On Monday, weekday morning CNN Newsroom co-host Poppy Harlow displayed the latest example of CNN’s commitment to condescension, infotainment, and performance art to the detriment of news and sobriety as she made faces, sighed, and threw her head back at Deputy White House Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern. Most notably, Harlow grew apoplectic when Morgenstern dared to criticize the New York Times article about President Trump’s tax records.
The nearly-13-minute masochist event consisted of constant interruptions, slanted questions, and what Steve Krakauer dubbed in his newsletter as “Feelings First” as a CNN moniker instead of “Facts First” and Hugh Hewitt called “infotainment.”
Harlow downplayed how the President losing money led to a lower tax bill and completely ignored the facts about the President’s business enterprises enabling his use of tax deductions (write offs) to offset income, with neither meaning he’s engaged in tax evasion.
Before writing a piece for The Federalist, the Center for a Free Economy’s Ryan Ellis tweeted: “Consulting fees, legal fees, bad debt deductions, depreciation, charitable contributions, capital losses, passive loss deductions, etc. are part and parcel of what tax returns look like for high income folks. There’s nothing unusual about finding them. “
Nonetheless, Harlow wouldn’t go below the surface and instead harped on the top line total of $750 in income taxes. With that the case, Morgenstern pivoted to noting (after how the President paid $70 million in taxes from 2005-2007) that “an interesting question would be where are the taxes that Hunter Biden paid on his $3.5 million from Russia” or his money from China.
Harlow wasn’t interested in that, denying him no more than a few words before interrupting, citing how much the average American annually pays in taxes, and how his tax load doesn’t embody “America First.”
Along with noting how the President doesn’t have a tax bill from his salary because he’s donated it back to the government, another calling card was Hunter Biden and, when he brought it up a second time, Harlow was incensed (click “expand”):
I absolutely should not be asking the President's spokesman about someone who is not germane to this conversation who is not running for President. Please do our viewers a service. Brian, please do our viewers a service of answering my questions about the man you work — because I ask the question.
Harlow’s tone grew even more hostile when he committed the crime of criticizing the media and wondering whether Democrats knew ahead of time about The Times story (click “expand”):
MORGENSTERN: [B]ut this is a story that was — it’s another version of it from four years ago —
HARLOW: — it’s not.
MORGENSTERN: — on the eve of the debate, coordinated —
MORGENSTERN: — with the Democrats as a political hit.
HARLOW: Let’s — okay. That’s — Brian, I'm just going to stop you there.
HARLOW: These are remarkable reporters from The New York Times who went through 20 years of documents. It's not okay for you to accuse them with no facts of coordinating with the Democratic Party.
MORGENSTERN: Poppy, they had ads —
HARLOW: Please stop doing that —
MORGENSTERN: — up and running.
HARLOW: — or this interview will end.
MORGENSTERN: They had ads up and running
MORGENSTERN: Brian, stop attacking the press. I have not seen you do that largely before. Stop doing that. I am asking you direct questions. You can put the entire thing to bed if the President would release the records and show the American people what he says is true.
MORGENSTERN: Poppy —
HARLOW: Why will he not do that?
MORGENSTERN: So, the press can attack him but he cannot defend himself? That is just not a fair position to take.
Isn’t it amazing how much of an aversion some journalists have to anyone and everyone criticizing them? In the world of CNN in particular, attacking any outlet that wasn’t Fox News or in conservative media puts you on the side of authoritarianism, and autocracy when, in reality, people have just as much of a right to yell “CNN is fake news” outside the Supreme Court
Morgenstern demurred and instead moved to how Trump’s tax records showed no ties to Russia, debunking the years-long lie about him having been controlled and financed by the media's boogeyman.
As Morgenstern brought that up, Harlow sighed and buzzed her lips to express her annoyance and petulance, replying that, since The Times mentioned it, the issue is persona non grata even though, as he said, the paper “won a Pulitzer Prize for saying he had Russia ties.”
This train wreck came to an end by moving to the coronavirus and more editorializing and lecturing about Trump holding campaign rallies and White House events despite the pandemic with many attendees not wearing masks or social distancing.
Here’s how that went as Harlow laid out how we, the people, are supposed to feel and illustrated concern that CNN lacks when it comes to far-left Black Lives Matter marches, protests, and riots (click “expand”):
HARLOW: This weekend, Brian, we saw Wisconsin and Utah post daily records for COVID cases, half of the U.S. is now reporting an increase in COVID cases and, yet, the President chose to hold a Rose Garden ceremony with almost no masks. Why did he do that?
MORGENSTERN: Well, Poppy, the — first of all, cases may be going up in certain places of course but we're in a very different place today than we were a few months ago and it's because of the President's leadership in Operation Warpspeed and developing treatments, soon a vaccine, and using the Defense Production Act to send PPE where it is needed. And that’s — that means that mortality rates have come way down. It means hospitalization rates have come way down because if people contract the virus and get sick, we're in a much better position today to treat them so that it's no longer — the risks are just not what they were.
HARLOW: So he's willing to gamble with people at the Rose Garden ceremony getting COVID because we're better prepared as a country —
MORGENSTERN: Well, Poppy —
HARLOW: — to take care of them?
MORGENSTERN: No, it’s —
HARLOW: And it's not just the Rose Garden, Brian. Seriously, he’s held three —
MORGENSTERN: — it's an outdoor event.
HARLOW: — I get that but people were close and there were not masks and you can still get COVID outdoors and you know that and he’s held three completely indoor rallies during the pandemic.
MORGENSTERN: Well —
HARLOW: Does he think that holding these events is in the public health interest of the American people?
MORGENSTERN: Poppy, the President always says that wear a mask if you can’t distance, wash your hands, socially distance, but he also believes in —
HARLOW: But they weren't doing that.
MORGENSTERN: — the American people being able to make decisions for themselves, protecting vulnerable populations. If it's an outdoor event and people feel safe, they can, you know, behave the way they want to, but what we want —
HARLOW: Yeah, except I think —
MORGENSTERN: — to — to take precautions.
HARLOW: — you lead by example.
MORGENSTERN: We make — we make recommendations and look, it was a great event. The event you're referring to is nominating — a —
MORGENSTERN: — who will be a tremendous justice on the Supreme Court. It was a wonderful event. It was outdoors.
HARLOW: It was a hugely consequential event that could have been more safe.
And for good measure, Harlow hit Morgenstern with the debunked narrative about the President intervening to force a coronavirus vaccine towards approval, regardless of whether it’s safe. Morgenstern thorough debunked that, leaving Harlow to state on the way out: “I really hope the attacks on the FDA, about playing politics with that evidence, stop because so many American lives hang in the balance.”
Harlow being triggered by Morgenstern criticizing The Times and scolding him like a teaching dressing down group of schoolchildren was brought to you by advertisers such as (but not limited to) CarShield, Google, Peloton, and Sling. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.