While some in the cable news media have been direct and professional in their calls for Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam to resign (with others ghoulishly connecting Northam to, among others, the Covington kids and Justice Kavanaugh), CNN briefly mislabled Northam Friday night as a Republican while airing video of his so-called apology for his racist medical school yearbook page.
Cuomo Prime Time had the night off, so AC360 was back to its old schedule with a two-hour runtime. At the top of the 9:00 p.m. Eastern hour, host Anderson Cooper ran the entirety of Northam’s so-called apology that was made into a video (after an initial statement). At first, there was a chyron that read the following: “Breaking News; Virginia Governor Apologizes for Racist Photo on 1984 Medical School Yearbook Page.”
Then, that went away in favor of a small chyron with Northam’s name, job title, and what was supposed to be a (D) label for Democrat, but it instead read (R) for Republican for a whole nine seconds before it was wiped as the larger “Breaking News chyron” replaced it.
Later in the video, the snarky CNN chyron writers tried to make up for their mistake by going back to a lower-third with just Northam’s name and a (D) label. That remained for the next 14 seconds before alternating back a chyron that read: “Breaking News; Virginia Gov on Racist Photo: I Accept Responsibility and Am Ready to Do the Hard Work of Regaining Your Trust.”
The picture, which was first circulated by Big League Politics, was quickly confirmed first by the Hampton Roads-area newspaper The Virginian-Pilot and then The Washington Post plus the rest of the local and national news media.
In primetime, some cable news figures ghoulishly lumped in the Covington kids, Justice Kavanaugh, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, and President Trump in the same breath as Northam. Featured cable news analysts and commentators such as Keith Boykin, Jen Psaki, Kirsten Powers, and April Ryan to name a few made that leap, but they were far outnumbered by the sober and serious analyzing and reporting of such a terrible story.