CNN has discovered that Democratic presidential hopeful Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is a white male — and they are not happy about it. The cable network went into race-baiting overdrive following the announcement of O’Rourke’s candidacy, airing hours of feverish handwringing over whether Beto’s “white maleness” rendered him an unacceptable choice for the Democratic Party nominee.
MRC analysts looked at all of CNN’s coverage from March 14 (the first full day after O’Rourke’s announcement) and found 52 instances in which talking heads criticized Beto for being both white and a male. Those cases included only mentions by hosts, analysts, or outside journalists — not politicians or Democratic operatives.
Watch the video below for some of CNN’s most obnoxious commentary about Beto’s hapless existence as a “privileged white male”:
Misgivings about Beto’s racial and chromosomal makeup were front and center on CNN’s New Day that morning. During the 6:00 a.m. Eastern hour, co-host John Berman helpfully explained O’Rourke’s biology to viewers: “O’Rourke is a white male. And he’s conscious of his white maleness.” We rate this statement True.
However, Berman saw that fact as a problem for the 46-year-old failed Senate candidate: “This is seen as a moment by some where Democrats want to nominate either a woman or a minority. Beto O’Rourke is neither of those things.”
Two hours later on the same show, Berman’s co-host Alisyn Camerota reiterated her colleague’s concerns — albeit with verbiage that one would not usually expect to hear on a liberal news channel: “One of the big debates is whether 2020 is the year of the white man.” Camerota's peculiar rhetoric aside, 2020 is actually the year of the rat according to the Chinese Fortune Calendar website.
That morning during the 9:00 a.m. Eastern hour of CNN Newsroom, co-host Jim Sciutto warned potential Beto supporters that “a lot of the energy in the party right now is not for a white man.” However, CNN political commentator Kirsten Powers pushed back against that assessment the following hour, lamenting that even in the current year, there was “still an issue in this country where people just get very, very excited about white men.”
Later, afternoon CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin grimaced at O’Rourke’s claim that he was “born to be in” the race. “Gosh, you know, to say that, it just sort of drips of white, male privilege,” she spat during the 3:00 p.m. Eastern hour.
As the day wore on, the once-beloved Beto’s status as a white male even began to muddle the analysis of his voting record. During AC360, Anderson Cooper remarked: “O’Rourke is, if you look at his record, a moderate.” With visible discomfort, he then added, “He’s also a white male.”
It’s worth noting that the Democratic Party hasn’t had a presidential nominee who ticked both the “white” and “male” boxes since 2004. That fact alone is not proof that such a person could never be viable in future Democratic primaries. But perhaps it is evidence, especially considering how much trouble it's given Beto over the past 24 hours.