Out-of-Control Amanpour Badgers Pro-Brexit Official; He Pushes Back

CNN's Christiane Amanpour took her left-leaning, pro-European Union activism to a new level on Tuesday during an interview of pro-Brexit politician Daniel Hannan. Amanpour, who recently blasted the referendum as an example of "xenophobia", tried to implicate the British member of the European Parliament as somehow partially responsible for supposed post-vote "hate crimes." Hannan didn't take her clear bias sitting down, however: "You guys have been shouting 'racist' so long, you're not listening to what we were actually saying...if I was relying on CNN...I would think that this was nativist vote, a protectionist vote. It's the opposite." [video below]

The anchor began her unprofessional interrogation of the Brexit supporter by accusing the guest and his allies of not having a plan after the vote: "The question is being asked, what is the plan? And we're not hearing it from the main Brexit leaders." Hannan answered, in part, by noting that "48 percent of British people voted for no change....And so, we may have to temper what we're doing, and go for a more gradual and more phased repatriation of power, while leaving some of the existing stuff in place."

Amanpour pounced after this response, and contended that anti-E.U. activists were now backtracking in the wake of the referendum: "I'm hearing...a very much softer, gentler version of what you proposed during the campaign — temper some of the stuff — like what? Like immigration? Because you yourself have, sort of, stepped back." This sparked an extended exchange between the politician and the purported journalist:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You have been through all of these on other channels. The reason people voted — the majority of them — and I can play you what they've said — is to stop immigration into this country

DANIEL HANNAN, BRITISH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Hey — no, no. Christiane, you just — you just accused me of doing a U-turn

AMANPOUR: No, backtracking. Okay, maybe that's a U-turn

HANNAN: Okay; okay. You've accused me of backtracking. When have I ever said anything different?

AMANPOUR: You have said — and your 'Leave' campaign — and you are the lead spokesman of the 'Leave' campaign — that immigration and the free flow of movement was the sine qua non

HANNAN: Never — I've never ever said that. I've written a book called, 'Why Vote Leave,' setting up what would happen—

AMANPOUR: Would you agree that the 'Leave' campaign's main objective, in terms of sovereignty, was to stop the free movement

HANNAN: Before I answer, would you please retract

AMANPOUR: No, I'm not retracting anything!

The CNN anchor continued pressing her slanted point about immigration. Hannan shot back, "What we said is we would take back control. Now, what that means is that a foreign court should no longer get to determine who can reside in this country; who can enter this country; that that should be a question for parliamentary sovereignty." Amanpour wondered, "So you're saying that parliamentary sovereignty could quite easily allow the same number of people to keep coming in?" The guest replied, "That will be a decision for Parliament. That's how democracy works!" The journalist cried, "You've got to be kidding me!"

Hannan then retorted with his "you guys have been shouting 'racist' so long, you're not listening to what we were actually saying" line. This prompted a new back-and-forth between the anchor and the member of the European Parliament. However, Amanpour proved his point correct, as she played a clip of three British citizens explaining their votes for Brexit — including one who underlined that "it's all about immigration. It's not about trade or Europe or anything like that. It's all about immigration. It's to stop the Muslims from coming into this country."

Later in the nine-minute segment, the liberal journalist raised the "post-Brexit hate crimes — the graffiti; the hurling of insults." Hannan made his disgust known in his reply: "Oh, come on! Oh, come on! And that's our fault!?...That's an outrageous question!" Amanpour kept on badgering him, but the guest was having none of it: "Why assume that it's fallout? Hang on; sorry; sorry. That is a 'when did you stop beating your wife' question."

Near the end of the interview, the CNN anchor cited an article by pro-Brexit politician Boris Johnson. She again revealed her bias on the matter: "Let me ask you this about Boris Johnson...he's trying to be the next prime minister and party leader.....He hasn't gone out and made a big vision speech or a big plan speech. He's written it in a column, for which he gets paid a lot of money." After reading the excerpt, Amanpour wondered, "I thought this referendum was about disassociating from the E.U." Hannan corrected the record: "It was about...a freer Britain; and a more democratic Britain — one that is interested and engaged with the affairs of every continent, including Europe....I have absolutely no issue with collaborating with our immediate neighbors."

