CNN's Rye Denies Black Poverty: 'I'm Not Impoverished,' My Friends 'Doing Well'

CNN on Monday displayed the latest example of the double standard that, while liberals are known for recounting social problems that disproportionately hit America's black population like poverty or shootings when they can promote liberal policy prescriptions like government spending or gun control, when conservatives raise these same issues with the promise of a conservative-based prescription, liberals react by finding nefarious motives or even deny that such substantial problems even exist.

On At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan, liberal CNN commentator Angela Rye spoke as if she were in denial of the economic and crime problems faced by much of the black population as she declared that "I'm not impoverished," and oddly boasted that "several" of her friends are middle class and "doing well in this country." She also declared that, referring to slavery, "we were barefoot on plantations building this country for free."

Conservative CNN political commentator Alice Stewart began praising Trump for talking about problems affecting the black population and invoked former Republican Congressman and 1996 vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp as making it a priority to try to help blacks economically. Stewart:

I firmly believe that Donald Trump's policies will be more beneficial to the African-American community. It's a way of how he articulates that, is the question. I think he can also incorporate some of Jack Kemp's policies of empowerment, providing a ladder to opportunity for them to lift themselves up out of their situation.

Rye bristled as she responded:

What situation, though? So that's part of the problem. So the fact that African-Americans are talked about as monolithic entities as, you know, we all need to pull ourselves up by our boot straps when we were barefoot on plantations building this country for free is highly problematic to me.

The liberal CNN commentator then added:

John (Berman), it's not about us all having to be lifted out of poverty. I'm not impoverished, and I have several middle class friends who are doing well in this country. And so I reject the notion that we constantly need to be talking about-

Last week, Rye similarly scoffed about Trump wanting to improve the crime situation blacks in some areas suffer through as she made a crack about how she had arrived to work that day without being shot. Rye: "The fact that he continues to say things like, 'You walk down the street without getting shot.' Surprise, Carol (Costello), I made it here this morning."

Returning to Monday's At This Hour, conservative CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany then jumped in to recall statistics on the wide disparities in the net worth between white and black households, and between the odds of a black American being murdered versus a white American. McEnany:

It is a fact -- and a very unfortunate one ...and Donald Trump's articulated this, that someone who looks like me, you know, makes, on average, $142,000, but someone who is of African-American heritage, they just make $11,000. That's their net wealth.

That's a problematic figure. It's problematic to me that an African-American male is six to eight times more likely to be killed than a white person. these are facts, and Donald Trump addressing them and trying to reach out, it's not, you know, talking down to an entire race. What he is doing is saying this isn't -- "There are people in inner cities, and I want to reach out some because I care about them and I want to help."

A week ago, while discussing Trump's appeals to black voters, liberal CNN political commentator and New York Times columnist Charles Blow was also offended that Trump would talk about trying to solve problems faced by black Americans as he claimed that "This is just a backhanded way of criticizing black people in front of white people."

But in June 2015, in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre that claimed the lives of nine black church members in a racially motivated attack, the issue of more government spending to alleviate disproportionately high levels of poverty and unemployment in South Carolina for the black population worked its way into a segment on CNN involving South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn. CNN New Day co-host Alisyn Camerota posed:

We have some statistics about what South Carolina looks like. South Carolina poverty rate for whites, 13 percent. For blacks, 30 percent. South Carolina per capita income, $28,000 for whites, $15,000 for blacks. Congressman, after this funeral, what will you go back to Congress and do? What will you change now?

Rather than complain that CNN noticed the problematic numbers, the Democratic congressman took the opportunity to pitch a plan that he had been promoting for years to spend more money in South Carolina communities to try to improve the economy..

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, August 29, At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan on CNN:

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, in regard to the outreach to the African-American community, and I think it's good that he is going finally to the African-American community, but I think at this stage if we minimize the conversation to what he said or she said in years past or in weeks past or in months past, we take away from the real issue here, is: What can the two of them do for the African-American community moving forward? Who has the policies that will help them economically with education, with health care.

And I firmly believe that Donald Trump's policies will be more beneficial to the African-American community. It's a way of how he articulates that, is the question. I think he can also incorporate some of Jack Kemp's policies of empowerment, providing a ladder to opportunity for them to lift themselves up out of their situation.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What situation, though?

STEWART: He needs to work on the tone in which he-

RYE: So that's part of the problem. So the fact that African-Americans are talked about as monolithic entities as, you know, we all need to pull ourselves up by our boot straps when we were barefoot on plantations building this country for free is highly problematic to me. John, it's not about us all having to be lifted out of poverty. I'm not impoverished, and I have several middle class friends who are doing well in this country. And so I reject the notion that we constantly need to be talking about-

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But Alice is not saying that about everyone.

RYE: I'm almost done, I'm almost done. I'm just saying that particular point strikes a cord with me, and your candidate more often than not goes to that refrain that's highly problematic. So I'm cautioning you all in your black outreach to get some other folks who won't just go to what's on TV, what's in the evening news, is problematic.

MCENANY: I'm not sure why the facts are talked about as problematic. It is a fact -- and a very unfortunate one --

RYE: No, no, I'm not talking about facts. I'm talking about tone.

MCENANY: -- and unfortunate one that this, and Donald Trump's articulated this, that someone who looks like me, you know, makes, on average, $142,000, but someone who is of African-American heritage, they just make $11,000.

That's their net wealth. That's a problematic figure. It's problematic to me that an African-American male is six to eight times more likely to be killed than a white person. these are facts, and Donald Trump addressing them and trying to reach out, it's not, you know, talking down to an entire race. What he is doing is saying this isn't -- "There are people in inner cities, and I want to reach out some because I care about them and I want to help."


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Campaign Watch 2016 Presidential Congress Crime Economy Unemployment Wages & Prices Education Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Poverty Race Issues CNN New Day Other CNN Video Angela Rye James Clyburn Alisyn Camerota Charles Blow Donald Trump