CNN Condemns Threats Against Pro-ObamaCare Reps, 'Death of a President' OK
Published: 3/25/2010 1:44 PM ET
On Thursday's American Morning, CNN's John Roberts repeatedly decried the "troubling language" against pro-ObamaCare congressman which "violate any sense of common decency." But his own program over three years earlier helped promote a controversial 2006 movie which forwarded an imaginary assassination attempt against then-President George W. Bush. Just after the top of the 6 am Eastern hour, Roberts responded to a report by correspondent Carol Costello on ten Democratic representatives' request for extra security after their reportedly received threatening messages: "Wow. It really is, as you said, at the top, it is troubling, some of the language out there."
An hour later, at the top of 7 am Eastern hour, the anchor expanded on his earlier thought as he introduced a report from correspondent Brianna Keilar: "The message from emotional voters to Capitol Hill this morning could not be clearer: 'Go to hell.' From profanity-laden voicemails to faxes with Nazi insignias on them, thousands of Americans are venting their anger, in some cases, extremely inappropriately. The shouting is not bound to the Beltway. At least ten members of Congress with home districts stretching all the way from New York to Arizona have reported either harassment, vandalism, or outright death threats."
After Keilar's report, Roberts gave another commentary on the reported threats: "You know, it's one thing to express your displeasure, but these type of threats- I mean, they violate any sense of common decency." Later in the hour, he echoed Rick Sanchez's insinuations that conservatives/Republicans were somehow responsible for the threats: "This morning's top stories just minutes away now, including the FBI investigating reports of vandalism and death threats aimed at Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Is the rhetoric in Washington responsible?"
Later in the 7 am hour, during an interview of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Roberts asked the Democrat about the alleged incidents:
ROBERTS: Congressman Louise Slaughter who had a couple of incidents, a brick thrown through an office window, as well as a voice mail left something about a sniper said, quote, 'It's more disturbing to me that the Republican leadership has not condemned these attacks and instead, appears to be fanning the flames with coded rhetoric.' But the Minority Leader John Boehner did come out yesterday and did say this is not the way to do things. It's not the American way. What- do you need to hear anything else from the leadership?
The anchor also read viewer comments which blamed the Republicans for the reported harassment. During the 6 am hour, Roberts read an e-mail from a Bob in Houston who equated the GOP with terrorists: "The Republicans are committing acts of domestic terrorism because they disagree with President Obama's health insurance reform plan. They accused the terrorists of palling around with terrorists in the 2008 election, and now, they are using terrorism in the political process." About two hours later, he read another anti-Republican letter which included a suggestion of retaliation: "Sarah Palin, Senator McCain, and all the top Republican senators are all getting out of control, seems to me, since they cannot win on the argument on the House floor. Let's get some people to threaten them. The threats and name-calling by the Republicans make them look like a bunch of kindergartners. They pretend they care about the unborn babies and then they encourage all of this violence."
Roberts did read one e-mail from the other side however which was critical of the mainstream media: "Calling someone a scumbag no matter how uncouth is not a threat of violence. I have heard similar ugly comments from liberal radicals against President Bush and Republicans in the past. Those did not seem to command the same amount of media attention."
Despite these condemnations from the American Morning program in the present day against Democrats, they had not problem with devoting a four-minute segment to promoting director Gabriel Range's "Death of a President" and its hypothetical scenario where former Republican President Bush was assassinated. Then-anchor Miles O'Brien acted very mildly during the interview, and tossed softball questions to the director. Only once did O'Brien ask, "Do you think what you're doing is responsible? Does this inspire, perhaps, somebody who might wish to do harm to the President?"
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.