The journalist again interrupted, "How do you expect to be a leader at all these tables, when you're not part of the E.U.?" The politician responded, "We're the fifth largest economy in the world. We're the fourth military power....the implication here that people have just voted for closing doors; for protectionism....is just the opposite of what we were actually campaigning on....We were making a liberal argument for a global, engaged, international Britain; and we want to look beyond a declining innovated Eurozone to the growing markets further afield."

Hannan later rebuked Amanpour and other media critics of the Brexit vote in a Tuesday column for The Daily Telegraph:

Since the vote, Remainers have been lashing out like frustrated toddlers. If you voted Leave, you're a bigot, a hooligan, a thug. I'm not just talking about social media. I’m talking about much of the broadcasting establishment. Interviewers start from the proposition that Leavers are either racists themselves or cynical manipulators of racism....

...In the past 24 hours, I have twice had it put to me on air that I am responsible for hate crimes. The first time was by Christiane Amanpour on CNN, who wanted me to condemn some horrible graffiti that she called "fallout" from the vote. When I replied that there were a few racist idiots in every society, she thought that I was refusing to condemn them. So a few hours later, interviewed by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, I decided to leave no doubt. Yes, of course I condemned intolerance, though I still thought it absurd to suggest that there was some kind of continuum linking racists to the 52 per cent of Britons who had opted for democratic self-government.

...Just as Leavers need to acknowledge that we have only a limited mandate, so Remainers must acknowledge which way the vote went. Only then will it be possible to work together on a new deal with Brussels, keeping parts of our current arrangements while repatriating powers. This isn’t a good time to sulk.

The full transcript of Christiane Amanpour's "interview" of Daniel Hannan for CNN on June 28, 2016:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program Daniel Hannan.

DANIEL HANNAN, BRITISH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Thank you, Christiane—

AMANPOUR: So, proud to be British — and, of course, a lot people are saying, a new dawn independence day — but the truth is that, all day, the question is being asked, what is the plan? And we're not hearing it from the main Brexit leaders. We hear the prime minister lay out a plan for negotiations and pre-negotiations. What is the plan?

HANNAN: Well, he is still the prime minister, so you're, in a way, assigning responsibility without power. You're saying, what do we want to do when we're not yet in office, right? The plan is—

AMANPOUR: So basically, you're saying he has to — the guy who lost — has to figure out your plan—

HANNAN: I would have liked him to have appointed one of the 'Leave' campaigners as the person in charge of the re-negotiation. I was hoping that would happen today; and then, we could have got going with the process. But I mean, I don't think there's any secret about what the plan is. It's — it's a repatriation of power. We have to, of course, accept the constraint of a very narrow result — 48 percent of British people voted for no change. We can't just wish that fact away. We have to respect their opinions. Two of the four nations within the U.K. voted for the status quo. And so, we may have to temper what we're doing, and go for a more gradual and more phased repatriation of power, while leaving some of the existing stuff in place. So, we have to listen to both sides—

AMANPOUR: So, is that existing — and now, I'm hearing — you know, a very much softer, gentler version of what you proposed during the campaign — temper some of the stuff — like what? Like immigration? Because you yourself have, sort of, stepped back. So has Boris Johnson—

HANNAN: Hang on. What have I said stepped back from?

AMANPOUR: You have said that —

HANNAN: Yes—

AMANPOUR: Let me get my—

HANNAN: Yes, I've said that — that we want control back, rather than—

AMANPOUR: No, no. You have said that, maybe — yes, exactly!

HANNAN: And when did I ever say the opposite?

AMANPOUR: You have said—

HANNAN: When did I ever not say that?

AMANPOUR: The numbers—

HANNAN: Right, when did I ever not say that?

AMANPOUR: Listen—

HANNAN: I wrote a book about this—

AMANPOUR: And you know, and you've been — you have been through all of these on other channels. The reason people voted — the majority of them — and I can play you what they've said — is to stop immigration into this country—

HANNAN: Hey — no, no. Christiane, you just — you just accused me of doing a U-turn—

AMANPOUR: No, backtracking. Okay, maybe that's a U-turn—

HANNAN: Okay; okay. You've accused me of backtracking. When have I ever said anything different?

AMANPOUR: You have said — and your 'Leave' campaign — and you are the lead spokesman of the 'Leave' campaign — that immigration and the free flow of movement was the sine qua non—

HANNAN: Never — I've never ever said that. I've written a book called, 'Why Vote Leave,' setting up what would happen—

AMANPOUR: Would you agree that the 'Leave' campaign's main objective, in terms of sovereignty, was to stop the free movement—

HANNAN: Before I answer, would you please retract—

AMANPOUR: No, I'm not retracting anything!

