CNN journalist to talk media and politics at Darien’s Global Players series
There are some who don’t like what S.E. Cupp has to say. And as a journalist, to her, that means she’s doing her job.
The media, the Darien resident and host of CNN’s “S.E. Cupp: Unfiltered” says, are the “gatekeepers.”
“We are the check on power. I’ve been saying this for years to anyone who would listen. It is not our job to be liked, and it is especially not our job to be liked by those in power. If the president or an ex-congressman or a CEO is angry with us, well that’s just fine with me,” she said.
Cupp, who moved to Darien with her husband, John Goodwin, and their son in 2017, is the next featured guest in the Darien Community Association’s Darien Neighbors, Global Players series.
Her discussion, “The White-Hot Intersection between Politics and the Media,” will be a conversation with broadcast journalist Ashleigh Banfield, also a Darien resident, on Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the DCA.
Cupp considers herself a practical conservative who brings a distinct outlook to CNN programming and special political coverage. She joined CNN as a contributor in 2013 and “Headline News” as a host in 2017.
The media keeps those in power accountable, Cupp said.
To register for Darien Neighbors; Global Players, visit: https://dariendca.org/darien-neighbors-global-players/
“The point isn’t to be antagonistic, or to foster hostility, but those in power when asked questions don’t often like to answer them,” she said.
She called the media “incredibly important” when it comes to politics or any other level of oversight. Cupp also said there’s a correlation in the increase in corruption where television news stations and newspapers are shuttered, leaving no one to “dig around and ask questions.”
Cupp also praised the importance of local news, which covers things like the Board of Education and the sewer commission.
“Those are the stories that really impact our daily lives,” she said.
Cupp said that the current administration has been “very successful in sowing the seeds of distrust in the media.” But she added that the Obama administration was also at times hostile to journalists.
But that’s not the only problem, she said. Cupp referred to the movie “The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
“Fake news and disinformation can spread so quickly. Facebook Instagram, Reddit, have no real interest in stopping the spread of disinformation. People can’t keep up with what is true and what isn’t,” she said.
Challenges for women
Cupp said that its “inarguable” that women face more difficulties and different challenges in the media.
While she said doesn’t come from a feminist perspective, “I’ve worked in this industry for 20 years and I’ve seen what I’ve seen.”
She said certainly women in the media are much more sexualized online and get comments about their looks, or even worse vulgarity that “men just don’t get.”
She said there’s also systemic issues — things we see and things we don’t see.
While she said the #MeToo movement helped advance awareness, there’s still work to be done, especially when it comes to workplace non-disclosure agreements.
Cupp observed that many women in the workplace often feel that being sexually harassed by a colleague ends up being a tolerable nuisance when faced with the alternative.
“Is it worth jeopardizing my job to be labeled a ‘troublemaker?’ Any woman knows the conversations you have in your head,” she said.
She said that might be the next phase of the movement, those incidents that not incredibly egregious but still equally as wrong.
Cupp add that men face their own challenges. She said she knows white, male colleagues who who feel they are less valuable than a woman or a person of color with the same qualifications as newsrooms aim to diversify.
“I’m not saying there aren’t challenges for some men too — but the deck is stacked against us,” she said.
Cupp often is exchanging words of support and friendship on Twitter with Meghan McCain, one of the hosts of “The View” and daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain.
“We’ve never worked together. I did ‘The View’ a couple of times before she came. We were always just in the same circle,” she said of how the friendship began.
Cupp said they took some time to feel each other out.
“Once we realized we have a lot in common, with how we see the world and this business in the same way. We said, ‘Let’s hold each other accountable and promise each other we won’t go crazy. We just identified with each other,” she said.
Cupp said the friendship is pretty rare in the business, especially between two women who view each other as competing for the same jobs.
“We’ve never felt that way. There’s enough work for everyone,” she said.
Cupp said she had lived in the city for 13 to 14 years when CNN moved her to Washington, D.C., to do the show “Crossfire.” She was married a year later, had a baby, and then CNN wanted to move her back to be based in New York.
At that point, Cupp said she didn’t want to move back to New York City.
“We looked in Westchester and in Connecticut, and my maid of honor, my very old friend grew up in Darien. I had visited her when I was in high school so I was familiar with it,” she said.
When Cupp and her husband looked in Darien, “it was exactly what we wanted.”
“We both grew up in New England — me in Massachusetts and him in Rhode Island. We grew up with lobster and clambakes. It had the New England feel that Westchester doesn’t,” she said.
With all that, plus an hour commute to New York City, Darien “checked all the boxes, even the boxes we didn’t know we had,” she said. “... We absolutely love it.”