CNN Chyron Slams Sessions Over Being ‘Dogged’ for Decades with ‘Racism Allegations’

Hours after Carol Costello kicked off the media hysteria on Friday over President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of “controversial” Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (Ala.) to become Attorney General, CNN Newsroom afternoon anchor Brooke Baldwin hyped that Sessions will be bombarded with racism allegations from his past to the point that the chyron ruled he’s been “dogged” by such claims.

Later on in the same block at the top of the 2:00 p.m. Eastern hour, liberal commentator Angela Rye questioned Sessions’ qualifications on the grounds of his opposition to the Voting Rights Act and fretted about the future of the activist Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.

Baldwin began to “drill down” on Sessions by giving this blinder-like primer to viewers:

Senator Sessions’ nomination is not without controversy. Lets me take you back 30 years. Then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination. A black former U.S. Assistant Attorney testified that Sessions called him “boy” when he worked for him. Sessions adamantly denied these allegations of racism against him and still does to this very day.

All the while, CNN producers went with this as the chyron: “The Transition; Trump Atty General Pick Dogged by Racism Allegations.”

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She then tossed to Justice correspondent Pamela Brown by wondering “[h]ow likely is it that these decades old allegations of racism will hurt his chances of becoming AG” as part of a similar strategy employed by the media back in 2000 and 2001 with John Ashcroft’s nomination for the same job.

“These allegations of racist comments that he made decades ago, Brooke, will likely come up during the confirmation hearings....Jeff Sessions at the time has said those allegations are false, that he is not a racist, that he despises the KKK but that doesn't mean, Brooke, that this won't resurface during the confirmation hearings along with his civil rights record,” Brown explained.

Always quick to bounce on conservatives, Rye chimed in as part of a panel a few minutes later by complaining that, in Sessions, we “have someone who’s running to be — or in the running to be the attorney general nominee and he doesn't believe in voting rights legislation.” 

“So what does that really mean? That means that the Civil Rights Division, which I would argue is one of the most important right now thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is he going to gut those if he doesn't see the point,” she whined.

The relevant portions of the transcript from CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin on November 18 can be found below.

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
November 18, 2016
2:03 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Transition; Trump Atty General Pick Dogged by Racism Allegations]

BROOKE BALDWIN: Let's drill down, though, a little bit more on Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions the man Mr. Trump would like to be the nation’s top prosecutor. Senator Sessions’ nomination is not without controversy. Lets me take you back 30 years. Then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination. A black former U.S. Assistant Attorney testified that Sessions called him “boy” when he worked for him. Sessions adamantly denied these allegations of racism against him and still does to this very day.

(....)

BALDWIN: Let's go to Pamela Brown, our Justice correspondent in Washington with more on Senator Sessions. He's been a U.S. Senator, Pam, for nearly 20 years. How likely is it that these decades old allegations of racism will hurt his chances of becoming AG?

PAMELA BROWN: These allegations of racist comments that he made decades ago, Brooke, will likely come up during the confirmation hearings. As you point out, this was in 1986 when he was up for a federal judgeship and some of his colleagues at the time had testified, saying that he called the NAACP “un-American” and that communists inspired an African-American who had worked under Sessions testified that he called him boy and joked about the KKK, saying he was okay with them until he found out they smoked weed and as you just heard there, Sessions — Jeff Sessions at the time has said those allegations are false, that he is not a racist, that he despises the KKK but that doesn't mean, Brooke, that this won't resurface during the confirmation hearings along with his civil rights record. In 2009, he voted against expanding the hate crime laws to cover gays and lesbians. He's called the Voting Rights Act intrusive legislation but you’ve — we've seen senators that have worked with him over the years, he's been out in the Senate for 20 years, come out, applaud this nomination. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has said that has said no doubt he will be confirmed and he cares deeply about the country. Donald Trump, who nominated him, says he has a great legal mind but others have come out and said, Brooke, even though he is a colleague and well respected in the Senate, that doesn't mean he won't undergo the same kind of strict scrutiny that others would seeking this position. 

(....)

ANGELA RYE: I think it's not even about feelings, it's just about record. So for example, and Pamela brought this up in her commentary, for Jeff Sessions to say that the Voting Rights Act was an intrusive piece of legislation and that is the very thing that was just before the Supreme Court in 2014, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and you haven't been able to get consensus in the House or Senate on moving something forward to fix what they said was wrong with the Voting Rights Act. So here you have someone who’s running to be — or in the running to be the attorney general nominee and he doesn't believe in voting rights legislation. So what does that really mean? That means that the Civil Rights Division, which I would argue is one of the most important right now thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is he going to gut those if he doesn't see the point? So while Steve mentioned he declined to admit to some of the things he's been accused of, he did admit before the Senate hearing in ‘86.

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