Last night President Obama gave the 2011 State of the Union Address (SOTU). Prior to 1966, the POTUS would give the address to the Congress and the American people with no rebuttal response given. The practice of providing a rebuttal response to the SOTU was started during Lyndon Baines Johnson's administration.
The "opposition" party would provide that response. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) was selected by the Republican Party to provide last night's rebuttal response to the President's address. Never before in US history has a second rebuttal response been featured by a major news network until last night. CNN, for whatever reason, decided to give Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) airtime for her rebuttal, why?
President Obama is a democrat. Paul Ryan is a republican. Michelle Bachmann is a republican. Why would a television news network decide to give 2 republicans airtime for the rebuttal response to the same SOTU address?
Think about in this context. When President Bush was in office, did CNN or any other news network give 2 democratic politicians airtime for rebuttal responses to his SOTU addresses? The answer is no. So why does the general rules apply differently to Tea Party Republicans at networks like CNN?
It was reported last month that CNN is "partnering" with the Tea Party Express to co-sponsor a GOP debate in Tampa, Florida in August 2011. Can anyone imagine CNN co-sponsoring a democratic debate with Moveon.org? In the opinion of some, myself included, CNN has been attempting for the last several years to emulate some of the FOX News Netowrk's stragegy for programming. They have hired right wing pundits like Erik Erickson and Bill Bennett last year. They appear to be increasingly catering to the right with shows like John King USA, where there will often times be 3 right leaning pundits versus 1 left leaning pundit on their panels. Or shows like Howard Kurt's Reliable Sources, where he frequently defends extreme right commentary made by individuals like Sarah Palin. Is this balance? No.
Every since CNN has undertaken this "Fox-lite" strategy their ratings have slipped. Last year for the first time in their history, CNN slipped to a 3rd place rating among the 3 cable news networks. This strategy is not working for them, but they continue to "tilt" to the right. Why?
Here is Rachel Maddow from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show talking about CNN decision to air Michelle Bachman's rebuttal response.