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Former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin has accused her former employer of dropping a live interview with a teacher in the aftermath of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, to cover breaking news regarding then-President Trump arguing that the media was moving too quickly after mass shootings.
Baldwin, who left CNN last year, wrote a column for The Atlantic titled “Don’t Let the Cameras Turn Away” that urged networks to continue covering the story of the mass shootings.
“This week, for the first time in my career, I found out about a mass shooting in America like most of you: not from a TV producer who broke into my earpiece on live TV. , not from an internal CNN email alert, or from someone shouting in the newsroom, but from a friend,” Baldwin wrote, referring to the Uvalde, Texas massacre that kills 19 children and two adults.
Baldwin went on to detail his role in CNN’s coverage of the Parkland school shooting which occurred as the network became known for devoting the majority of its time to negative coverage of Trump. In the days immediately following the shooting, CNN producers made the decision to cut and cover news about the former president.
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“One of my producers interrupted our show from Florida and spoke into my earpiece. News was falling on President Donald Trump and the FBI. My producer assured me that we would return to Parkland coverage, but at that time i will never forget it – ‘we have to split up to go live in DC’ But. But. But. Fourteen students were dead. I was left dumbfounded,” she wrote. “A teacher from the school was just off camera, waiting to join me for a five-minute live interview. I took advantage of the break in coverage to tell her what was going on and told her that we would join her, that her story mattered, but I already knew they wouldn’t come back to us.
Baldwin remembers waiting outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to continue his coverage of the shooting until CNN’s executive team ordered him to leave South Florida and drop the story.
“I waited to reappear on my own show, furiously emailing my producers at CNN HQ fighting for more airtime on what was happening in Parkland: Come back to me. Professor! Shortly after, I received my marching orders: get back to New York. I knew what that meant. We were done,” she wrote.
Baldwin then detailed other mass shootings she covered during her time on CNN before making a prediction about media coverage of the tragedy.
“Let me tell you what’s going to happen: the news media will be in Texas all weekend long, then news people will start cutting back coverage next week. The conversation went already turned to politics, with some pundits urging a focus on mental health. and others armed. Some reporters will try to put our elected officials’ feet on fire. A segment or two will go viral. Americans will share their outrage over social media. And then another story will break next week, and the news cycle will move on,” Baldwin wrote.
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“After a week or 10 days, outraged audiences tire of hearing about the carnage, the loss and the inaction. Viewership starts to drop. Ratings drop. And networks worry about their bottom line. And while reporters on the ground have compassion for the victims of these tragic stories, their bosses on the networks treat the news as revenue streams generating ratings.No audience?Less coverage.air to get the message across to viewers.
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“Would minds change about guns in America if we got permission to show what was left of the children before they were placed in the coffins? Would a grieving parent ever agree to do it I thought this would never happen. But maybe now is finally the time to ask,” she wrote.
Baldwin also suggested making mass shootings a specific beat from a dedicated reporter, the same way news outlets ask a specific person to cover the White House, spending whatever it takes to tell the story. story and keep TV crews in affected communities longer.
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“I know keeping teams on the pitch is expensive, but 19 kids and two teachers? There’s no higher cost than that,” she wrote.
Baldwin left CNN while ousted boss Jeff Zucker was still in charge of the network, but was forced to step down earlier this year ahead of a long-planned merger with Discovery. Zucker is known as the person who transformed CNN from its factual approach to news to an anti-Trump opinion network. His replacement, longtime television executive Chris Licht, has publicly said he wants to put the focus back on the news.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.