HANNAN: Then, people at home can Google this. They can look at what I've said; and they can see whether it's fair for you to accuse me of having done—

AMANPOUR: So, let me tell you something. Let me ask you: are you then saying that this immigration is going to be much lighter than you all promised?

HANNAN: So our issue — I have never, ever made any commitment on numbers ever. On the contrary, I've said—

AMANPOUR: Not numbers — just on facts — no free movement of — of labor!

HANNAN: What we said is we would take back control. Now, what that means is that a foreign court should no longer get to determine who can reside in this country; who can enter this country; that that should be a question for parliamentary sovereignty. We are clear about that; and that will happen. It does not—

AMANPOUR: So you're saying — you're saying that parliamentary sovereignty could quite easily allow the same number of people to keep coming in?

HANNAN: That will be a decision for Parliament. That's how democracy works!

AMANPOUR: You've got to be kidding me!

HANNAN: What?

AMANPOUR: This whole thing was run on — can I play for you—

HANNAN: No, no, no! Yeah, you guys have been shouting 'racist' so long, you're not listening to what we were actually saying—

AMANPOUR: No, I didn't say — did I say that? You retract that right now—

HANNAN: When I have ever—

AMANPOUR: Did I say that?

HANNAN: When have I ever made immigration my issue?

AMANPOUR: Did I say that? Did I say that? Did I say that?

HANNAN: You — well, you have accused me of backtracking—

AMANPOUR: Backtracking is not 'racist'—

HANNAN: And I want you to give me one bit of evidence — have I ever said anything different from what you just—

AMANPOUR: Let me play the soundbite, Daniel. Daniel, let me play the soundbite. You refused to put a piece in — but I'm going to tell you what they say of why people say they voted for this 'Leave' — mostly. Let's play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (from pre-recorded segment on ITN): Why are you so elated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: It's all about immigration. It's not about trade or Europe or anything like that. It's all about immigration. It's to stop the Muslims from coming into this country — simple as that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you think you've voted to leave the E.U. to stop Muslims coming into the country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To stop immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the movement of people in Europe — fair enough — but not from Africa, Syria, Iraq — everywhere else — it's all wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we first went in, it was for a trade only. The governments went and gave everything to Germany. My parents, my grandparents fought for England to be free; and it's about time that we come back to be free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: Foreigners — get them out! Kick them all out. Now, that's all I've got say, actually.

AMANPOUR: So, just tell me what you plan, then, for immigration — because you know and we all know — because we've done this endlessly for months. You even said — your group even said that if we had to leave the single market, in order not to have the free flow of labor — and people would have to leave the single market! And now, they're backtracking on that, too.

HANNAN: This is a global country; a merchant country; a maritime country. We've always been connected to every continent and archipelago, right? The argument against the E.U. is that it's in decline, and that we can do better raising our eyes to more opulent markets overseas—

AMANPOUR: What are people going to say?

HANNAN: That has been my argument throughout — on every interview; every speech — and I've written a book called, 'Why Vote Leave,' where it's all set out. You will not find any argument there—

AMANPOUR: But you did back Boris Johnson, and you did back (unintelligible); and you did back—

HANNAN: Well, listen — hang on — because if I had — if I had — if I was relying on CNN as my only source of evidence—

AMANPOUR: (laughs) Oh, please!

HANNAN: I would think that this was nativist vote, a protectionist vote. It's the opposite. We are a global country—

AMANPOUR: The prime minister contracted—

HANNAN: And we can do better than just a regional association.

AMANPOUR: All right. Are you concerned—

HANNAN: That's been the argument right from the start—

AMANPOUR: Are you concerned about some of the post-Brexit hate crimes — the graffiti; the hurling of insults—

HANNAN: Oh, come on! Oh, come on! And that's — that's our fault!?

AMANPOUR: Are you — the prime minister started — the prime minister started Parliament today with—

HANNAN: That's an outrageous question! In every country, in every population — no—

AMANPOUR: It's an outrageous question? I'm asking you, as a politician, are you concerned about some of the fallout—

HANNAN: Yeah, yeah — allow me to answer — of course!

AMANPOUR: Why is that outrageous?

HANNAN: In every country, you have some racist idiots. In every society, you have some racist idiots. But for you to suggest, without any connection, that this is somehow connected to the campaign—

AMANPOUR: Oh, Daniel!

