CNN's new normal? Two more expletives dropped on Thursday
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It happened again. 

And again.  

On CNN. 

In primetime.

Again. 

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On Don Lemon's CNN Tonight, which has a knack for featuring explosive, passionate, sometimes out-of-control panels on touchy subjects like race, we got both an a-bomb and an s-bomb by actor Graham Beckel in the same segment. 
 
But if Beckel has been watching CNN recently, he likely thought such rhetoric was completely the new normal. 

Why? Because this follows Wednesday night's use of "loudmouth d---" by guest Liz Mair — as it pertained to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP lawmakers preparing to vote on bill allowing migrant children to be detained longer than 20 days: report Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters Ex-White House ethics chief: Sarah Sanders tweet violates ethics laws MORE. Mair was rewarded by appearing on the network again later that night. 
 
A week prior, anchor Fareed Zakaria called Trump a "bulls--- artist." 

Some have since argued that Trump is both of those things and therefore deserves it. Those making that argument spectacularly are missing the point. 

How? Well, there was a time not too long ago -- December -- when two Fox News contributors also used language unbecoming of a cable news network, even of the cable news variety.

On the noon opinion program, "Outnumbered", Stacey Dash said President Obama "doesn't give a (s-bomb) about terrorism." Earlier that morning, Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters called the president the p-word (a word one would put in front of the word "cat that also means wimp). 

Unlike the media reaction after Zakaria and Mair's comments, which had the pom-poms out in full force for both, Dash and Peters were roundly booed. Talk about selective outrage... 
 
Bottom line: Swearing and words not meeting up to cable news/opinion programming standards is completely unacceptable... except if you're going after a candidate we don't plan on voting for. Check. 

In my column later that day, I called for both Dash and Peters to be suspended (they were shortly thereafter). The target of their expletives (a sitting president) was irrelevant just as it is with the Republican nominee. 

Why? Simple logic: 

On HBO's Real Time, the host and guests can say whatever they wish. On Sirius XM's POTUS or Insight or Progress, there are no FCC regulations, no rules. Consumers pay specifically for HBO or Sirius. They know what they're getting... 

Fox News, CNN or MSNBC, while not FCC-regulated news channels with certain rules around language, still need to understand who their audiences are and what is expected of them in terms of (relatively) respectable discourse. If CNN wants to be the network version of Bill Maher or The Daily Show without the beeps, simply declare it. 

Are sharp elbows thrown, especially in an election year? Of course. Arguments can get heated. But the true professionals, those with the intellect, the street smarts, the ability to be spontaneous, quick-witted, authentic, and tempered simultaneously... those are the people who get the most attention, the biggest spots, the most respect. 

It would be so fascinating to witness someone actually turning the tables on the whole "loudmouthed d---" argument. Fascinating as in... what if a guest decided to call Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonColorado governor teases possible presidential run Mueller asks judge for September sentencing for Papadopoulos House Judiciary Committee subpoenas FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts MORE a loudmouth c-bomb? 
 
Same concept, different gender and most importantly, different political party. 

Twitter would melt. The Internet would break. 

And if someone did say just that on CNN, would they be invited back on that same night? 

Would the media celebrate that person too in the same manner it did with Liz Mair? 
 
Rhetorical questions, of course...

Either way, the network better send out a short, stern memo to all anchors, hosts, producers, bookers and on-air contributors stating without ambiguity that this needs to stop. 

Sure, it may feel like the provocative style is creating buzz and therefore better ratings, but it's just not. Note: CNN is doing very well lately. It beat Fox News in primetime and in the key 25-54 demographic in July. And not one time during that programming did anyone feel the need to be edgy to the point of dropping any kind of a-b-d-f-or-s-bomb. 

But if CNN continues to ignore the problem, this kind of rhetoric will only be a daily and nightly occurrence on a network that prides itself of being above it all. 

Because if there's one thing cable news is famous for, it's this: 

One-upmanship. 
 
Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.
The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.