Camerota Defends Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory on Farrakhan Ties: They 'Sound Contrite'

November 23rd, 2018 11:59 AM

Say you're Linda Sarsour—a big BDS fan and fierce critic of Israel. Or you're Tamika Mallory—a big Farrakhan fan who has refused to renounce him after he recently compared Jews to "termites." We've got good news for you. You've got a friend at CNN: Alisyn Camerota.

On New Day this morning, Camerota interviewed Teresa Shook, founder of the Women's March. Shook has called for Sarsour, Mallory and other March co-chairs to step down over their anti-Semitism and homophobia. For some reason, Camerota started the segment by playing dumb and acting shocked. The Women's March, a force behind a "historic election for female candidates," was tragically fracturing, and she didn't seem to know why.  



Shook came across as anything but a polished public speaker. She vaguely mentioned actresses Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing -- who are refusing to speak at the Women's March this January because of Sarsour and Mallory -- and then said "the relationship with Farrakhan and Hamas were troubling to many of the community." Camerota acted like CNN wasn't a news network, and somehow they didn't have time over the last few weeks to check out what Sarsour and Mallory were saying.

Camerota acknowledged Farrakhan recently compared Jews to termites, but then suggested when Mallory called Farrakhan a "GOAT" -- the "greatest of all time" -- that was a year ago. As if we didn't know Farrakhan's anti-Semitism a year ago? 

Then Camerota assembled a series of statements from Sarsour justifying herself.  Shook insisted "This has been said before. There's been apologies that have been made before, and they say they will make changes, and then the changes never really happen."

Camerota read (and put on screen) some eyewash that Sarsour and company put out for the press: "We are imperfect. We don’t know everything and we have caused harm. At times we have responded with hurt. But we are committed to learning." Camerota rose to the co-chairs' defense: "Why isn’t that good enough? They sound contrite. They’re apologizing. They want to continue to learn. Why can’t they stay on?"

But Shook repeated her telling point: "I will say that they have said that in the past. They make those statements. And then nothing changes."

CNN's chyron read "CAN WOMEN'S MARCH MOVEMENT SURVIVE FARRAKHAN TIES?" That's not the way CNN handled Donald Trump being endorsed by David Duke. They demanded a disassociation, and then hammered Trump for not doing it quickly enough for them. 

Here's a partial transcript: 

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Just days after historic election for female candidates in America, at least 102 women elected to the House for next year, there is a fracture inside the movement that’s credited with launching the engagement of women. The founder of the Women’s March is now demanding that her current co-chairs step down over very troubling accusations. Joining us now is Teresa Shook, she is the founder of the Women’s March movement. Teresa, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Tell us what happened. What went wrong? What are you accusing your co-chairs of?

TERESA SHOOK: I don’t really think I was accusing--thank you for having me. I just made a statement asking them to step down --

CAMEROTA: Yes. But what did they do wrong?

SHOOK: There has been some feeling for quite some time that there was some anti-Semitism, and hate speech, and homophobia remarks --

. . . 

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry to interrupt. If you could just be specific about what were those events. What specifically did your co-chairs say or do that was anti-Semitic?

SHOOK: Okay, yes. Tree of Life happened, and then the Alyssa Milano came out and Debra Messing came out, and then there was the German NGO that rescinded the award. And we are a global movement, and the relationship with Farrakhan and Hamas were troubling to many of the community and have been for a while and so those were the reasons.

CAMEROTA: So let me try to connect some of the dots as well. So, a week before the Tree of Life shooting, the shooting at that synagogue, Louis Farrakhan made public, anti-Semitic statemetns. He said I’m not an anti-Semite, I’m anti-termite. 

. . . 

And all of your co-chairs put out a statement in response. This is from Bob Bland, this is Carmen Perez, this is from Linda Sarsour, this is from Tamika Mallory, and basically what they're trying to say is that we’re in the process of learning, that there's a steep learning curve. So here's what they say:

'We are imperfect. We don't know everything, and we have caused harm. And at times we have responded with hurt. But we are committed to learning. We are grateful for people who have been with us for the past two years, wrestling with the challenges and opportunities of what we are trying to build. Our ongoing work speaks for itself. That's our focus, not armchair critiques from those who want to take credit for our labor.'

And, so, why isn’t that good enough?I mean, they sound contrite. They’re apologizing. They want to continue to learn. Why can’t they stay on?

SHOOK: I’m not saying they can’t. That’s up to the community to decide. I was speaking for myself. There's been a huge outpouring of support for that statement and so that’s for the community. That’s not for me to decide. That’s for the community and the sister organizations to work out. But I will say that they have said that in the past. They make those statements. And then nothing changes.