CNN, the cable "news" station President Trump recently called out for being "very fake news" (no word yet if the station will change its name to VFN), has outdone itself yet again.
The network's website on Sunday featured a story about Jesus at the top of its homepage. The piece is actually five years old, but was recycled as part of CNN's push to get people to watch its new show (an editor's note at the top of the story said "This article was first published in 2012. To learn more about the historical Jesus, watch the CNN Original Series 'Finding Jesus,' Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting March 5").
So, you just missed the premiere. But if you can judge the series by the way CNN handled the headline for its webpage, you might not have missed much.
First, we'll note that the story by John Blake is pretty interesting, on an intellectual level. The piece examines the longtime contention that perhaps Jesus the Man never really existed, that the account of his life was simply an allegory, a parable to teach mankind about the spiritual journey that we all must go on.
In a shocking departure from its normal biased coverage, the lengthy piece is well-balanced, featuring one sub-headline that says "The evidence against Jesus' existence," followed by another that reads "The evidence for Jesus' existence." And it included another section titled "Does it matter if Jesus existed?" Plus, all kinds of experts pop up to argue one side or the other (often citing specific facts). A well-balanced piece.
The story concludes with a quote from Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, who "suggested that there will never be one answer to that question. He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection."
"The 'real' Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain 'a stranger and an enigma,' someone who is always ahead of us."
OK, so much for a five-year-old story posted to draw viewers to get higher ratings for a CNN original series on its network.
The headline on the piece, by the way, is "Decoding Jesus: Separating man from myth." Pretty balanced as well.
But that's not what the teaser headline on the main webpage said. Nope. On the main webpage, the headline for the piece was "Evidence Against Jesus' Existence." Just that. The headline writer looked at the story, picked one biased angle -- as it does with most political stories -- and ran with it.
"Evidence Against Jesus' Existence," even though the piece makes an equal case FOR his existence and, in the end, is more an examination of what truly is a very fascinating debate among religious scholars.
No wonder Trump calls CNN by its new name: VFN.
(Note: We emailed a friend at the network about the headline, and it's now been changed on the mainpage to "Scholars Argue If Jesus Existed" -- sure, a little more boring but a lot more accurate.)