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CNN Tries to Hype Howard Schultz Ahead of Town Hall

CNN appears to be trying desperately to make Howard Schultz a thing.

Thursday on Inside Politics, John King began a discussion on Schultz by sharing some numbers from a new CNN poll which, on the surface, seem quite promising for the former Starbucks CEO.

“Twenty percent of Americans describe themselves as likely to support Schultz,” King said. “Twenty percent. That’s a Ross Perot-like number.”

King dutifully sounded a note of caution, saying the numbers ultimately mean little so far out from the election. But then added that 20 percent is “a big deal.” The comments were made while the on-screen chyron read: “Starbucks Founder Schultz Gaining Early 2020 Support.”

But as the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel noted on Twitter, some very important context from the CNN poll was missing from the Inside Politics hype job discussion. First, Schultz’s unfavorable rating is extremely high compared to his favorable rating — 22 percent to 13 percent.

And as to the 20 percent “likely to support” number cited by King, all 10 of the other possible 2020 candidates pollsters asked about scored higher. Quite obviously, voters do not get to cast their ballot for 11 different people. Respondents were not asked if they would support Schultz over the other candidates. They were just asked broadly whether they would support him.

The discussion comes as the network gets set to air a one-hour town hall featuring Schultz in primetime on Tuesday night. CNN has come under fire from some critics for giving Schultz that platform over other candidates who have officially declared, and who are ahead of him in the polls.

Watch above, via CNN.

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