CNN Guest: Is Donald Trump Turning Liberals Into Conspiracy Theorists?

May 9th, 2017 7:50 PM

During an interview by Cable News Network anchor Brianna Keilar on Tuesday morning, May 9, CNN Politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza addressed the question of whether Republican President Donald Trump is causing liberal Democrats to embrace many bizarre "conspiracy theories."

Cillizza asserted that he's seen a rise in people mistakenly accepting the concepts that the House of Representatives celebrated last week's passage of health-care legislation with a beer party, that rape and sexual assault would not be pre-existing conditions in that law, the Federal Communications Commission was targeting CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert, and the chief usher was fired over a disagreement with the Trumps.The interview took place the day after Cillizza posted a column that stated:

Much has been written about how President Trump's election has had a profound impact on the Republican Party. What's drawn less attention -- but deserves more! -- is how Trump is affecting Democrats.

What's drawn less attention is how Trump's presidency has convinced liberals that every bad thing whispered about any Republican is, by default, true.

Keilar began the interview by noting: "We’re talking about conspiracy theories. There are plenty of them on the right, with some people believing that anything negative they read or hear about a Clinton or an Obama or any Democrat must be true, but the left is not conspiracy-free either."

She then brought Cillizza into the conversation: "We talked about the one side with some of the conspiracy theories on the right, but you found many examples that this is happening on the left."

"There’s no question," he replied, "that Donald Trump traffics more in conspiracy theory in bits of news that he extrapolates outward that wind up not being true than any presidential candidate, president than we've ever seen before. That said, I think a lot of Democrats dislike Trump so much that they're ready to believe anything."

"Anything negative," Keilar stated.

Cillizza then provided an example: "During that health-care debate last week, a reporter spotted a bunch of beer being brought into the Capitol. That tweet was retweeted more than 3,000 times, largely by liberals on Twitter saying: 'They're taking away people's health care, and they're celebrating with beer!'"

"And then you heard, I think, even elected members of Congress, they were cracking beers open," she added.

"Lots," Cillizza noted. "Headlines everywhere."

"Not true, though," Keilar stated.

"No, never was true, was for something else," he explained.

"A reception on the Hill?" she asked. "Pizza, beer?"

"Right," he responded. "As anyone who's been up on the Hill, [it's easy to see] they have a lot of receptions up there."

"But the thing is: more than 3,000 retweets for the first week," he continued. "The clarification tweet, this reporter's, got 300 because there's a segment of people who just want to believe that that's what they were doing."

"So what else did you find?"  Keilar asked.

"The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, opening an investigation into some controversial comments Stephen Colbert, a late-night host, made about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin," he noted before stating: "The FCC opens investigations lots of times where there are complaints, things that may violate their standards."

"The standard operating procedure; CNN reporting was right on this," he continued. "We've had an FCC spokesman saying: 'There is nothing new here about this.'"

"If someone asks," the host agreed. "we have to take a look. It happens all the time."

Cillizza then stated:

However, this does not, Brianna, take away from the fact that Donald Trump traffics in real conspiracy theories. Has, probably always will, but the left is not immune from this either.

I do think it's the effect of Donald Trump. I think he makes them so angry, so unhappy with the process, so unhappy with the fact that he's president, that they are willing to believe anything that makes him or the Republican Party look bad.

"It's sort of human nature," Keilar asserted, "people in a way confirming what they believe."

"That's exactly right more and more now because you can find news sites, cable TV, whatever that plays to your particular biases," he noted.

"Well, it was on TV, or I read a headline so it must be true, so you seek out things that confirm that these stories are true. And then of course, it wasn't actually true two days later and you missed that because it doesn't seem legit or your beliefs."

"And maybe it's not loud enough as well to notice," the host said as she ended the interview.

CNN rarely examines liberal Democrats alongside their GOP counterparts. Is that cable television channel actually trying to be "fair and balanced" for a change?