Poisonous: April Ryan Claims Acosta’s ‘Life...Was in Jeopardy’ at Rally; Dismisses Sanders Needing Security

To put it bluntly, April Ryan’s dislike of Sarah Huckabee Sanders or anyone opposed to her has arguably reached an unseemly territory. Appearing on Wednesday’s CNN Tonight, the American Urban Radio Networks correspondent dismissed the harassment and threats against the White House Press Secretary and melodramatically surmised that Jim Acosta’s “life...was in jeopardy” at Tuesday’s Trump rally.

Later, she also showed a visceral disdain for conservatives and Second Amendment supporters by brushing aside that part of the Constitution in favor of the First Amendment which many journalists seem to think only concerns them. 

 

 

Host Don Lemon fired up the crazy train, refusing to note CNN’s role as chief mouthpiece of the Resistance and refusal to be a neutral arbiter of our discourse: “It's no secret that the White House's relationship with the press is terrible and we know why. It's because this administration is waging a war on journalism and the truth.”

“Are you supporting a free press if you spread falsehood — excuse me — if you spread lies from the podium? And does the President support a free press, if he also supports the people who try to stop journalists from doing their jobs,” he added before focusing in on Acosta’s supposedly horrid state of affairs.

After a clip from Wednesday’s briefing in which Sanders declined to defend Acosta, Lemon stared with annoyance into the camera for a few moments before teeing up Ryan.

Ryan replied that Sanders was “trying to justify the irrational, trying to justify foolishness” and stoop to Trump’s base who’s leader “is embattled” and “go[ing] to sports or talks about the knee, or he goes to the press, or he goes to some other things that just make his base get into frenzy and forget all the other stuff” with “a big shiny silver ball at the detriment of free press.” 

After some more melodramatic behavior from Lemonon whether it’s “surreal” to be in a briefing room with “someone” who’s “lying to the American media and the American people,” Ryan swooned about the dignity of people who anonymously leak to the press.

She also trashed Sanders as a “shameful” liar and pivoted to Acosta while mocking Sanders’s death threats: “And Jim Acosta's life, in my opinion, was in jeopardy that night. There was a safety issue and you know she gets run out of a hen house a couple weeks ago, and gets Secret Service detail.”

Ah, so we’re dismissing Sanders being harassed and receiving death threats? But wait, there’s more (click “expand” for more):

LEMON: Yeah. We don't have Secret Service detail. 

RYAN: Jim Acosta — that's what I'm saying. And this President, this President, President Donald J. Trump has stoked the flames for reporters to feel like they are in jeopardy. Their lives, their safety is in jeopardy. Their lives are in jeopardy at these rallies and something has got to stop. She gets taxpayer-funded — she gets taxpayer-funded security for something that she stokes. 

LEMON: Yeah. 

RYAN: But yet, it's okay. It's freedom of speech for us. It is not right...This has now gone beyond politics. This has gone into life. This has gone into changing lives. 

Earth to CNN executives: Is this acceptable rhetoric?

Lemon stepped into clarify that “we don't begrudge her security or anyone who has Secret Service” and Ryan muttered that she agreed, but Lemon then threw that clarification out the window by blaming “this President and this administration” for journalists having to fear for their lives.

Regardless of any puny clarification, it’s clear where her true feelings are, which is that the harassment and threats to Sanders’s life are not that serious compared to anything she or Acosta has faced.

Once Lemon hilariously claimed that this whole debate is “not about CNN” (spoiler alert: It’s all about them), Ryan concluded by mocking Second Amendment supporters and proclaiming the virtues of the press being cited in the First Amendment (again, click “expand” for more):

But see here's the problem and people want to listen to the now and listen to this President and be entertained by him and they talk about patriotism and talk about the constitution in this country. But they forget. Before they talk about you know the guns, Second Amendment, there's the First amendment that beat out the Second Amendment, the First Amendment. And within that First Amendment is freedom of the press. The Founding Fathers put into the Constitution, this accountability piece. You know, if the checks and balances over here between executive, legislative, and judicial branches don't work, you still have a press that ask questions, to find out, to give transparency to a situation that — or — or — initiatives or something.

To see the segment’s transcript from August 1's CNN Tonight, click “expand.”

CNN Tonight
August 1, 2018
10:28 p.m. Eastern

DON LEMON: The Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, held a press briefing at the White House today finally for only the — it was only the fourth time in a month. It's no secret that the White House's relationship with the press is terrible and we know why. It's because this administration is waging a war on journalism and the truth and Sarah Sanders fights her battles from the podium. Just today, she was asked about our Jim Acosta, our very own Jim Acosta, being heckled at a Trump rally Tuesday night and instead of actually answering, she makes this baffling and false, by the way, claim and then she dug way back two decades to find it. Watch. 

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS: We support a free press, but there also comes a high level of responsibility with that. The media routinely reports on classified information and government secrets that put lives in danger and risks valuable national security tools. This has happened both in our administration and in past administrations. One of the worst cases was the reporting on the U.S. ability to listen to Osama Bin Laden's satellite phone in the late '90s. Because of that reporting, he stopped using that phone and the country lost valuable intelligence.

LEMON: So that story is just not true. It was debunked years ago, despite the claim having been made by President George W. Bush and the 9/11 Commission. The media reported that Osama Bin laden was known to use — known to use a satellite phone, something that was widely known at the time and had been previously reported. By the time it was reported that the U.S. might be able to monitor that phone, Bin Laden was already scaling back use of those devices. It is quite a stretch to go back two decades to a debunked story to try to defend the behavior we all saw last night. Are you supporting a free press if you spread falsehood — excuse me — if you spread lies from the podium? And does the President support a free press, if he also supports the people who try to stop journalists from doing their jobs? The President retweeted a video of his fans booing Acosta at his rally Tuesday night, sharing an instance of open hostility to the media with his 53 million Twitter followers. The Trump rally gets ugly, his supporters our reporter doing a job, calling him a traitor and a liar. What does the President do? Well, re-tweet a video in support of the hecklers. That's why when asked a second time if the White House condemns what happened to Jim Acosta, she's given a second chance to actually support press freedom, Sanders refuses.

