On Monday's New Day on CNN, co-host Michaela Pereira hosted a segment that slanted in favor of those on the left who are opposing current initiatives like the bathroom bill in North Carolina and the religious freedom bills in Georgia and Mississippi, with Pereira at one point fretting that the boycotts by businesses and entertainers will not be enough to thwart the measures. Speaking to Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD, the CNN anchor worried: "But, Sarah Kate, is that enough? Right? Is that enough? Is that going to build the momentum that you're looking for?"
The segment began with a clip of GOP presidential candidate John Kasich from Sunday's CBS Face the Nation speaking against the bills in North Carolina and Georgia before Pereira opened her questioning by sympathetically asking Ellis did it "feel good to you" that entertainers have been pushing boycotts. Pereira: "I can imagine that hearing this kind of support from the entertainment world has got to -- that's got to feel good to you."
After Pereira brought up "backlash" against Bruce Springsteen for canceling a concert in Mississippi, guest Larry Hackett -- formerly of People magazine -- complained that the religious freedom bills are "retrograde" and added, "It seems like it's going backwards, and I think performers are saying, 'We can't go backwards on this.'"
After Ellis recalled similar efforts to target Tennessee, the CNN host followed up, "But, Sarah Kate, is that enough? Right? Is that enough? Is that going to build the momentum that you're looking for?"
Ellis complained about "discrimination and hate" as she responded:
Well, I think when you start to see massive economic issues going to rise in your state because of discrimination and hate, it is forcing the governors and the legislators to take notice and act accordingly. It worked in Atlanta, in Georgia, excuse me, and I think, yes, it's going to work. The backlash that we're seeing in North Carolina is deep, and it's going to have massive economic ramifications for North Carolina, and we're seeing it in Mississippi as well.
After Pereira wondered if the pressure in these states could be "sustained," Hackett brought up the importance of support from the media as he responded:
MICHAELA PEREIRA: Can it be sustained, in your estimation?
LARRY HACKETT, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Well, I think, look, pressure is about the media. The media has to pay attention to this. And I think, like a lot of things, the media has a short attention span. As each new star comes out, it will be something we pay attention to. But once it starts to fade a little bit, they'll move on to the next thing.
No doubt, CNN will make the effort to plug the left-wing political agenda against these states, as it has done in recent weeks with anchors like Chris Cuomo and Victor Blackwell trying to undermine North Carolina's new law preventing men from using public restrooms reserved for women on state property.
In November, Pereira condescendingly complained that those opposing a transgendered student being allowed to use a girls' locker room in an Illinois school district "need education" and found the situation "frustrating."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, April 11, New Day on CNN:
JOHN KASICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, I don't want to force people to violate their deeply held religious convictions, but we'd have to see what that's all about. I wouldn't have signed that law, from everything I know. I haven't studied it, but Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, vetoed another one.
MICHAELA PEREIRA: There's Governor John Kasich speaking out against North Carolina's "bathroom bill," part of a wave of legislation in Southern states critics view as anti-LGBT. Businesses and celebrities part of the mounting backlash. Overnight, Canadian singer Bryan Adams canceled a show in Mississippi over its religious liberty bill after Bruce Springsteen canceled his concert in North Carolina, saying in a statement, quote, "Some things are more important than a rock show, and this fight against prejudice and bigotry -- which is happening as I write -- is one of them."
So much to discuss with Larry Hackett, former editor of People magazine. Sarah Kate Ellis is the CEO and president of GLAAD. Sarah Kate, I have to ask you, obviously -- pardon me, I've got a little bit of a frog in my throat this morning -- I can imagine that hearing this kind of support from the entertainment world has got to -- that's got to feel good to you.
[SARAH KATE ELLIS, GLAAD]
PEREIRA: Larry, so Bruce Springsteen, the Canadian artist Brian Adams, we see these artists sort of saying, "No, not on my watch, I can't with a clear conscience go to a place that doesn't support what I believe in." Are you expecting to see more of a wave from the entertainment industry speaking up?
[LARRY HACKETT, FORMER PEOPLE MAGAZINE EDITOR]
PEREIRA: But here's the thing, it does come, it can come with a cost because I know that Bruce Springsteen, after canceling his show in North Carolina in Greensboro, there was backlash. He received backlash. Some politicians even saying, "Hey, you know, you're being a bully here."
LARRY HACKETT, FORMER PEOPLE MAGAZINE EDITOR: And it's always an issue when performers start wandering into politics. Now, I think there's a difference between electoral politics, now I think there's a difference between electoral politics -- backing a candidate -- and something like this. This seems retrograde.
PEREIRA: Social issues.
HACKETT: It seems like it's going backwards, and I think performers are saying, "We can't go backwards on this."
PEREIRA: Well, we know Tennessee Equal Project and GLAAD are calling for the country music industry to speak out. Do you anticipate that you're going to hear big stars in country music, Sarah Kate, coming forward in support?
PEREIRA: But, Sarah Kate, is that enough? Right? Is that enough? Is that going to build the momentum that you're looking for?
SARAH KATE ELLIS, GLAAD: Well, I think when you start to see massive economic issues going to rise in your state because of discrimination and hate, it is forcing the governors and the legislators to take notice and act accordingly. It worked in Atlanta, in Georgia, excuse me, and I think, yes, it's going to work. The backlash that we're seeing in North Carolina is deep, and it's going to have massive economic ramifications for North Carolina, and we're seeing it in Mississippi as well. So I don't think any state really wants to put themselves in harm's way economically, and the country music industry is the cornerstone of Tennessee. It's a nearly $10 billion industry.
PEREIRA: I was just about to say, it doesn't just translate into good times and fun, it is a big business. And we're talking about the businesses that have already sort of said -- I think there's more than 120 that have come out and said, "Not on our watch, we don't want to be a part of it." The NBA threatening to move their all-star game. Other companies saying that we're not going to do business in those states that have those laws.
HACKETT: And the pressure has to be on various levels. It's one thing to say, "I'm not going to have a rock concert and go onto Twitter. I think if you're a corporation, you're going to go to the corridors of power and say, "Listen, you got to change this, you got to modify this." So I think it's on these various levels. I think the key is to maintain the pressure.
PEREIRA: Can it be sustained, in your estimation?
HACKETT: Well, I think, look, pressure is about the media. The media has to pay attention to this. And I think, like a lot of things, the media has a short attention span. As each new star comes out, it will be something we pay attention to. But once it starts to fade a little bit, they'll move on to the next thing.
PEREIRA: And you make a good point -- Sarah Kate -- and the media would argue that the entertainment industry has a short attention span. There is a danger in it seeming faddish, or it's the cause du jour. How do you keep that momentum sustained?
ELLIS: I think since marriage equality passed in June, we've seen a tremendous amount of backlash. There's over 100 anti-LGBT bills across this country, and so I don't think it's a one-trick pony. I think that each time one of these comes up, you're going to see a lot of people standing up and taking a stand against them because this is not American values. This is not how we do business in America. Hate and discrimination have no place in our country.
PEREIRA: Look in your crystal ball a little bit, Larry. I like to do this with you. Do you think this is a turning point?
HACKETT: I think it is. I think it's fascinating. I didn't realize that there were 100 of these bills pending elsewhere. I think people who are thinking about passing these bills may think twice about it. It's just not worth the attention. And, like with lots of legislation, they'll try to find some other way to get whatever it is they want to get accomplished. accomplished.
PEREIRA: And some are seeing this as another way to get what they wanted accomplished by introducing these bills. And it's true what you say, is that this has the optic effect, but then it also has the bottom line effect.