Two Conservatives Have Disappeared From CNN’s Airwaves, Thinning Network’s Bench of Pro-Trump Commentators

Two Conservatives Have Disappeared From CNN’s Airwaves, Thinning Network’s Bench of Pro-Trump Commentators

CNN appears to have benched two pro-Trump conservative commentators in recent months.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Steve Cortes, who at stretches has made daily appearances on the network, has not graced its airwaves in a month. Ben Ferguson has not been seen since mid-April, four months ago.

Neither man has apparently been fired. Both are still under contract and being paid. They just seem to have been blacklisted:

“They just won’t book him,” a former CNN contributor said of Cortes. “They’ll just pay him. They won’t fire him, because that’s just blatant. But they won’t book him, and they’ll tell all the producers not to book him.”

Cortes’ last appearance on the network in mid-July ended with him getting into a vicious argument on Anderson Cooper’s show with Wajahat Ali, another CNN contributor and writer for The New York Times.¬†The clash carried over to social media after the show was over, with the two men trading shots on Twitter.

Ferguson, meanwhile, has not been on the air since shortly after Media Matters published a long examination of his Facebook page in early March. According to the watchdog group, Ferguson’s page was a hotbed of racist memes, made-up quotes disparaging liberals and Democratic politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the sort of general bigotry endemic to conservative media.

The apparent benching of Cortes and Ferguson follows a general pattern of CNN marginalizing and outright getting rid of most of its pro-Trump commentators. And even those, such as David Urban, who also serves as an advisor to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, are a point of contention:

“There are a few panelists that I’ve got to skip over,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert told Anderson Cooper in an interview this week, singling out Ken Cuccinelli, a former CNN contributor who now works for the Trump administration. “Was there anything you ever asked him that you thought, ‘I’m going to get an honest answer?'”

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Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.