During a panel discussion on the April 9 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty described the Chinese government as "basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." In response, according to a report from the Associated Press from April 15, "China demanded an apology from CNN." "‘We are shocked and strongly condemn the vicious remarks by Cafferty,’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. ‘We solemnly request CNN and Cafferty himself take back the malicious remarks and apologize to the Chinese people.’"
Cafferty had also blasted China for the substandard quality of many of the products that it exports from the U.S. "[W]e continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart."
Apparently, pressure had already been brought to bear on CNN before spokeswoman Yu’s comments on April 15. According to the same AP report, "[CNN] Network spokeswoman Edie Emery at CNN headquarters in Atlanta pointed out that Cafferty made a clarification Monday [April 15] on ‘The Situation Room.’" Cafferty’s clarification: "I was referring to the Chinese government, and not to Chinese people or to Chinese-Americans."
This isn’t the first time Cafferty has received some notoriety for controversial remarks. In 2007, the Media Research Center, the parent organization of NewsBusters, awarded Cafferty the "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" for his theory about the apparent "coincidence" concerning the appearance of tapes from Osama bin Laden.
The full transcript of Jack Cafferty’s comments from the April 9 edition of "The Situation Room," along with host Wolf Blitzer’s question which preceded the comments:
WOLF BLITZER: One of the arguments that some of the pro-China elements is making, Jack, is that this is a very different China today than existed 10 years ago, certainly 20 or 30 years ago. This communist regime today is almost like a capitalist regime. They're a huge economic superpower and that we have a lot at stake in maintaining this economic relationship with China.
JACK CAFFERTY: Well, I don't know if China is any different, but our relationship with China is certainly different. We're in hawk to the Chinese up to our eyeballs because of the war in Iraq, for one thing. They're holding hundreds of billions of dollars worth of our paper. We also are running hundred of billions of dollars worth of trade deficits with them, as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart. So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years.
BLITZER: All right. Jack, stand by.