CNN Touts Handling of Shirley Sherrod Story in New Ad Campaign

By Alex Weprin 

CNN has a new television ad, in which it touts its coverage of the Shirley Sherrod case.

The ad features photos of CNN anchors and correspondents like Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper, on location around the world.

It starts with shots from Haiti and the Gulf oil disaster, before moving on to Sherrod and ending with “and now, immigration.”

Following the photos, there is what looks to be a new tagline: “Journalism Makes the Difference,” followed by Cooper looking into the camera and saying “the truth matters.”

Clearly CNN is banking on its journalism brand in this campaign. Still, the addition of Sherrod is strange. While CNN is proud of the fact that it looked into the case (and implies that the competition did not) as a news story it is not on the same planet as the Haiti earthquake, Gulf oil spill, or immigration.

Sherrod was an embarrassing gaffe for the Obama administration, but in the grand scheme of things it is a minor political battle. In a year the effects of the oil spill, immigration and the earthquake will likely still be felt, while the effects of the Shirley Sherrod incident will not.

While Sherrod appeared on many different networks to talk about her case, she was a regular presence on CNN. The network even had her on the air live as White House press secretary Robert Gibbs discussed her firing with reporters.