On Wednesday's CNN Newsroom, host Brianna Keilar devoted a full segment to a college student in Michigan who will be an elector for Donald Trump when the Electoral College meets, and gave attention to his experience of receiving death threats from some who want him to change his vote.
After recalling some of the threats, Michael Banerian also informed viewers that, by Michigan law, he and other electors from the state must vote for the candidate who won Michigan's popular vote or else they would simply be replaced by someone else who would follow the law.
At 12:50 p.m., Keilar previewed the stories of vitriol from the left as she plugged the segment:
The election was a bitter pill to swallow for Hillary Clinton supporters -- so bitter for some that they're hoping it's not a done deal and that they can sway the Electoral College. I'm going to talk to an Electoral College voter next who says it's gone as far as death threats.
After a commercial break, Keilar began the segment by letting the Michigan college student recount his negative experience as an elector. Banerian:
This election cycle was pretty divisive and unfortunately it's bled over into the weeks following the election. And I have just been inundated with some death threats, death wishes, generally angry messages trying to get me to change my vote to Hillary Clinton or another person. And, unfortunately, you know, it's just gotten a little out of control.
The CNN host followed up:
But, in Michigan, I mean, aren't you required by law as an elector -- or the body of 16 electors -- are required to cast their votes in a certain way? It's not as if you have discretion here, right?
The Michigan elector responded:
Yeah, that's correct. If people would just Google it, I think they'd know a little bit more about the process. In the state of Michigan, we have laws that prevent faithless electors. And so, essentially, what happens is if I tried to vote for somebody else -- which, to be clear, I don't want to -- but if I tried to, I'd just be removed and replaced by another elector. So it's really a pointless endeavor.
Keilar then asked him to divulge more about the kinds of threats he had received, with Banerian elaborating:
I've had people talk about putting a bullet in the back of my mouth. I've had the death wishes of people saying, "I hope you die," or "Do society a favor and throw yourself in front of a bus." Just a lot of angry, angry messages. And, unfortunately, I think a lot of these people don't understand that threats over the internet are threats.
Just because you're behind a keyboard doesn't mean that they're not legitimate, and so I would hope that people would start to realize that, and also realize that, again, as electors from Michigan specifically, we don't even have the power to change our votes.
The CNN host then asked her guest to respond to former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's recent criticism of the Electoral College system, with Banerian voicing support for the system so that less populated states are not left with little power to influence a presidential election compared to states more heavily populated.
CBS Lets Dem Claim Millions Prevented from Voting, But Was Tougher on GOPer
Add CBS host John Dickerson to the list of journalists who have apparently not felt the need to press Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings when he claims that millions of Americans have been prevented from voting because of alleged "voter suppression" perpetrated by Republicans.
Reminiscent of ABC's George Stephanopoulos from last week's This Week, on yesterday's Face the Nation, Dickerson did not challenge Rep. Cummings on the issue, but, on December 4, the CBS host did repeatedly press then-White House chief of staff-designate about whether he believed Donald Trump's claims that millions voted illegally in the presidential election.
Addressing Priebus, the CBS host brought up the subject: "Let me ask you, as an incoming chief of staff, what do you do when he says something like millions of voters voted illegally in California when you know that that's not true?"
He then followed up: "But you think millions of people -- you think millions of people voted illegally?"
After Priebus responded that it was "possible," Dickerson pressed again: "There is no evidence that it happened in millions of votes in California. I guess the question is: When you're President, can you just offer a theory that has no evidence behind it? Or does he have to tighten up his standards of proof?"
On yesterday's show, during a discussion of Cummings's upcoming meeting with President Trump, the Democratic congressman brought up the issue:
I've got to talk to him about voting rights. You know, he talks about this voting fraud which is nonexistent, but he doesn't talk about all of the millions of people who have been denied their right to vote because of suppression. So I want to talk about things like that also.
Dickerson apparently did not notice that Cummings offered no proof of his claim as the CBS host responded; "And what about an agenda for the urban communities?"
The CBS host did not return to the issue as the next two follow-ups raised the issue of whether Democratic activists would tolerate Democratic members of Congress working with President Trump:
Relevant transcripts follow from CBS's Face the Nation:
December 4, 2016
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you, as an incoming chief of staff, what do you do when he says something like millions of voters voted illegally in California when you know that that's not true?
[REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF-DESIGNATE]
DICKERSON: But you think millions of people -- you think millions of people voted illegally?
REINCE PRIEBUS: It's possible.
DICKERSON: There is no evidence that it happened in millions of votes in California. I guess the question is: When you're President, can you just offer a theory that has no evidence behind it? Or does he have to tighten up his standards of proof?
