Accuracy in Media

On CNN, a panel discussion erupted when a former Bush administration official brought up the topic during a conversation about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s racist photo and the dignity of life.

“What do you say to Democrats who say, “Hey, you know what, Republicans? Sit this one out,” asked CNN’s Jake Tapper, who was moderating the panel. “You’ve got Steve King, who’s still in the House of Representatives, you have a president who referred to African nations as S-H-I-T-hole countries, you know … we don’t need to hear from you on that.”

Scott Jennings, the former Bush aide, acknowledged the problems with race, then got to the heart of the matter.

“I think there are people all over this country of varying political stripes who still have a race problem,” he said. “They don’t get it. They don’t understand how hurtful things are. They don’t understand the policing issues we have in this country. They just don’t understand, they speak out of ignorance … frequently.

“But I want to touch on a comment you made and the phrase ‘human dignity’ because this was the second moment where Ralph Northam this week failed to respect human dignity. The first moment, of course, was when he made his absolutely ghoulish horrific statements about abortion.

“This was his second PR debacle of this week. Previous to this blackface/KKK robe moonwalking press conference, he was on a radio show – and he’s a pediatrician – talking about aborting children at the moment of birth and then even after they had been delivered.

“I agree with you Bakari [Sellers, a CNN analyst on the panel]. Human dignity matters, and we ought to respect every human life of every race, especially these poor babies who are laying in delivery rooms when you have governors of states that think we should have murdering them after they were born. … Outrageous … outrageous.”

Karen Finney, a Democratic political commentator who worked for the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, then jumped in.

“Ok, stop, stop, stop,” she said. “That’s a lie. What your saying is a ghoulish lie. “I’m on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America. That is a lie that the right wing has perpetuated.”

“Let’s hear what he said,” Jennings responded.

Finney interrupted again – attempting to change the subject and turn the accusation Virginia’s governor advocates infanticide into an attack on the alleged racism of Trump supporters.

“I heard what he said,” she said. “I don’t agree with what he said and the way he said it. But what we’re talking about is making sure that in those instances it is a woman and a doctor, not anyone at this table, or anyone in Congress, making the decision.

“That is not the same thing as what we were talking about when we were talking, what we started talking about racism in this country and we know that largely drove why people voted for Donald Trump in 2016. So, in 2020, this is the time when we are going to have to have that conversation. You want to have that conversation, we will do it.”

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