Accuracy in Media


CNN has pushed back against the notion that Democrats protesting Brett Kavanaugh last weekend in Washington and around the country had become a “mob.”

With evidence mounting Americans have come to agree with that characterization and the midterm elections less than a month away, CNN took on the notion directly.

In a panel discussion Tuesday, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin lit into Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist for the Daily Beast.

Baldwin asked Lewis: “Matt, do you think Trump’s strategy … really the Republicans’ strategy … of  ‘weaponizing’ Brett Kavanaugh … if they just do this for the next four weeks, do you think this is a winning strategy?”

Lewis responded: “I definitely think it’s a winning strategy for the midterms. There could be long-term consequences that we look back at this moment and say that this was one moment on our way to Republicans having a demographic problem.

“But in terms of the midterms, Mary Katharine [Ham, another conservative on the panel] is exactly right. Democrats are already motivated. Nothing that happened last week is going to matter to the person who is already upset about all the other things Donald Trump has done.

“Democrats were motivated, passionate, angry. They are either going to turn out or they’re not. Republicans, they’re the team that needed the excitement, the passion, the energy. They didn’t have it. In midterms, that’s what matters for turnout, and now I think they do. And it’s because I believe it’s the overreaction of the left … when you see people like Ted Cruz getting chased out of restaurants by a mob.”  

Baldwin cut him off. “Oh, you’re not going to use the ‘mob’ word,” she said. “I will,” Lewis responded. “It is without a doubt a mob.”

Baldwin cut him off again. “Matt, Matt, Matt … Matt. Stop, stop. A mob, a mob is … what we saw in Charlottesville, Va., two Augusts ago.”

“No, I think both …” Lewis tried to interject.

“A mob is not what we saw chasing … I’m not saying what they did was right,” Baldwin responded.

Lewis continued: “What about the people who were at the Supreme Court banging on the walls. What do you call that? Civil protest? Or is that a mob? I think it’s easily a mob.”

Baldwin put her face in her hands, and Ham piped up: “If it were Tea Partiers, we’d call it a mob for sure. Let’s be serious.”

Baldwin chose to leave it at that. “Let me move past the ‘M’ word because I do feel like that is part of the weaponization of what’s happening now on the right,” she said.

CNN’s Byron Wolf met the controversy in “Trump on offense after Kavanaugh confirmation,” published Monday.

“Election Day in less than one month. Brett Kavanaugh headed to the Supreme Court. And American voters – maybe mobs of them – will head to the polls,” Wolf wrote.

“The long-term accomplishment [of getting Kavanaugh confirmed] could come with a very bitter pill if voters, particularly women and independents, are turned off by what it took to get Kavanaugh seated.”

So far, this has not been the case. One poll found 15 percent of independent women had moved toward Republicans in the wake of the Kavanaugh controversy, and Republican candidates from Nevada to Tennessee have seen bumps in the polls as a result.

Wolf did not bring up any of the positive polling results for Republicans. But he did write that “There is evidence that the court, which is usually a more motivating issue for Republicans, could drive Democrats to the polls this year.” And he did advise voters to “Look for new polling to see if Kavanaugh’s confirmation compounds the anger of Democrats.”




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