On night two of Jim Acosta's hosting of CNN's Democracy in Peril, it's safe to say he outdid himself with the dangerous hyperbolic rhetoric. During a Tuesday segment on Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) banning Critical Race Theory from influencing schools, Acosta referred to Virginia as a "Soviet-style police state."
Acosta began the segment wailing about how Youngkin is asking "neighbors to turn in other neighbors" because the Governor had set up an e-mail tip line for parents to notify his administration if schools are violating his ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory. The deranged CNN anchor dredged up his favorite talking point by claiming "experts" fear that this tip line is "weakening our democracy just as badly as the big lie."
Of course, there was no explanation about how exactly it is "weakening our democracy."
Acosta then brought on Atlantic writer Molly Jong-Fast to continue kvetching about Governor Youngkin:
Molly, you know, I seem to remember Glenn Youngkin campaigning in a fleece vest in Virginia. He was running as a different kind of Republican. I was told there was going to be a vest, not a Soviet-style police state across the Potomac from Washington.
Yes, Virginia is a police state because Youngkin wants to enable parents to hold their children's schools accountable. This is the thought-provoking commentary you get from CNN.
Jong-Fast seemed to agree with Acosta's accusation, saying, "it's really weird. He was elected. You know, he wouldn't let Trump come and campaign with him. He sort of pretended to be this kind of non-Trumpy Trump." Adding: "as soon as he got in there he started taking away masking in Virginia public schools. He started with these teacher hotlines where you can rat out your teacher. I mean he's really gone full Ron DeSantis right away."
Continuing on this irrational conversation, Acosta tried to accuse conservatives of being hypocrites by asking "why doesn't this upset the traditional conservative tenets of liberty, anti-censorship, and freedom?"
According to Jong-Fast, "Republicans have really always been really sort of into canceling teachers. Remember in the '60s and the '70s you had a lot of banned books in libraries." Later on in the discussion, she fear-mongered that "we're gonna see more laws like this" and Republican states are going to "race and become Trumpier and Trumpier."
This loony segment featuring a CNN host referring to Virginia as a "Soviet-style police state" was made possible by Discover and Sleep Number. Their contact information is linked so you can let them know about the biased news they fund.
To read the transcript of this segment click "expand":
CNN’s Democracy in Peril
JIM ACOSTA: Virginia's new Governor is asking neighbors to tune in -- excuse me -- to turn in other neighbors not for criminal activity. No, it all stems from the GOP's latest culture war obsession. In-office less than two weeks and Governor Glenn Youngkin has already set up an email tip line for parents to report teachers for teaching divisive subjects. He spoke specifically about his concerns over race and history.
[cuts to video]
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN: We’re going to kick critical race theory and other divisive–inherently divisive teaching practices out of the schools.
[cuts back to live]
ACOSTA: And this tactic of pitting citizen against citizen is not just happening in Virginia. Recall the anti-abortion law in Texas. That the Supreme Court has allowed to remain in effect. It allows anyone to sue another person for helping someone seek an abortion in the state. In fact, it seems Republican leaders have gone all-in on dividing the country in many ways. Just listen to them.
[cuts to video]
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: America is not a racist country. It's past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: President Biden wants to literally make millionaires out of people who violated federal law. They want to cut seven-figure checks to illegal border crossings?
CONGRESSMAN MATT GAETZ: Lookout, Mr. Potato Head, you're next. I'm sorry, I think now he's going by Potato X. Mr. Potato Head was America's first transgender doll and even he got canceled.
[cuts back to live]
ACOSTA: Maybe he shouldn’t be making comments about Mr. Potato Head it’s just a thought there. Now, this is not just empty rhetoric. The new culture wars are impacting our laws and some experts fear they could be weakening our democracy just as badly as the big lie. Here to discuss Molly Jong-Fast contributing writer for the Atlantic and author of the newsletter “Wait What?”. Molly, you know, I seem to remember Glenn Youngkin campaigning in a fleece vest in Virginia. He was running as a different kind of Republican. I was told there was going to be a vest, not a Soviet-style police state across the Potomac from Washington.
MOLLY JONG-FAST: Yeah, it's really weird. He was elected. You know, he wouldn't let Trump come and campaign with him. He sort of pretended to be this kind of non-Trumpy Trump. And as soon as he got in there he started taking away masking in Virginia public schools. He started with these teacher hotlines where you can rat out your teacher. I mean he's really gone full Ron DeSantis right away.
ACOSTA: And it's not just Youngkin. A recent report shows there are dozens of new proposals opening pathways to punish teachers teaching things that parents don't like. Why doesn't this upset the traditional conservative tenets of liberty, anti-censorship, and freedom? I guess, you know if you want to cancel your teacher you just have to e-mail the Governor in Virginia and I guess rat them out in other ways in other states.
JONG-FAST: Well, Republicans have really always been really sort of into canceling teachers. Remember in the '60s and the '70s you had a lot of banned books in libraries. You know this is sort of one of those tropes that we're going back to in this new Republican Party. I mean, banning books is never good. You never want to be on the side that’s banning books. The good news, though, is that it is getting some kids who might not otherwise be into libraries. I mean there is a little bit of excitement of the idea that there are books that are so dangerous that if your kid reads them they will somehow become a Democrat.
ACOSTA: That's right. Rebelling against your parents by going to the library. I never did that when I was a kid, but, you know, we could start a trend. And Youngkin's efforts as we said very reminiscent of the Texas abortion law where residents are turning each other in. How concerned should we be about these laws that seem to be catching on of, you know, citizens ratting each other out? It's like canceling your neighbor across the street or next door.
JONG-FAST: Well what happened with that Texas SB8 law was that the Supreme Court made a decision by not making a decision, and they said, you know, stare decisis doesn't matter if we agree with the principle, they sort of said this passively. If we agree with the principle of the law we don't care how crazy it is. So instead of overturning it which a lot of court watchers even on the very conservative side thought would happen, instead they let it stand. So now, the message was if you're a conservative Governor and you want to pass a crazy law, you have, remember there–Trump has installed a third of the Supreme Court so you have a kind of blank check to do whatever you want. And I think we're gonna see more laws like this. And I think we're gonna see these blue states and red states are gonna be very, very different because these red states have no incentive to stop being Trumpy. They're just gonna race and become Trumpier and Trumpier.
ACOSTA: Yeah, no question about it. Alright, Molly Jong-Fast I would never snitch on you by the way. Just it would not happen. Thank you so much for being with us tonight we appreciate it. Great to see you.
JONG-FAST: Thanks for having me.