News Release

Petition Urges CNN to Add Progressive to Democratic Debate Panel


A petition urging CNN to add a progressive to the Democratic debate panel, signed by more than 9,000 individuals, has been delivered to CNN.

An email from the RootsAction Education Fund promoted the petition and offered historical background. It noted that the media watch group FAIR recently suggested to CNN: “Any number of progressive media outlets could provide qualified journalists — including ‘Democracy Now!,’ The Nation, and The Intercept.”

The petition, with signers and comments from signers, can be found here.

JEFF COHEN, jeff at

Cohen is co-founder of the RootsAction Education Fund, which has petitioned CNN. He also founded the media watch group FAIR.

    He said today: “CNN knows it has a double-standard. At all four of CNN’s 2015-16 GOP presidential debates, CNN added unabashed, non-objective right-wing journalists to its panels — which led to questions and viewpoints being aired that otherwise would not have been. Yet, CNN is so far refusing to add unapologetic progressive journalists, whether from ‘Democracy Now,’ The Nation, The Intercept or other respected outlets of the left. This double-standard should not be tolerated by progressive activists or the Democratic Party.

    “Since CNN seems unwilling to remedy this double-standard on its own, it’s time that the Democratic National Committee demand that mainstream TV networks add journalists from progressive outlets or lose their ability to host debates.

    “When I headed the media watch group FAIR in the 1980s and ‘90s, we documented CNN’s history of favoring voices of the hard right while generally shunning forceful leftists, typified by programs like ‘Crossfire’ that pitted hardcore rightists such as Buchanan, Novak and Sununu against weak, back-pedaling liberals.

    “By refusing to broaden its Democratic debate panels to include progressive journalists whose views better reflect the Democratic Party’s base, CNN is reminding everyone of this history of favoring unapologetic rightists over unapologetic leftists. And only the unmoored screamers of Fox News believe Tapper, Lemon and Bash are ‘unapologetic leftists.'”