CNN’s Bad Week: From Lanny Davis to Antifa

September 1st, 2018 4:00 PM

Talk about a bad week!

One is simply gobsmacked at what has been going on over at CNN.

Back there in the mists of July, CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein posted a piece on the latest-of-the-moment “news” about the now infamous “Trump Tower” meeting between various Trump supporters (Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort) and a Russian woman who was pitched as having campaign dirt on Hillary but in fact was there to, as it turned out, lobby against an American law on adoption the Russians hate. Among the controversies is whether Donald Trump knew of the meeting in advance. He says no. 

Thus the “breaking news” aspect of this was that supposedly now-estranged Trump attorney Michael Cohen said he did. Something Cohen twice denied to an investigating congressional committee. The CNN piece contained this line:

“Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen’s attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.”

The problem? BuzzFeed later headlined: “Lanny Davis says he was a source for CNN’s Trump Tower Story.”

In other words, with that one line CNN was telling its audience something that was, in fact, untrue. All hell quickly broke loose, and it wasn’t just coming from conservatives. There was the Left’s Glenn Greenwald headlining over his personal byline: “CNN, Credibly Accused of Lying to its Audience About a Key Claim in its Blockbuster Cohen Story, Refuses to Comment.” 

Here were these lines in a story about CNN from the decidedly non-conservative Associated Press which ran, stunningly, in the New York Times. They read: 

“The problem for CNN is that the July 27 story said ‘contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.’

Yet, if Davis was actually an anonymous source for CNN, the story should not also say that Cohen's lawyer declined to comment. You can't have it both ways. That's a big no-no in journalism.”

One can only marvel at this. Here were not one but two CNN journalists- both of whom I know and think highly of - having a story with a line that was provably false. And they got absolutely hammered for it - by left- leaning outlets.

Then, on another subject altogether - Antifa - came these lines.

Here was CNN’s Don Lemon: “No organization is perfect, there was some violence. No one condones the violence. But there were different reasons for Antifa and for these Neo-Nazis to be there. One, racist fascists, the other group fighting racist fascists. There’s a distinction there.”

Here’s CNN’s Chris Cuomo: “Now, how you fight matters too. There's no question about that. But drawing a moral equivalency between those espousing hate and those fighting it because they both resort to violence emboldens hate, legitimizes hateful belief and elevates what should be stamped out...The bigots are wrong to hit. Antifa,or whomever, anarchists or malcontent or misguided, they are also wrong to hit. But fighting hate is right. And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”

And last but certainly not least, here is CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: “Let’s be clear also about what is going on here. The theme here is, ‘I’m Donald Trump and I’ll protect you from the scary, black people.’

…“Antifa is widely perceived as an African-American organization, and this is just part of the same story of Lebron James and Don Lemon and Maxine Waters and the NFL players and the UCLA basketball players. This is about black versus white. This is about Donald Trump’s appeal to racism and it just happens all the time. We never say it — we don’t say it enough for what it is, but that’s what is going on here.”

Invited on Laura Ingraham’s Fox show to comment, I responded as follows to the Antifa business.



“You know, I know most of these people over there and I like them enormously. I heard that this morning and I almost fell out of my chair sitting in the living room. I mean, what are they smoking? I mean, this is just unbelievable to me. All you have to do is do… is show some pictures here. Pay attention to these folks. Not to mention that these folks are out and out fascists. I mean, they should drop the ‘Anti’ and just be called ‘Fa.’  I mean, this is a bad group of people. They’re into violence, they’re into hurting people. They have no business in the American dialogue, period. And for CNN to be lending them support is mind-boggling.”

As I said on Laura’s show “…these folks are out and out fascists. I mean, they should drop the ‘Anti’ and just be called ‘Fa.’”

Yet right there on CNN are anchors pretending that white kids (and some are not “kids”) who hide their faces in hoods and beat the hell out of people are A) black and B) some sort of equivalent of 1960’s civil rights demonstrators, the latter of whom famously practice non-violence in their protests. 

As my former Reagan colleague Dinesh D’Souza has illustrated over and over - and he certainly isn’t alone (think the Austrian economist Ludvig von Mises and the Austrian-British economist F.A. Hayek) Nazis, neo-Nazis and Fascists are not creatures of conservatism or the Right - they are most decidedly of the Left. Fascists, among other things, oppose free markets, believe not in limited government but in a state that has, in the words of von Mises, “absolute control of production.” Not to mention, as vividly illustrated by Antifa violent attacks on journalists, fascists oppose a free press.

Recall as well that Politico was reporting this in September of 2017: 

“Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.”

So to sum up all this bizarre-ness ? 

In the last week you have CNN standing by a line in a “breaking news” story (involving Lanny Davis) that was demonstrably, factually untrue. A line that the AP correctly called out as “a big no-no in journalism.” It put CNN in the position of being called out by people all across the political spectrum from Glenn Greenwald and the AP to, but of course, President Trump.

Then there are CNN’ers trying to say-really!- that Antifa isn’t about “espousing hate” when it quite clearly is. Which in turn is an outright denial that Antifa has been formally classified as engaging in “domestic terrorist violence.” Antifa is 100% about spreading hate and doing so with violence, marching in hoods to cover their overwhelmingly white faces, as police departments in places like Berkeley and Charlottesville have all too graphically revealed by releasing mugshots of arrested Antifa thugs.

As I said on the Ingraham Angle, they are not “Antifa” - anti-fascists - they are just plain old “Fa” - as in fascists. And like the original fascists of Mussolini’s day, they will use violence to try and achieve their authoritarian ends.

The real problem here for CNN this past week? An unbelievable obsession with the President they detest has led them into a dark corner that has given the impression they will do anything up to and including reporting “fake news” or excusing a group of hooded thugs whose calling card is violence - not to mention outright fascism.

Not good.