Dylan Byers notes that criticism of Roland Martin for a comment he made about a Super Bowl commercial — “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” — marks the third time this year that CNN contributors have caused some kind of controversy. The fact that CNN keeps finding itself in this position, he writes, says something about its editorial strategy:
CNN has aimed to position itself in the center of an increasingly partisan media landscape, between the right-leaning Fox News and the left-leaning MSNBC. But rather than build up a team of independent or moderate analysts to reflect that effort, the network opted to expand its collection of partisan analysts — including Loesch, Erickson, and Martin — in both directions, likely believing that they could achieve balance by tipping both sides of the scale. …
The result is not nonpartisan programming, but bipartisan programming — and bipartisan in the current sense of the word, which is to say that it rarely yields a constructive consensus.
Related: Newsweek’s Rebecca Dana looks at the touchy situation between Current TV and Keith Olbermann, saying former Vice President Al Gore “found himself prostrate before his celebrity anchor, begging him not to go.”