When basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently extended his contract with Turner Sports to remain a co-host and color analyst on Inside the NBA and broadcast games for TNT and TBS, it came with an additional rider. Moving forward, Barkley would be given an opportunity to discuss issues outside of basketball and sports. As Turner Broadcasting also owns CNN, management decided this would create a nice opportunity to do some cross-promotion across channels, especially with CNN hosting a Republican debate next week. Well, on Thursday night, that shit blew up in their face.
During a postgame show on TNT, Inside the NBA lead host Ernie Johnson tossed it over to Barkley, who had just finished calling a game and was still sitting courtside. Johnson then asked him his thoughts on Republican Presidential frontrunner and Cheeto-dusted cat toy Donald Trump. After Barkley was asked about the Trump phenomenon and his consistent rise in the polls after every inflammatory and offensive remark, the NBA legend first took aim at Trump’s racism, lumping in the rest of the Republican Party with him.
However, Barkley then moved on to slamming CNN for its coverage of the election. Following a slight endorsement of John Kasich as the Republican nominee, Chuck said the following about the disservice the news network has done in covering the primary election season so far.
“And to be honest with you, CNN has done an awful job this election. An awful job. They have followed ratings and sound bites this entire cycle. Think about it. I love CNN because they’re part of our company. They’ve been kissing butt, chasing ratings. They’ve become like Fox News for Republicans. They follow every sound bite, just to get ratings for these debates. And it’s been sad and frustrating that our company has sold their soul for ratings.”
While Barkley is an entertaining blowhard who talks out of his ass more times than not, he ain’t wrong here. Also, considering he’s actually employed by Turner, it says a lot when he uses their airtime to call them out. While all three major cable news networks have received a lot of deserved shit for the way they’ve covered Trump and the entire election season, CNN has probably been hit the hardest by media critics due to their supposed non-partisan stance on reporting the news. Of course, CNN has fired back at criticism, saying they are doing a bang up job.
Will there be any fallout from this? Will Barkley face any reprimand from management? Who knows. What we do know, however, is that CNN will likely keep being awful.
Below is video of his comments: