CNN's 'Right on the Edge' Omits ACORN's Leftist Ideology; Sorba 'Anti-Gay'

CNN's Abbie Boudreau omitted the left-wing ideology of discredited organization ACORN in her hour-long documentary on young conservative activists, "Right on the Edge," which aired Saturday evening. Boudreau also labeled Ryan Sorba, one of the subjects of her documentary, "anti-gay," and gave an overgeneralized account of an incident which Sorba took part in. The correspondent profiled Christian Hartsock, who "directs films with a conservative message;" author Jason Mattera; "anti-abortion activist" Lila Rose; Sorba; and Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, who "dressed up as a prostitute and a pimp to expose ACORN." Seven minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour, as Boudreau introduced Giles, she noted that "there's a reason Hannah Giles became an overnight sweetheart of the conservative Movement. In September 2009, she and James O'Keefe used hidden cameras to expose ACORN." The CNN correspondent then gave a very sparse and favorable description of the group: "ACORN helps low-income people register to vote, find housing, and file taxes."CNN has a history of such omission in covering ACORN. On October 9, 2008, anchor Kiran Chetry failed to mention the organization's name during a news brief about the law enforcement raid on their local headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chetry referred to ACORN as merely a "non-profit group" that was "disputing claims it committed voter registration fraud." Three weeks later, correspondent Carol Costello used a label similar to Boudreau's: "a group committed to registering minority voters." On CNN's Newsroom on February 20, 2009, then-anchor Heidi Collins omitted ACORN's role in sponsoring a rally against foreclosures in Oakland, California.

Boudreau gave brief introductions to all of her subjects at the beginning of the documentary. For Sorba, whom she introduced last, the CNN correspondent described him as "an anti-gay activist, not afraid to stir up controversy, and it seems to follow him wherever he goes." Thirty-four minutes later, Boudreau began her segment on Sorba, again using the "anti-gay" label to label a conference he attended as a speaker. She played video clips from the conference, and highlighted an event where Sorba achieved some notoriety:

Graphic of Ryan Sorba from CNN Special BOUDREAU: At age 28, Ryan Sorba is the oldest young conservative we've met.

SORBA: I'm Ryan- nice to meet you.

BOUDREAU: He invited us to a Chicago suburb for an anti-gay event called 'Americans for Truth Academy.'

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rising star at the conservative movement, and he hasn't sold out on homosexual activism, Ryan Sorba. (applause)

BOUDREAU: He's one of the speakers, and wants to promote the book he's writing, 'The Born Gay Hoax.'

SORBA: It's a psychological disorder, and a psychological- and what does psyche mean? Psyche means soul. It's disorder of the soul- of the nature of man.

BOUDREAU: Some in the movement tell us he's extreme- yet, like the others, he's not afraid to speak his mind and push his views, even if it offends people.

SORBA: There's absolutely no scientific evidence for this notion that people are in some way born- quote, 'gay.'

BOUDREAU: He's best known for this one-minute rant at a conservative conference.

SORBA (from 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference): I'd like to condemn CPAC (booing from the audience) for bringing GOPride (sic) to this event.

BOUDREAU: He denounced conservatives for allowing gays to attend.

SORBA: I love it.

The "anti-gay" label applied to both Sorba and Americans for Truth implies they're driven by bigotry against homosexuals in general, when they are actually focused on opposing the agenda of left-wing homosexual activist groups, such as same-sex "marriage" and biased curriculum on homosexuality in public schools.

Boudreau's description that Sorba "denounced conservatives for allowing gays to attend" CPAC is also misleading. The activist specifically objected to how one organization, GOProud, was invited by CPAC's organizers to be a co-sponsor and an exhibitor. Many other social conservatives also objected to this invite, as GOProud endorses the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy forbidding open homosexuals from serving in the military and opposes a federal amendment defining marriage as being between one man and woman.

The CNN correspondent did give fair segments on Mattera, Rose, Giles, and Hartsock, and devoted a significant amount of time to how O'Keefe tried to "punk" her in an effort to discredit her network. But it's not surprising that there was some bias concerning ACORN and homosexuality, given CNN's past coverage of both issues, particularly in its own advancement of the homosexual agenda so far in 2010.

- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.