While struggling to remain relevant in the increasingly heated cable news competition, CNN has tried to differentiate itself from its competitors by brushing off MSNBC and especially Fox News as commentator-heavy entertainment channels. According to network representatives, CNN is the place to go for objective news coverage of big events. CNN president Jon Klein told The Los Angeles Times recently, “We are not going to try to boost numbers during fallow news periods by running cartoons, as our competitors do. We’re going to cover the news…” Klein went on to emphasize that CNN’s competitors “are in a completely different business than we are.”
As news coverage of Thursday’s shooting at the Fort Hood military post developed, though, it appears that, at least for one night, CNN was recognizing Fox News as a legitimate news source even, albeit temporarily, referring to Fox footage as its own.
Viewers flipping between cable news channels on Thursday evening, could be forgiven for thinking that there was an echo. CNN’s Campbell Brown introduced a telephone interview with a cousin of the alleged shooter by saying, “CNN did, one of our camera crews, did an interview…” Both the audio and video that followed were not from CNN, though, they were from Fox News. CNN was using footage from an interview that FNC’s Shepard Smith did with Nader Hasan, a cousin of the alleged shooter. (Video here)
After the interview clip had finished, Brown issued a clarification, saying, “that was an interview done with Fox News, not by our CNN crew.” It was the type of error that’s certainly been made before on live TV–the recent trash-talking, though, made it all the more noteworthy.