In recent days, CNN has put a major emphasis on “new” videos of the dreadful Jan. 6 Capitol riot, expressing outrage in heavy rotation over Republicans who would try to dismiss what happened as resembling a routine day of tourism. You can’t say the people there were “mostly peaceful.”
CNN even aired an hourlong anti-Republican prime-time special on Sunday, May 16, titled “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation of the GOP.” Host Fareed Zakaria began by lamenting how “An American president incited an angry mob to attack the U.S. Capitol.”
He concluded by decrying the GOP as “a band of ideological warriors with apocalyptic visions that fuel the end of days, see opponents as traitors and devils and believes that all methods are sanctioned in its battle to save civilization and itself.” He added, “In short, the Republican Party needs to have a political exorcism, drive out its demons and come to terms with the modern world.”
Just five days prior, Zakaria appeared on CNN to explain away Hamas’ launching hundreds of missiles at Israeli cities. No one in Gaza needs to have “a political exorcism.” They “have to” kill innocent people to get attention, he says. “What the Palestinians have to — I mean, they’re frustrated. They’re trying to get — uh — get some kind of attention.”
Speaking of cognitive dissonance, on the same Sunday night Zakaria was decrying Capitol rioters, CNN aired an episode of “United Shades of America” that celebrated the leftist protesters of Portland. Host W. Kamau Bell celebrated local Black Lives Matter street activists and gave a promotional interview to two masked people who were clearly leaders of the antifa movement.
He claimed: “After weeks of mostly peaceful protests, Donald Trump flooded Portland with federal agents to ‘protect federal buildings,’ unquote. … This kind of violent federal deployment over the objection of state and federal officials is not something most of us are used to seeing in America, and we shouldn’t get used to it.”
He didn’t explain the quote/unquote. On July 20, 2020, the federal courthouse in Portland was besieged by hundreds of protesters. They took hammers to the plywood protecting the building, broke windows and set fires. A few days later, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service reported about 19 deputies sustained “multiple traumatic injuries” from lasers, hammers and other items, and were “doused” with “unidentified chemicals” and hazardous chemicals including “bleach and human waste.”
Bell was so dishonest that he never acknowledged violence and property destruction from the leftist protesters, not for one lousy second. He even skipped the death of right-wing counterprotester Aaron Danielson last August, who was believed to have been murdered by a member of antifa. Bell painted the violence as coming 100% from federal agents and zero percent from the left.
Bell also decried attacks on people filming protests. “Thanks to Trump and his ‘fake news,’ covering protests in 2020 turned out to be dangerous,” he said. “Countless reports of law enforcement abusing the people trying to document the protests have come out of Portland.” Bell completely skipped over the fact that antifa typically reacts violently to being filmed, the most flagrant example being the 2019 attack on Portland journalist Andy Ngo, when he was punched in the head, kicked and pelted with “milkshakes” that contained quick-dry cement.
Rioters of all ideologies are wrong. But CNN’s view of rioting seems to depend on the ideology of the rioters. If you want to defund the police, abolish immigration enforcement and basically end the criminal justice system? Well, Bell says “that’s how democracy in America has always worked” in the streets and the courts. “Democracy” seems to work when a small group of radical rioters get to overrule millions of voters.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.