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CNN Omits Democrats' Sex Scandals, Zeroes-in on GOP

CNN's Ali Velshi, during a segment on Thursday's Newsroom program, ignored all the past sex scandals involving Democrats in recent years as he focused on "another sex scandal involving a leading Republican." When his guest, Tony Blankley, tried to counter with how these scandals are being used to try to get the GOP to abandon social issues, Velshi tried hard to brush this aside.

The segment with Blankley, which aired at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Velshi recapping the details about the most recent Republican sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and how legislators in the state were proceeding with possible impeachment of the executive. He then introduced his main point for the segment: "Okay, I'm going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It's hardly helping the party to resurrect its image."

After introducing his guest, Velshi referred to his point and asked, "I wasn't the first guy to say that. You've heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What's going on with the Republicans and scandals?" Blankley first rebuked Sanford and any Republican who had been caught in marital infidelity. He continued by making his point about the push to give up on family values: "As far as the party is concerned, although there's hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can't give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that."

The CNN substitute anchor immediately interrupted at this point: "Well, hold on, hold on- I know you're going down that road....We're not talking about whether the Republicans are a good party or whether they have family values." Velshi wouldn't let the strategist finish for a while, and pointed out the Republicans who have "been on record as criticizing a type of behavior as...carrying on about that type of behavior, and then coming forward as...being guilty of that sort of behavior....It's hypocrisy- you said it."

Blankley finally finished his point: "When you're for something that's good and you violate it, that's hypocritical. Hypocrisy is not a nice thing, but it's even worse to advocate something bad, as opposed to hypocritically advocating something good." He added that such behavior wouldn't make or break the GOP, but if "the Republicans don't have any message to give to the people and don't have a candidate, the Republicans will lose."

When the Republican strategist continued by naming some possible fiscal issues that President Obama may be vulnerable on, such as "the president's failed to recover the economy" and "if the deficits and the tax increases and the energy increases are a concern to the public," Velshi shifted to make his point via a different vector: "You're make- you're getting to a point that's close to my heart. I'm a financial journalist, and- and- and Sanford was a- a fiscal conservative, almost libertarian in his...way of talking about things, and there's a lot of people who say that voice is absent in Washington...Wouldn't it be easier if the Republicans got down to business on- on the fiscal policies and stayed out of this for a while?" Blankley's answer was cut short as the program ended.

There wasn't one point during the segment that the CNN anchor mentioned the impact of any of the diverse sex scandals that have involved Democrats in recent years- from Jim McGreevey and Eliot Spitzer to Kwame Kilpatrick, or even the barely mentioned infidelity of current New York Governor David Paterson.

The full transcript of the segment from the 3 PM EDT hour of the June 25 Newsroom program:

ALI VELSHI: If you're with us yesterday, you know we spent a lot of time talking about Mark Sanford, the South Carolina governor who admitted to an extramarital affair just moments before we went on-air. Since our show yesterday, a few important things have happened, so let's fill you in on that. First of all, The State newspaper in South Carolina published intimate e-mails purportedly exchanged between Sanford and his lover in Argentina. CNN has identified the woman as Maria Belen Chapur- little is known about her. The governor's wife said in statement the couple has embarked on a trial separation- that had started before this adventure. She says she asked Sanford to leave about two weeks ago. Lawmakers in South Carolina are saying that impeachment talks surrounding the governor concerns whether he misused state funds for his illicit encounters, or neglected his duties as governor.

Okay, I'm going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It's hardly helping the party to resurrect its image.

Joining me from Washington, Republican Tony Blankley- you'll probably remember, he was once the chief spokesman for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Tony, thanks for being with us.

TONY BLANKLEY: Delighted to be here.

VELSHI: I wasn't the first guy to say that. You've heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What's going on with the Republicans and scandals?

BLANKLEY: Well, look- I mean, I think anytime that a man breaches his marital vows, he's acting dishonorably. I think he should be deprecated by society. So, there's no defense for this conduct. As far as the party is concerned, although there's hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can't give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that. For instance, the child deduction increase to strengthen families that have children, welfare reform-

VELSHI: Well, hold on, hold on-

BLANKLEY: Wait, wait-

VELSHI: I know you're going down that road- hold on, that's not what we're talking-

BLANKLEY: No, no, no, no- I want- I want to make a point-

VELSHI: We're not talking about whether the Republicans are a good party or whether they have family values-

BLANKLEY: No, no. I'm making- I'm making a point that-

VELSHI: Yeah-

BLANKLEY: That the party stands for programs that help families. It stands-

VELSHI: No, I understand that- I understand, and I think America understands that.

BLANKLEY: And they can't- they can't switch to being in favor of bad policies-

VELSHI: What I'm having a hard time with is Republicans who have been on record- now, Sanford is not the worst offender in this one- but there are people who have been on record as criticizing a type of behavior as-

BLANKLEY: Yeah-

VELSHI: As carrying on about that type of behavior, and then coming forward as- as being guilty of that sort of behavior.

BLANKLEY: Look- look, I understand. When you're for some-

VELSHI: It's hypocrisy- you said it.

BLANKLEY: I did. When you're for something that's good and you violate it, that's hypocritical. Hypocrisy is not a nice thing, but it's even worse to advocate something bad, as opposed to hypocritically advocating something good. But look, this is not what the party is going to win or lose on in 2012. If Obama is popular, and the Republicans don't have any message to give to the people and don't have a candidate, the Republicans will lose. On the other hand, if the president's failed to recover the economy- if the deficits and the tax increases and the energy increases are a concern to the public- if the Republicans-

VELSHI: You're make- you're getting to a point that's close to my heart. I'm a financial journalist, and- and- and Sanford was a- a fiscal conservative, almost libertarian in his-

BLANKLEY: Yeah.

VELSHI: In his way of talking about things, and there's a lot of people who say that voice is absent in Washington- there's an absence of a voice of that. Wouldn't it be easier if the Republicans got down to business on- on the fiscal policies and stayed out of this for a while?

BLANKLEY: No. I think you need to- look, both I think both parties need to talk about all the things that the American public cares about. We care about the economy a lot, and we should. We also care-

VELSHI: Yeah- all right. I'm going to leave you on that because we're out of time. We got to take it over to Wolf, but Tony, good to talk to you. Thank you for being with us.

BLANKLEY: Good talking with you.

- Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.