DAVID MARTOSKO: I said no one was being violent last night in terms of hitting anybody, and no broadcaster was broadcasting state secrets. They were trying to do stand-ups at a public rally and you had people yell over them, preventing them from doing their jobs, and yelling that their network sucks on live TV. Do you support that or not? 

SARAH SANDERS: Look, while sup — while we certainly support freedom of the press, we also support freedom of speech, and we think that those things go hand in hand. 

LEMON: April Ryan is here, CNN political analyst. Boy oh, boy, lowest common denominator —

APRIL RYAN: Denominator, yes.

LEMON: — and then to have it defended from the podium, the most esteemed podium in the world. So what do you think? Why would she go back to a story that's been debunked years and years ago about the satellite phone? 

RYAN: You know why?

LEMON: About Bin Laden?

APRIL RYAN: Because she's trying to justify, trying to justify the irrational, trying to justify foolishness. There was no cause for that and she's playing to this base that listens to the President. They need this to rally behind the President because this President is embattled. So when this President is embattled, he either goes to sports or talks about the knee, or he goes to the press, or he goes to some other things that just make his base get into frenzy and forget all the other stuff. That's what it is. It's a big shiny silver ball at the detriment of free press. 

LEMON: You have been at the White House for what? 20 years now. 

RYAN: Twenty one. 

LEMON: Twenty one. For Republican and Democratic administrations.

RYAN: Yes. 

LEMON: Right? I am sure this is very different. Do you sit in that room — again as I said, the most esteemed podium in the world and do you just sit there and say, I cannot believe that someone is standing here lying to the American media —

RYAN: Yes. 

LEMON: — and the American people? 

RYAN: Yes. Yes

LEMON: Or trying to gaslight them. 

RYAN: Yes.

LEMON: Do you — is it surreal to you to sit there every day, because it's surreal to watch on?

RYAN: Don, I am going to say this to you. Today, when she said that, I couldn't believe when she was talking about, you know, how we get leaked information. We don't just — the press, we don't just walk into an office and open files and take leaked information and report it. Our sources are giving it to us, giving it to us willingly because they're whistle blowers and for her to assume or to say that we are just gathering — no. She's not — she's changing the facts. If you want to say she's lying, she's lying and I agree with that. It was shameful today. That podium is no place to play. You don't play with words. You don't play with moments. Everything comes to the White House from water piece and everything in between. That's a,, serious moment and a serious place. And Jim Acosta's life, in my opinion, was in jeopardy that night. There was a safety issue and you know she gets run out of a hen house a couple weeks ago, and gets Secret Service detail. 

LEMON: Yeah. We don't have Secret Service detail. 

RYAN: Jim Acosta — that's what I'm saying. And this President, this President, President Donald J. Trump has stoked the flames for reporters to feel like they are in jeopardy. Their lives, their safety is in jeopardy. Their lives are in jeopardy at these rallies and something has got to stop. She gets taxpayer-funded — she gets taxpayer-funded security for something that she stokes. 

LEMON: Yeah. 

RYAN: But yet, it's okay. It's freedom of speech for us. It is not right and I talked to Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, and we had our back and forth quite a bit, you know and I have had back and forths with even Robert Gibbs. But it never — it was always a friendly adversarial situation. It was never personal. This has now gone beyond politics. This has gone into life. This has gone into changing lives. 

LEMON: But here's the thing that I have to say, a couple things here. Number one, we don't begrudge her security or anyone who has Secret Service.

RYAN: Oh no, I’m not begrudging her. Yeah.

LEMON: They need it, and many journalists need it now because of what this President and this administration are doing now, right?

RYAN: I am raising my hand. I am one of those. 

LEMON: Okay. Yes, so a lot of us are. But you know it started with lock her up. You know, build a wall, and all of these unseemly chants and now it is CNN sucks. It's not about CNN. It's just about the behavior. Like, you understand, it’s “oh, CNN is whining because they're —” it's not. If they had said it about any other network or any other person in the crowd, any other entity, we would be having this conversation, because this is supposed to be a dignified, respectful place to do the American people's business —

RYAN: But Don — yeah.

RYAN: — and he says what you're reading and hearing, what you're seeing, or whatever, it's not true. And so further stoking that. 

RYAN: But see here's the problem and people want to listen to the now and listen to this President and be entertained by him and they talk about patriotism and talk about the constitution in this country. But they forget. Before they talk about you know the guns, Second Amendment, there's the First amendment that beat out the Second Amendment, the First Amendment. And within that First Amendment is freedom of the press. The Founding Fathers put into the Constitution, this accountability piece. You know, if the checks and balances over here between executive, legislative, and judicial branches don't work, you still have a press that ask questions, to find out, to give transparency to a situation that — or — or — 

LEMON: A check.

RYAN: — initiatives or something.

LEMON: Checks and balances. A check on our govenrment.

RYAN: Yes, yes. 

LEMON: I've — I’ve got to go and it's there for a reason, April, that it's the first one. It's in the first one.

RYAN: It's in the first one. 

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it. 

RYAN: Thank you. 

LEMON: Thank you.


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NBDaily Media Bias Debate CNN CNN Tonight Video Government & Press Jim Acosta April Ryan Don Lemon Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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