In reality, 'pro-Trump' pundits have been all over CNN's airwaves in the last week.
Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel complained that two of CNN's reliably pro-Trump pundits have not been on air recently. Despite her complaints, the network still has several Trump propagandists on its roster who are willing to defend him at all costs — even on bigotry.
"Another day, and still no comment from @CNN about their benching of pro-Trump contributors," McDaniel wrote on Thursday, lamenting the absence of Steve Cortes and Ben Ferguson. "If CNN is going to be this biased, they should at least answer for it."
The day before, McDaniel complained that CNN "let go several pro-Trump contributors" and now purportedly "benched the remaining ones."
The tweets echo concerns from Trump himself, who the Daily Beast reported, has been regularly asking aides, "Where's Steve?" in reference to Cortes. Cortes has previously said the network hired him after Trump made a push for him.
"Both men are, to date, still paid CNN contributors, but they appear to have been "benched" by the network — or simply left unbooked by the network's show producers," the Hollywood Reporter noted.
The obsession with CNN's internal staffing issue runs counter to Trump's proclamation in February 2017 that "I don't watch CNN" as he declared the network "fake news," his term for outlets that report on his failings and missteps.
Both men had their absences coincide with instances of bigotry and dishonesty that echo the brand of politics practiced by Trump.
Ferguson's Facebook page was recently exposed for promoting religious hate, made-up stories, and fabricated quotes.
"CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson regularly uses his Facebook page to post memes with false information and fabricated quotes, including an image with a made-up Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) quote that was used to portray her as stupid," Media Matters for America reported in March.
Ferguson's page claimed Islam "sends out people from PRAYER in church to kill people and burn down buildings" and published a meme of black people in Ferguson, Missouri, with the caption, "Looting: when free food, housing, phones, healthcare & education aren't enough."
Cortes recently narrated a video for the conservative online operation PragerU called "The Charlottesville Hoax," which tried to make the case that Trump did not praise Nazis after the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
The claim is untrue, and video of the incident clearly shows Trump referring to protesters wielding Nazi flags as they protested the removal of a Confederate statue as "very fine people."
Despite Cortes and Ferguson's disappearance, CNN still has pro-Trump pundits on air who within the last week have spread lies and denied reality in service of Trump.
CNN currently has David Urban, who is an official adviser to Trump's 2020 campaign, on its payroll as a political commentator. Trump has described Urban as "one of my good friends" and the Daily Beast referred to him as "one of the most reliable Trump defenders on CNN."
The network hired him after he worked for Trump's 2016 campaign as a senior adviser.
Urban appeared on CNN on Tuesday night, during "Cuomo Prime Time." While there, he defended Trump's pair of anti-Semitic attacks where he suggested Jews were betraying their faith by voting Democratic.
"It's a question that's been fairly asked," Urban said of Trump's anti-Semitic broadside. He rejected the notion that Trump's comments were anti-Semitic — Jewish organizations have made clear that they were — and portrayed Trump as a "victim" of his own words.
Rob Astorino, another pro-Trump pundit, appeared on Monday on "Don Lemon Tonight" to echo the administration and downplay concerns about a possible recession.
"To say that the economy is tanking, or that we're in a really bad economic downturn just around the corner, is a talking point from the left, because that's what they want to do," Astorino claimed. He also stated that the trade war "is not having a major effect on the economy."
In fact, 74% of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics have predicted a recession by late 2021, with many pointing out the role of Trump's trade war in attacking the recovery.
Astorino even claimed that consumer confidence "is up." That isn't true.
"Consumer confidence last month dipped to its lowest level since January, according to the University of Michigan's sentiment index," CBS reported last week.
Astorino's degree of connection to Trump is so complete that last year he confirmed on air that he signed a nondisclosure agreement with Trump that makes him contractually forbidden from criticizing him in his appearances.
On Wednesday. he appeared on "Erin Burnett OutFront" to defend the administration's decision to change migrant detention rules so that people can be held indefinitely by the government.
"I think the rule is imminently defensible," Jennings said, echoing the administration's position.
CNN's roster of Trump pundits, even nominally depleted, still is robust enough to fill the airwaves with pro-Trump propaganda.
The level of Trump devotion on the network may not be as complete as it is at Fox News, but there's more than enough to go around, despite McDaniel's complaints.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.