HANNAN: That you couldn't have had — that there were no racists in Britain before, that there are no—

AMANPOUR: Daniel, that's not what I was saying. I said, are you concerned about the fallout and the hate crime—

HANNAN: But why assume that it is fallout?

AMANPOUR: Again, I don't believe I have used the word 'racist'. Now, let me ask you this about Boris Johnson—

HANNAN: Why assume that it's fallout? Hang on; sorry; sorry. That is a 'when did you stop beating your wife' question—

AMANPOUR: Because; because — no — no, it wasn't, because—

HANNAN: Why is there a connection—

AMANPOUR: Because people have gone into shops and said, and they have said, we voted out; now, go home—

HANNAN: Yeah — and that never happened before. There were never any racists in this country before—

AMANPOUR: No, you haven't voted 'out' before.

HANNAN: There were never any—

AMANPOUR: Daniel, let's not be tautological here. You haven't voted 'out' before—

HANNAN: What you are suggesting is outrageous. What you are suggesting is that there is a connection between people who voted for more democracy—

AMANPOUR: I know what you're doing here, Daniel. I am asking you if some of the hate crime—

HANNAN: And some of these incidents. It's a scandalous thing to say without any evidence of any connection at all—

AMANPOUR: We have the evidence, and I've put it on the air—

HANNAN: What evidence? You show me a link between the vote and this bad behavior—

AMANPOUR: We will show you the graffiti on the Polish community center here. We'll tell you—

HANNAN: Yeah. So, there are some bad people, right?

AMANPOUR: Right! Okay. So I'm just—

HANNAN: Right. Of course, we condemn that, but you — but what's that got to do with this?

AMANPOUR: Fifty-seven percent rise in hate crimes since Brexit — 57 percent rise in hate crimes, according to your police—

HANNAN: Oh, come on! In — in 48 hours?

AMANPOUR: According to the police here — I'm not making it up. I'm just asking you, are you concerned—

HANNAN: What you're suggesting is that 52 percent of the country are on a spectrum that connects them to this—

AMANPOUR: You could say, we call for tolerance.

HANNAN: Well, of course! Why should I — that goes without saying! Why do I need to say that?

AMANPOUR: Okay. You won't answer the other one. Now, let me ask you this about Boris Johnson — okay? Who's maybe — at least he's trying — to be the next prime minister and party leader. This is what he said in his column, which is written. He hasn't gone out and made a big vision speech or a big plan speech. He's written it in a column, for which he gets paid a lot of money. He said, 'I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields. There will continue to be free trade and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defense, to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing.'

HANNAN: Beautifully put.

AMANPOUR: (laughs) You see, I thought this referendum was about disassociating from the E.U.

HANNAN: I get that you thought that—

AMANPOUR: Yeah, but was it?

HANNAN: You were evidently not listening to us.

AMANPOUR: So it wasn't.

HANNAN: Correct.

AMANPOUR: It wasn't about disassociating from the E.U.?

HANNAN: May I tell you what it was about without interruption?

AMANPOUR: Please, please.

HANNAN: Yes. It was about an internationalist global Britain; a multi-regulated Britain; a freer Britain; and a more democratic Britain — one that is interested and engaged with the affairs of every continent, including Europe.

I speak French. I speak Spanish. I lived and worked all over Europe — right? I have absolutely no issue with collaborating with our immediate neighbors. You would have to be insane to be against that—

AMANPOUR: How do you expect to be — I understand that. How do you expect to be a leader at all these tables, when you're not part of the E.U., because they have their—

HANNAN: We're the fifth largest economy in the world. We're the fourth military power—

AMANPOUR: Okay—

HANNAN: We're one of five permanent seat holders on the U.N. Security Council. I don't think we need to moderate all our foreign policy through Mrs. [Federica] Mogherini [High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy]. But I'm sorry, the way — the way — the implication here that people have just voted for closing doors; for protectionism; which was — has been a theme throughout — is just the opposite of what we were actually campaigning on—

AMANPOUR: Okay. Well, we'll see then—

HANNAN: We were making a liberal argument for a global, engaged, international Britain; and we want to look beyond a declining innovated Eurozone to the growing markets further afield, where we have connections.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, we will continue this conversation. Daniel Hannan, thank you very much indeed for joining me tonight.

HANNAN: Thank you.

[H/t: Wednesday item on The Right Scoop blog]

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