This is CNN: The Children’s News Network

Every child knows intuitively that losing is not fun. Toddlers will steal a coveted toy right from the hands of an unwitting playmate in the ultimate power move; grade-schoolers will weep openly on the soccer-field sidelines after the usual 1-0 loss; and just try to console a sophomore girl whose latest crush asks someone else to the Homecoming dance. The need to win and get what you want is as basic a human instinct as breathing and shoe shopping.

So, it must really hurt the tender feelings of the puerile talent pool at CNN that the Investigation, Discovery, and Hallmark channels have more viewers than they do. They must really want to pout and kick their little sister over the fact that Fox News had more than double the number of viewers than they did in 2017, and their right-wing rival has been the most watched cable news network for 194 months in a row. To make matters worse, the biggest bully in school, Donald Trump, keeps giving them social-media wedgies on Twitter every week. Even when they try to fight back by explaining how an apple is really a banana or something, everyone makes fun of them.

Being unpopular really stinks.

The CNN roster of reporters and anchors is loaded with some of the most immature whiners in television news. The network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is Arnold Horshack to Sarah Sanders’ Mr. Kotter, the annoying (but not nearly as loveable) class dunce trying to get attention from his eye-rolling teacher. On Monday, Acosta tussled with Sanders about whether Trump would have run into Stoneman Douglas High School to “save the day” during the February 14 shooting and worried that schools will become like “the Wild West.” Alisyn Camerota pouted that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch was using explosive rhetoric against the media: “How dare you?” she wailed.

It’s not just gun control that causes CNN hosts to have petulant meltdowns. During a long monologue recalling his experiences in Haiti, Anderson Cooper cried on air following the president’s alleged “shithole” comment, bewailing how Trump, “with all of his money and all of his power” could learn about dignity from the Haitian people.  (You big meanie president!) Don Lemon choked up when he read an open letter to Trump advising him about how to treat the widow of a slain U.S. soldier.. Van Jones cried on election night. Good God,  my teenage daughters cry less often than these guys do.

And Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter are….well, they’re Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter. The pair recently taunted Senator Ted Cruz for refusing to appear on their network to discuss gun control the day after the massacre in Parkland:

Cuomo might as well have tweeted, “Hey dude, meet me in the parking lot after school!” (Cruz responded by posting a photo of his 15-minute interview with a CNN reporter the day after the shooting.)

Considering the juvenile climate at CNN, it’s no surprise that they will do just about anything to improve their popularity or that they will use their emotional and intellectual doppelgangers—resentful adolescents—to help achieve it. Like the invisible girl who suddenly turns goth to get attention at school, the network has changed its identity from fruit-loving truth-teller to raging, hormonal teenager. In a shrewd and obvious attempt to boost their sagging ratings, CNN has served as the high school counselor’s office for nearly two solid weeks, giving hours of air time to kids emoting and ranting about the mass shooting in Parkland.

What might have started as a sincere effort to give voice to the surviving victims quickly devolved into a 24-7 campaign in favor of gun control and a political crusade against Republican lawmakers, gun owners, the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump—all shouted from the mouths of babes. It’s one thing for a purportedly respectable news organization to allow reporters and anchors to peddle biased coverage from the news desk; it’s quite another level of exploitation to allow kids who can’t even vote to take over the set night after night.

During a so-called town hall meeting, which was staged like a boxing match, grieving children were given a public platform to scold professional adults, call them names and even demean them as parents. One student—Cameron Kasky—told Senator Marco Rubio that it was “hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15, and not look at [the shooter].” Kasky, a high school junior who is organizing the March for Our Lives, said he wished he could have “talked to the NRA lady and ask her how she can look in the mirror because she has children but maybe she avoids those.” (When Rubio asked him to clarify who he was talking about, Kasky replied, “I don’t friggin’ know.” He was referring to Loesch.) Emma Gonzalez looked directly at Loesch and told her, “I want you to know we will support your two children in a way that you will not.” Jake Tapper, the adult referee, er, host, of the grudge match, sat silent.

The network has shamelessly elevated Stoneman student David Hogg to fame. The day after the shooting, Hogg told Camerota that he had a message for Congress and the president: “Take action. Ideas are great, and they help you get elected and everything. But what’s more important is pertinent action.” And thus, a star was born.

Since then, the network has either interviewed, hosted, or reported on Hogg nearly every day. Hogg has appeared with his father, his sister, and with disgraced journalist Dan Rather. He bragged how conspiracy theorists have been “great advertisers” and helped increase his Twitter following to more than a quarter-million people: When you’re a teenager, social media approbation is really all that matters. (And despite his protestations,we now know some of the stories about how this has been orchestrated by powerful interest groups are true. A report today in Buzzfeed confirms that former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been advising the students since the day after the shooting, the group has a Hollywood-connected public relations firm, and has been collecting money and assistance from teachers’ unions, celebrities, Planned Parenthood and gun control activists.)

In a cringe-worthy interview Monday night, Cooper held an 8-minute chit chat with Hogg and his 14-year-old sister about how the Trump family has reacted. They blasted the First Lady and Donald Trump, Jr. Lauren Hogg said she “knows more and am more mature” than most of the adults replying on her Twitter feed. (Hubris must be a genetic trait in the Hogg lineage.) Cooper then seriously engaged a 14-year-old girl about whether we need age limits for weapons purchases, and if the president would fulfill his promise or not. (She of course said no.) David Hogg then went on an unchallenged stream-of-teen-consciousness, citing the House of Cards show, smearing Rubio and Florida Governor Rick Scott, and repeating how everything and everyone was, like, totally “disgusting.”

Hard hitting stuff, there, Anderson.

It doesn’t appear as though CNN’s High School Musical is scheduled to end any time soon. Even after the Stoneman students move on, the network will still have immature, reactionary journalists throwing temper tantrums and looking for their next schoolyard fight. Hey, CNN: Call us when you grow up.

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