A U.S. congressman has said that CNN’s political bias is so manifest that it influences every story the network airs.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) critiqued the cable news network’s ideologically driven coverage after a high-profile showdown with “New Day” host Brianna Keilar over his exclusion from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Rep. Donalds, who is serving his first term in Congress, has yet to have his application to join the Democrat-dominated CBC approved, seven months after taking office. In an interview last month, Keilar suggested that Donalds should blame the delay, not on the CBC’s liberal political orientation, but on his conservative views and support for former President Donald Trump.
“Do you think your defense of [Trump] might be incongruent with the mission of the CBC?” Keilar pressed Donalds. She interrupted his answer, saying accusatorially, “You defended him.”
“First of all, what the president said in the past has nothing to do with this discussion at all,” Rep. Donalds said at the time. “As a black man in America, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts on who I choose to support and who I choose not to support.”
“This is whether the ideology of somebody who is conservative is welcome in the Congressional Black Caucus,” he continued during the June 10 interview. “It’s really that simple.”
Keilar: Your ideas are “incongruous” with their “mission"
Donalds: "As a black man in America, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts" pic.twitter.com/vN9j4KXpNh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 10, 2021
Rep. Donalds reflected on the interview during Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit over the weekend.
“Brianna Keilar tried to prove a point that she knows more about what black voters want than I do, or frankly than anybody does,” Donalds said, according to Fox News. “Or that if you somehow supported Donald Trump … you aren’t allowed to speak for black people and that’s the reason why you’re excluded.”
“Yes, I’m a conservative Republican, but I think in the black community, we have a wide range of political thought,” said Rep. Donalds. “The CBC tends to be [dominated by] Democrat or liberal voices, and I want to bring change to that.”
He attributed the success of the interview to the fact that “I pushed back” against Keilar’s statements, and he said he would continue to expose CNN and MSNBC’s bias.
“I wasn’t gonna allow her to set a narrative. I wasn’t gonna allow her to interrupt me, trying to push in another point that she wanted to put in. I’m not going to do that,” the congressman said. “If CNN and MSNBC want to interview me, I’m very cordial, very nice. But if you try to interrupt me to push in your agenda items, I’m gonna stop you dead in your tracks, and we’re going to get back to the business of the interview.”
While CNN presents itself as “the most trusted name in news,” the first 24-hour cable news network dependably hews to the Democratic Party line.
“The people at CNN — they have an agenda. They have a political agenda,” Donalds continued. “Let’s be very clear.”
CNN’s anchors “have a political viewpoint. The political viewpoint moves forward on everything they report,” he added. “And it’s not just the anchors. It’s the producers, and it’s the people at the top of the organization.”
Rep. Donalds said the left-of-center network has only itself, and its single-minded focus on former President Donald Trump, to blame for its low ratings.
“There’s plenty of things to be talking about, not to mention mismanagement the federal level of massive overspending and inflation going on, but they wanna do is talk about Trump,” Donalds said. “So, they do it to themselves.”
Nielsen ratings showed that for the two weeks following the Surfside condominium collapse — when CNN and MSNBC focused on covering breaking news from Florida as well as devoting coverage to Britney Spears’ conservatorship case — their ratings increased markedly. CNN experienced double-digit growth in its audience over that time, followed by a rapid decline.
That growth evaporated when they returned to their monochromatic, politically themed coverage. CNN lost one of every five of its prime time viewers during the week of July 5.
“New Day” had its lowest ratings in almost seven years that week, attracting only 433,000 total viewers.
“That’s not me. That’s them,” said Rep. Donalds.