Just as the media were delighted by a liberal bicyclist who flipped off President Trump’s motorcade a few years ago, CNN was enthralled this morning by a teenager who showed the same foul hand gesture to anti-mask parents outside her school.
On Wednesday’s New Day, co-host John Berman spoke with the 14-year-old girl and her mother, who were both proud of her vile retort to parents of her peers. But even more proud was Berman and fellow co-host Brianna Keilar.
Showing just how ridiculous CNN is, Berman began by trashing parents against mask mandates as “vile, threatening and aggressive” before turning to praise the child who flipped the bird:
When we discussed the issue of masks in school, it's important to make clear that it's a minority, a minority of people who are opposed to masks in schools. But this minority is vocal in some cases threatening, aggressive, even vile. Now the flip side of this, the majority who support masks, parents and, yes, students some of whom are just fed up with the aggressive minority.
He gushed, “Case in point here, in this photo which has gone viral a 14-year-old student is giving a one-fingered salute to anti-mask protesters outside her school,” before bringing on Fiona Downey and her mother Meagan.
The CNN host sympathetically asked how seeing the anti-mask parents’s signs (which according to one article might be only two moms' signs) “made her feel.”
The teen admitted she didn’t remember what the signs said other than “masks aren’t the cure,” but they made her “really angry.”
But Berman was beaming with pride: “You delivered a clear message to them. Do you think they saw the message you delivered?” he asked.
Again, CNN was disappointed the finger didn’t deliver. “No because they came to school yesterday,” Downey conceded.
After asking the mother if she had “any issue” with her daughter’s “chosen mean of expression,” (she didn’t), Berman revealed he was proud too: “I'm just smiling because it's one of those challenging parenting moments when you know you're supposed to say that's not something you're supposed to do but sort of you're whispering to yourself, 'right on!'”
He closed out the interview again giving props to the teen for her “message” that is sure to change hearts and minds: "Well, you spread a message. And I think they saw it and a lot of people are seeing it and I understand your frustration because it is a minority, this vocal minority aggressive protesting masks and sometimes you have to deliver a certain message back," he lectured.
Weirdly enough, CNN didn’t feel the need to interview any of the masses of college students who chanted the same curse words about Joe Biden this past weekend.
Giggling afterwards, Berman praised, “ Again, I just love the parenting.” Again, he was upset for the kids who are forced to have to pass by inoffensive signs on their way to school each day:
“And you know, her mom is like, what else is she supposed to do? At a certain point what else are you supposed to do?” he asked Keilar.
Uh, I don’t know, maybe walk by and not give it a second thought, like any other normal human being?
The duo joked at the end of the segment about telling kids it's ok to curse parents in certain circumstances. “Make good choices is what I always say to my kids about when you flip people off!” he joked.
Sleep Number sponsored this segment, contact them at the Conservatives Fight Back page here.
Read the transcript portions below:
JOHN BERMAN: As you can see behind Pete there, kids are back in school around the country. And when we discussed the issue of masks in school, it's important to make clear that it's a minority, a minority of people who are opposed to masks in schools. But this minority is vocal in some cases threatening, aggressive, even vile. Now the flip side of this, the majority who support masks, parents and, yes, students some of whom are just fed up with the aggressive minority. Case in point here, in this photo which has gone viral a 14-year-old student is giving a one-fingered salute to anti-mask protesters outside her school. And that saluter there as we should say Fiona joins me now along with her finger and her mother Meagan Downey. Fiona, why don't you just walk us through what happened on the bus on the way to school that day.
FIONA DOWNEY: Okay. So, the protesters are there every single day. And they come over and they just hold up their signs and for me, I was just fed up. And I was filled with anger. And I just decided to give them the finger because I thought it was the best thing I could do.
BERMAN: So when you drive past them, to get into your school, what are the signs say and how does it make you feel?
DOWNEY: They say like stuff like masks aren't the cure, I can't remember the rest. But it makes me just really angry. I don't know, it makes everyone else angry. And we're all just annoyed with it.
BERMAN: You know, and for you, what do you want in terms of being at school?
DOWNEY: I want everyone just to be safe. And it's hard because I was on hybrid learning for so long, it's very stressful and very hard. But, I hope that we can stay in school.
BERMAN: You delivered a clear message to them. Do you think they saw the message you delivered?
DOWNEY: No because they came to school yesterday. But I hope that things will change. …
BERMAN: It's an odd parenting moment, right? When your child tells you, hey, I think I might have been photographed flipping the bird to a bunch of protesters here, you know, what was your reaction?
FIONA'S MOTHER, MEAGAN DOWNEY: Yeah. Well, we should add that Fiona had no idea there were cameras there and I had no idea either. So we did not know this was in the news until the next day or that it was even captured until the next day. But, my initial reaction was, they think they're protecting you. And then she went to class and the day was really uneventful until the next morning when it started to go viral.
BERMAN: Do you have any issue with Fiona's chosen means of expression?
MEAGAN DOWNEY: You know, what else was she supposed to do in that moment? She was pretty fed up. You know, this is not a situation where she could engage in constructive dialogue. You know, she's forced to ride the bus everyday to school and see these people. She was done. She expressed herself. So I'm proud of my daughter and I'm fine with that.
BERMAN: I'm just smiling because it's one of those challenging parenting moments when you know you're supposed to say that's not something you're supposed to do but sort of you're whispering to yourself, right on. You got to be careful with that. So Fiona, where does this go from here, do you think, in the coming days? Are these people -- you're in Vermont I should note. They can't be out there all winter. It's going to get cold.
FIONA DOWNEY: I have no idea. I have hope that the school can do something about it. I mean, they're right outside of school property, so there's nothing that I can really do just besides spreading the message to everyone else to wear their masks.
BERMAN: Well, you spread a message. And I think they saw it and a lot of people are seeing it and I understand your frustration because it is a minority, this vocal minority aggressive protesting masks and sometimes you have to deliver a certain message back. Thank you both for being with us this morning. Thank you.
DOWNEY: Of course, thank you.
BERMAN: Thank you.
KEILAR: Fiona and her finger. I don't -- she clearly did not expect to be in this situation, but here she is.
BERMAN: I know. Again, I just love the parenting.
KEILAR: Of course.
BERMAN: Choice here. You know, mom, I flipped off the protesters. And you know, her mom is like, what else is she supposed to do? At a certain point what else are you supposed to do? The bus drives past them every single day and Fiona and her friends want to be healthy and they want to stay. They want to have this school stay open.
KEILAR: Look, none of us want our kids flipping people off. On occasion maybe there's an exception to the rule. [chuckling[
BERMAN: Be selective. Choose the right -- make good choices is what I always say to my kids about when you flip people off. [laughing]