As if Rick Santorum wasn’t bad enough, did we really need to see former Fox News propagandist Eric Bolling being warmly received by Brian Stelter today?

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Bolling’s suggestion that Sean Hannity’s rantings are “always within the boundaries of fact” is beyond laughable: ever heard Hannity talk about climate change? Bolling’s suggestion that Donald Trump is a warm-hearted and compassionate guy at heart is equally nonsensical: Trump may have said some kind words to Bolling after the unfortunate passing of Bolling’s son, but I doubt Trump ever bothered to call, say, the mothers of the Central Park Five after they were exonerated.

Much like the Santorum matter, providing a forum to an extremist like Bolling is unjustifiable from a journalism standpoint. Bolling has nothing edifying to contribute to the national political conversation, and never did.

Shame on Stelter for not immediately calling Bolling out when he referred to former Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn as a “Goldman Sachs globalist.” Did Stelter not hear that particular dog whistle? If Bolling had referred to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “uppity,” would he have let that one go, too?

Bolling could not provide a coherent answer when Stelter brought up former Fox News contributor Ralph Peters’s criticism of the network. Bolling knows damn well he can’t smear Peters as a RINO, so he essentially whiffed the answer. Why bring the guy on if he can’t answer basic questions?

Look, this isn’t dump on CNN day. However, when influential news organizations provide a forum to extremism, those organizations need to be called out. CNN’s embrace of Santorum and Bolling is every bit as irresponsible as the New York Times op-ed page sucking up to the far right. The Fourth Estate cannot serve two masters, and organizations such as CNN cannot pledge allegiance to truth and right-wing agitprop at the same time.

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D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.