On Sunday afternoon, in the wake of the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) resorted to demagoguing the issue of mass shootings, tweeting, “We need to call it out: Fox News is a hate-for-profit machine that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”
Note that Warren specifically targeted Fox News for giving “a megaphone to racists and conspiracists,” which is not surprising, since Fox News is not one of the many networks that lean to the left and thus sympathetic to Warren’s own leftist positions which are seemingly getting more hard-left as the presidential campaign continues.
Curiously, Warren did not name CNN, and did not name MSNBC, both networks warmly sympathetic to left-wing views, despite the fact that MSNBC regularly features Reverend Al Sharpton, whose racism was denounced in a resolution sponsored by current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough when he was a congressman in 2000 and later denounced by radio host David Webb, who is black, in 2016.
CNN, meanwhile, featured white nationalist Richard Spencer on Jake Tapper’s “The Lead” in mid-July. Spencer stated on CNN , “Many white nationalists will eat up this red meat that Donald Trump is throwing out there. I am not one of them. I recognize the con game that is going on… He gives us nothing outside of racist tweets. And by racist tweets I mean tweets that are meaningless and cheap and express the kinds of sentiments you might hear from your drunk uncle while he’s watching Hannity.”
Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, told The Daily Beast, ““The CNN anchors didn't understand that Spencer was trying to position Trump as a moderate and to mock other white supremacists who supported Trump. Spencer was saying that Trump was performing racism on Twitter, but that his policies do not go far enough to be considered support for white supremacists goals.” She added, “Spencer will turn this into a new wave of attention within his own media ecosystem, where CNN has now just legitimated a litany of white supremacists, many of who were relegated to online obscurity.”
The day after Spencer’s appearance, a CNN staffer reached out to Fox News anonymously, saying, “I thought I had seen it all at CNN, then this. I guess any guest they think can embarrass Trump. What’s next, a Klansman wearing a hood?” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor echoed, “They help a white supremacist scumbag push his agenda on national TV. All to do damage to the president. CNN is trying desperately to divide our nation.”
Former CNN senior digital producer Steve Krakauer snapped, “CNN has on-air debates among hosts over the journalism ethics of interviewing Kellyanne Conway and other members of the Trump administration, but apparently putting Richard Spencer on the air is a no-brainer. Whoever made this shameful decision should be fired.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter defended the decision to interview Spencer in his newsletter, stating:
When news outlets are covering the scourge of racism, should the coverage incorporate interviews with racists? The question is back on the front burner because white nationalist leader Richard Spencer was interviewed by CNN … To say that figures like Spencer should never ever be interviewed on-air seems like a black and white answer in a world of gray. Instead, it should be about ‘”how” they are incorporated into the coverage. And that’s an important conversation to keep having.