It’s no secret that Fox News and CNN aren’t the most friendly to each other. Pundits on one network call the other the “Clinton News Network” and “fake news” while pundits on the other network sling insults like “state-run TV” and “propaganda” right back at them. But despite their ongoing war over the truth (and ratings), both networks were able to show a minimal amount of respect to each other this week when they overstepped with their attacks.
Last week, shortly after CNN aired its town hall with Parkland survivors, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came forward and accused the network of trying to force him to ask a “scripted” question, something CNN vehemently denied. Obviously, Fox News, particularly Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity understandably jumped on the juicy story that made their cable news rival look bad with Carlson even having that student on his show. And because CNN continuously denied the allegations, Carlson blasted the network for “questioning the integrity of a survivor.”
However, an admission from the student’s father that he “omitted” a key phrase from an email exchange between his family and CNN appeared to absolve the network of wrongdoing. And both Carlson and Hannity rightfully offered “updates” on their shows, with Carlson saying that there was “no evidence” that CNN tried to force the student to ask a scripted question and Hannity wanting to “correct the record.”
While Carlson and Hannity were conceding their CNN attacks Wednesday night, CNN’s Don Lemon went after “Trump TV” Fox News and accused them of “not even reporting” on the newly-announced resignation of White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.
Lemon’s attack was blatantly false and it something that Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts took personal issue with — since he himself reported on Hicks’ resignation throughout the day. Lemon took to Twitter the next morning in an attempt to express some context behind his remarks in that it was aimed at Fox News’ primetime lineup about their downplaying of Trump scandals. It wasn’t until that night that he offered an actual apology.
Aside from the chaotic news cycle, what makes this week so remarkable is that underneath the never-ending feud between Fox News and CNN, there is still an ounce of decorum whenever they take it a step too far. The big question here is with the “scripted” question dispute and the coverage of Hope Hicks, why was it these two specific instances that led to Carlson, Hannity, and Lemon to admit that they were wrong?
It’s because in the end, the truth matters.
Fox News and CNN will continue to toss insults at each other just like they’ve been doing for years. Hannity has his right to call CNN the “s-hole network” while Lemon has his right to call Fox News “state-run TV.” However, Hannity and Carlson gave the now-debunked town hall controversy the attention as if it were a legitimate news story and Lemon stated it as if it were a fact that Fox News didn’t cover Hope Hicks’ resignation. That’s different than the ongoing mockery both networks do on a constant basis.
It’s refreshing that in this hostile political climate that people can acknowledge the faults of their own even when they’ve been blinded by their personal biases. The gestures that were made by Fox News and CNN this week were small in the grand scheme of things. Yet they mean a lot, especially now. They show that despite political differences, people can still be civil. When respectful discourse does take place, we should take a moment to appreciate it.
Even though this will long be forgotten about by the next crazy news cycle, it’s good to pause every once and a while and appreciate the little things. Kudos to Fox News and CNN for being able to own their mistakes. Many others should do the same.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.