He should answer these questions as well.

What was your reaction when you learned that then-CNN President Eason Jordan falsely accused U.S. soldiers of targeting journalists in Iraq?

Would you ignore crimes against humanity in order to maintain bragging rights for having the only bureau in a country, as Jordan admitted he did in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein?

Do you agree with Piers Morgan that it was his "moral duty" to fake a story and photos that made it look like British soldiers committed war crimes in Iraq when he was editor of the (London) Daily Mirror?

Or do you agree with the Daily Mirror's owners, who fired him?

Will Morgan continue to anchor an hour of prime time each weeknight?

Does CNN's own Tailwind scandal, in which it falsely reported in 1998 that Americans used Sarin in Vietnam, haunt you?

Have Fox News or MSNBC ever done anything that comes close to Baghdad, Tailwind or what Morgan did at the Daily Mirror?

Will you point out to staff members Baghdad, Tailwind or Morgan when they mock a minor mistake by either of their rivals?

Will you call in the crew that misidentified the killer at Sandy Hook Elementary School and demand a fresh explanation?

How will you make sure that never happens again?

CNN has systemic problems, as do too many news organizations these days.

CNN is too liberal. CNN is too careless with facts. CNN is too disdainful of conservatives.

I want Zucker to learn from the mistakes of his many, many predecessors at CNN.

But his service at NBC shows he is a tad slow on the uptake, and so I doubt Zucker will address the core problems.

The upside is if he fails, I can substitute his replacement's name for his and simply re-run this column.

Surber may be reached at


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