Brooke Baldwin, a former host and anchor at CNN, takes her old employer to task in a new column published by The Atlantic.
In particular, Baldwin complained about an incident regarding the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school in 2018, in which network producers dumped that coverage to focus on something regarding then-President Donald Trump.
The column, “Don’t Let the Cameras Turn Away,” urged networks to continue covering the story of mass shootings.
“This week, for the first time in my career, I found out about a mass shooting in America just like most of you: not from a TV producer breaking into my earpiece on live TV, or a CNN internal email alert, or from someone shouting in the newsroom, but from a friend,” Baldwin wrote, referring to the Uvalde, Texas massacre that left 19 children and two adults dead.
Fox News :
Baldwin then detailed her role in CNN’s coverage of the Parkland school shooting that occurred as the network had become known for dedicating the majority of its time to negative coverage of Trump. In the days immediately following the shooting, CNN producers made a decision to cut away and cover news about the former president.
“One of my producers interrupted our broadcast from Florida and spoke into my earpiece. News was breaking about President Donald Trump and the FBI. My producer assured me that we’d return to coverage in Parkland, but that right then—I’ll never forget it—‘we have to break away to go live to Washington.’ But. But. But. Fourteen students were dead. I stood there dumbfounded,” she wrote.
“A teacher from the school was just out of camera range, waiting to join me for a five-minute live interview. I used the pause in coverage to tell her what was happening and told her that we’d get to her, that her story mattered. But I already knew then that they weren’t coming back to us.”
The former CNN host recalled waiting outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to continue covering the shooting until CNN’s leadership team ordered her to leave South Florida and scrap the story.
“I waited to reappear on my own show, furiously emailing my producers back at CNN headquarters to fight for more airtime on what was happening at Parkland: Come back to me. The teacher! Soon after, I got my marching orders: Come back to New York. I knew what that meant. We were done,” she wrote.
Baldwin also detailed other mass shootings she covered during her time at the network before making a prediction about media coverage of the tragedy.
“Let me tell you what will happen: The news media will be in Texas through this weekend, and then news executives will start paring down the coverage next week. The conversation has already turned to politics, as some pundits urge a focus on mental health and others on guns,” she wrote.
“Some journalists will try to hold our elected representatives’ feet to the fire. A segment or two will go viral. Americans will share their outrage on social media. And then another story will break next week, and the news cycle will move on,” Baldwin wrote.
“After a week or 10 days, the outraged public grows tired of hearing about the carnage, loss, and inaction. The audience starts to drop off. The ratings dip. And networks worry about their bottom line. And while the journalists in the field have compassion for the victims of these tragic stories, their bosses at the networks treat the news as ratings-generating revenue sources,” she continued.
“No ratings? Less coverage. It’s as simple as that,” she added before suggesting the showing of the bloodied victims on air in order to make the message hit home with viewers.
“Would minds change about guns in America if we got permission to show what was left of the children before they were placed in the caskets? Would a grieving parent ever agree to do this? I figured this would never happen. But perhaps now is finally the time to ask,” she wrote.
Fox News added:
Baldwin departed CNN when since-ousted boss Jeff Zucker was still in charge of the network, but he was forced to resign earlier this year ahead of a long-planned merger with Discovery. Zucker is known as the person who shifted CNN from it’s a just-the-facts approach to news to an anti-Trump opinion network. His replacement, longtime TV executive Chris Licht, has publicly stated a desire to put a focus back on news.