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  The Onion Come to Life: CNN Censors Word “Crosshairs.” What’s Next?

Posted on January 20 2011 2:03 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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Yesterday provided a moment of unintentional hilarity as CNN, birthplace of “Crossfire,”the show that invented political TV verbal combat, satirized itself in ways Saturday Night Live could only dream of, on a par with the best of The Onion:

CNN’s JOHN KING: “We were having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. My friend Andy Shaw used the term ‘in the crosshairs’ in talking about the candidates. We’re trying, we’re trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he’s covered politics for a long time, but we’re trying to get away from that kind of language.”

So, without further ado, here is the new style book for all Turner networks, issued immediately after this horrifying gaffe:

  1. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Caught in the Crossfire cannot be used as bumper music for NBA games.
  2. Commentators covering political debates or campaigns, should refrain from saying one side has “provided ammunition” for its critics.
  3. For that matter, the word campaign is also far too warlike. (War is a primary definition of campaign in the dictionary.) We will henceforth refer to “election contests” or “political contests.”  A candidate’s own effort should be called a “Primary Contest,” or a “General Election Contest.”
  4. Similarly, we will no longer be using the term “battleground states.”  On air personnel should instead opt for “closely contested” or “states in danger of going Republican.”
  5. Under no circumstances should someone who stubbornly holds to a position be said to be “sticking to his guns.”  Republicans will be termed as “uncompromising partisanship” while Democrats will be “holding to principle.”
  6. And please please please, never refer to an elected official as “shooting his/her mouth off” in light of recent events.
  7. We apologize for saying that Sarah Palin was “under fire” for her crosshairs target map—but she deserved it.
  8. “Point and shoot” cameras will not be advertised on our network, we are reviewing whether “point and click” is acceptable.
  9. “Shoot” is no longer an acceptable exclamation in dramatic series television.  We are cable, so we can just say “Shit!”
  10. Track events at the next Goodwill Games will start with a checkered flag, not a gun.
  11. Voiceovers on all ads for Target stores will be changed to pronounce the stores’ name, “Tar-zhay”
  12. We are considering whether Scope must change its name to advertise with us, but ads which say the product “targets” the germs that cause bad breath will no longer be accepted.
  13. The American Indian Movement will no longer be referred to as AIM.
  14. Movies that fail spectacularly at the box office,  will no longer be referred to as “bombs.”
  15. Quibbling between groups or individuals will no longer be referred to as “sniping”
  16. Anchorman Greg Hunter will be referred to on the air as “Greg H”, or “the G Man” while Wolf Blitzer will just be called “Wolfie.”
  17. No employee of Turner networks will say that Paul Krugman and Jonathan Alter’s columns after Tuscon were examples of “shoot first and ask questions later.”
  18. Please stay tuned for updates on this list.  Thank you for your disarming professionalism during these times.

Now, it’s your turn.  What do you think the next phrase is that CNN will apologize for?

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