CNN Boosts Guest's Racial 'Double Standard' Claim About Anti-Federal Protest

Tuesday's CNN Newsroom gave a platform to left-wing commentator David Love, who asserted in a Monday column for theGrio.com that "if Black Lives Matter protesters were to take over a federal building armed to the teeth with firepower — and they certainly would not do this — they would wind up dead or in prison for life on terrorism charges." Love criticized the handling of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon: "It seems that this country has a double standard. I would say it's a color-coded system when it comes to defining terrorism." [video below]

Anchor Brooke Baldwin led into the segment with the columnist by detailing that "with these protesters vowing to stay for the long haul, experts say law enforcement should just wait them out. Others beg to differ. They say it would be a much different story if the occupiers were — say, Muslims, African-Americans." After reading his "they would wind up dead or in prison for life on terrorism charges" claim, Baldwin added that her guest was "calling out the double standard here in Oregon."

Love replied with his "color-coded system" phrase, and continued that "throughout the years, black people have been criminalized, and...it seems that white people, when they have guns; roam around; take over a federal building; it's okay...no need for concern....I'd argue that if this group had been black or brown and Muslim...there would be a much different response — actually, a violent response."

The CNN anchor followed up by gently playing devil's advocate: "I can hear the critics of...your, sort of, thesis...saying, well, hang on a second. You know, these armed protesters in Oregon...They're not destroying property. No one's in imminent danger there. What would your response to them be?" The Grio writer retorted, in part, that "it's good that they're not destroying property, but...terrorism goes far beyond just...destroying property. The fact is, is that they're...armed to the teeth. They are in possession of a federal building."

Baldwin tossed one final softball question at Love before ending the segment: "You mentioned a word a second ago — I had a separate guest on from the Washington Post [Janell Ross on January 4, 2016] who would agree with you — and she used the word 'terrorism.' Would you call this terrorism?" Love affirmed that this was the case, and added that "you have these...white militia groups who go around carrying their weapons. And it's not just a matter of making a political statement, but they know that they are instilling fear into the hearts and minds of people; and that's why they're effective."

A day earlier, on the January 4, 2016 edition of CNN Newrsoom, fill-in anchor Deborah Feyerick touted how unnamed "critics" were comparing the group in Oregon to Islamist terrorists: "Everybody remembers Ruby Ridge...and the government certainly does not want something like that. But...critics are arguing that if this was another group...there are different hashtags out there now mocking this group, calling them 'Vanilla ISIS;' calling them 'Yeehadists'....if this were members of ISIS...who had taken over a facility, is it fair to say the response would, in fact, be very, very different?"

The full transcript of the David Love segment from the January 5, 2016 edition of CNN Newsroom:

BROOKE BALDWIN: With these protesters vowing to stay for the long haul, experts say law enforcement should just wait them out. Others beg to differ. They say it would be a much different story if the occupiers were — say, Muslims, African-Americans.

My next guest, David Love, just wrote an article addressing that very issue for theGrio.com. David Love, great to see you, sir. Welcome.

DAVID LOVE, CONTRIBUTOR, THEGRIO.Com: Thanks a lot, Brooke — great to be with you.

[CNN Graphic: "Tense Face-Off: What If Oregon Occupiers Were Black Or Muslim?"]

BALDWIN: Let me — let's get right to it. Let me just read part of what you've written here. You say, flat out — quote, 'Here's a question worth asking right now: what would happen if 150 armed Black Lives Matter protesters occupied a federal building?' Go on to write this: 'If Black Lives Matter protesters were to take over a federal building armed to the teeth with firepower — and they certainly would not do this — they would wind up dead or in prison for life on terrorism charges.' So, you are calling — calling out the double standard here in Oregon.

LOVE: Oh, yes — no question. It seems that this country has a double standard. I would say it's a color-coded system when it comes to defining terrorism. Throughout the years, black people have been criminalized, and — you know, it seems that white people, when they have guns; roam around; take over a federal building; it's okay — no really — really, no — no need for concern. It seems that law enforcement doesn't really care. But I'd — I'd argue that if this group had been black or brown and — Muslim — you know, there would be a much different response — actually, a violent response.

[CNN Graphic: "Critics: Protesters Should Be Treated As Terrorists; Say police handling of Oregon occupiers represents a double standard"]

BALDWIN: What about — you know, I can — I can hear the critics of what — of your, sort of, thesis — would be saying, well, hang on a second. You know, these armed protesters in Oregon — yes, they may be armed. They're not destroying property. No one's in imminent danger there. What would your response to them be?

LOVE: Well, it's good that they're not destroying property, but it's — I believe that terrorism goes far beyond just — you know, destroying property. The fact is, is that they're heavily armed — armed to the teeth. They are — you know, they are in possession of a federal building. It seems like they want something to happen, and I don't think — I don't think it's a good thing — whatever it is that they expect to happen. So, you know, you can't have people just taking over government property with guns and expecting to die, or to — you know, kill or be killed. I think it's — it's a recipe for disaster.

[CNN Graphic: "Armed Protesters: We're In It For The Long Haul; Say they're prepared to occupy federal building for months; Sheriff To Protesters; Time To Leave, Go Home; Tells group its help ended with armed occupation of federal building"]

BALDWIN: You mentioned a word a second ago — I had a separate guest on from the Washington Post [Janell Ross on January 4, 2016] who would agree with you — and she used the word 'terrorism.' Would you call this terrorism?

LOVE: Oh, definitely; definitely. It's — you know, it's not just a matter of violence, but it's the use of force; threatening; and intimidating. You know, it's not just an issue of killing people, God forbid, but it's an issue of them being there in a forceful situation. They plan to — you know, they plan to be involved in acts of violence, if necessary; and it's clear that — you know, these days, you have these militia groups — these white militia groups who go around carrying their weapons. And it's not just a matter of making a political statement, but they know that they are instilling fear into the hearts and minds of people; and that's why they're effective. It's because of the threat that they feel that they pose to these people — to the public in general.

BALDWIN: The federal government says they're monitoring — the FBI. We wait to see how long this thing could go on. David Love with theGrio.com, thank you for your perspective.

LOVE: Thanks for having me.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center