FEBRUARY 19, 2017
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): I'm also going to, John, I've got to talk to him about voting rights. You know, he talks about this voting fraud which is nonexistent, but he doesn't talk about all of the millions of people who have been denied their right to vote because of suppression. So I want to talk about things like that also.
JOHN DICKERSON: And what about an agenda for the urban communities?
CUMMINGS; Definitely. I understand that he will be -- you know, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote him on January 19 -- he never answered the letter until a day or so ago. But they have laid out an agenda where they'll be meeting with him and trying to resolve some urban issues and issues throughout the country.
DICKERSON: And do you think you can work with him?
DICKERSON: There is a feeling among Democrats that I talk to -- lawmakers in the grassroots -- that there is a feeling that no Democrat can work with this President because the grassroots will say you're working with the enemy. The passion against this President is so hard in Democrats. Is it really realistic that Democrats are going to work with this President?
CNN's Lemon Cuts off GOP Guest, Rants About 'Fake News' Definition
At the end of Friday's CNN Tonight, during a panel discussion of the substantial costs of the Secret Service protecting President Donald Trump and his family, host Don Lemon lost his temper, ranted about the definition of "fake news," and ended up apparently ending the show early as he cut off conservative guest Paris Dennard because the CNN commentator refused to back down from deriding the segment as "fake news."
After liberal commentators Maria Cardona and Karine Jean-Pierre, and conservative commentator Andre Bauer had had their say, Lemon went to Dennard for the final word. Dennard began: "I think this is fake news. This is -- this is not a news story. Don-"
The CNN host bristled as he jumped back in: "Tell me what about it is fake, Paris. Are we going down this road again?"
The right-leaning commentator continued: "Let me just tell you why. The President is not breaking any laws, and he's not doing anything. It's not his fault-"
Instead of letting his guest finish having his say, Lemon jumped in again: "Okay, Paris, hold on, let me ask you this-"
After Dennard complained that he wanted to finish, Lemon promised to let him finish as he continued: "I'm going to let you finish. Do you actually know what the definition of 'fake news' is?"
The conservative CNN commentator responded: "What we're doing right now."
At this point, Lemon blew a gasket and spent more than a minute ranting about the definition of "fake news" and defending why he ran a report on the story before concluding his lecture: "Please stop it with that stupid talking point that it's a fake news story. If you don't want to participate in the news stories on this network, then don't come on and participate. But don't call them fake because you don't agree with them. Go on."
Finally allowed to speak again, Dennard calmly began his response: "Don, this is a fake news story, in my opinion, because the underlying assumption is that-"
At this point, Lemon cut in and ended the segment, displaying a disapproving facial expression as the show faded away into a commercial break: "Okay, Paris, thank you very much, everyone. Thanks, everyone. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. Good night, all."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, 17, CNN Tonight:
11:54 p.m. ET
DON LEMON: I want to bring in Paris now. Sorry, I hate to cut you guys short, but I want to get it all in before we have to go. Paris, what's your -- what do you think?
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is fake news. This is -- this is not a news story. Don-
LEMON: Tell me what about it is fake, Paris. Are we going down this road again?
DENNARD: Yeah, we are.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: Come on, Paris.
DENNARD: I didn't interrupt any of you all. Let me just tell you why. The President is not breaking any laws, and he's not doing anything. It's not his fault-
LEMON: Okay, Paris, hold on, let me ask you this-
DENNARD: No, no, no, let me finish.
LEMON: I'm going to let you finish. Do you actually know what the definition of "fake news" is?
DENNARD: What we're doing right now.
LEMON: No, then, okay, then you are a part of the fake news because you're on the network and you are a part of it. Fake news is when you -- hang on, let me explain to people out there watching what fake news is. Fake news is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it is wrong. I don't know of anyone who has put out a story in the mainstream media that I can think of right now to intentionally deceive anyone. Now, people get things wrong. Sources sometimes come up empty. But no one that I know has put out anything to intentionally deceive someone.
This story that we're doing right now is not to intentionally deceive anyone. We are simply talking about the cost to keep a President safe -- the Secret Service costs -- and what are the pros and the cons and, as Andre (Bauer) said, and if there are ways that we can maybe be able to work on that to make it fiscally better for the American people. There is nothing fake about that. Please stop it with that stupid talking point that it's a fake news story. If you don't want to participate in the news stories on this network, then don't come on and participate. But don't call them fake because you don't agree with them. Go on.
DENNARD: Don, this is a fake news story, in my opinion, because the underlying assumption is that-
LEMON: Okay, Paris, thank you very much, everyone. Thanks, everyone. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. Good night, all.