Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Don Lemon put the squeeze on Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over the events last week in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention that left many people wondering about her judgment and leadership skills.

Lemon started off the interview Saturday night by asking Wasserman Schultz about her remarks on Republicans and Israel. The Washington Examiner had reported her as saying that Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had told her that “what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”

Wasserman Schultz then accused the Examiner of misquoting her, saying that she never said that Republican policies were dangerous for Israel, but rather that what Republicans were doing by suggesting that there was “daylight” between the parties on Israel was what was “harmful” to Israel.

Lemon told Wasserman Schultz that maybe she didn’t say it, but she certainly “inferred” (sic) it, and that Oren denied that he ever made those remarks.

Wasserman Schultz disagreed with that assessment. But the problem for her is that she claims that she was misquoted, when a check of the Examiner story makes no mention of her using the word “policies” and was a very straightforward report of what she did say.

After realizing that she was going to stick to her talking points, Lemon moved on to the platform debacle in which the Democrats removed references to God and Jerusalem from their platform, only to reinsert them after a public outcry, in a very clumsy manner.

Lemon started off by playing the now famous clip of the platform vote that shows a contentious vote and a very confused Anthony Villaraigosa, the chairman of the convention. Villaraigosa finally made the decision to pass the platform changes after three voice votes in which it was clear that there was not a two-thirds majority, which was necessary to reinstate the language.

He then asked Wasserman Schultz, as the head of the Democratic National Committee, who was responsible for screwing up the language?

Wasserman Schultz said that when President Obama realized there was an omission, he insisted that they be reinserted.

Lemon wasn’t satisfied with her answer and told her that he had heard that “over and over and over again,” and that after the GOP convention which repeatedly mentioned God and Israel, that omitting them from the Democratic platform must have been intentional. He asked her if she shouldn’t have made sure there wasn’t an oversight, considering her position as the head of the DNC and being a Jewish-American?

Wasserman Schultz responded by saying that the platform was very pro-Israel, and reiterated that it was President Obama who insisted the language be reinserted so that the platform would be reflective of his personal views.

After a little more discussion of the platform language, Lemon then switched back to the controversial platform vote, asking why the teleprompter already included language stating that the necessary 2/3 vote was achieved?

Wasserman Schultz said that the anticipation was that they would get that 2/3 vote, and that’s what Villaraigosa heard and that’s why he called it that way. She also disputed the notion that there was any discord.

I know discord. Hearing a smattering of opposition when something’s proposed, we don’t do things completely unanimously nor do we require unanimity in our party.

A smattering of opposition? Was she hearing the same voice vote that everyone else heard? There was noticeable disagreement over the platform language, and no one said that there had to be unanimity, but in this case they needed at least a 2/3 vote of the delegates and they clearly didn’t get it. But Villaraigosa approved it anyway, in an attempt to avoid embarrassment, though the coverage after the vote made the Democrats look worse than if they had just had an honest vote to begin with.

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