The panel on Tuesday’s edition of CNN Tonight did not take the news of Kamala Harris ending her bid for the White House very well. Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson attributed the demise of her campaign to “sexism” and actually had the audacity to claim that “the coverage on her is pretty tough.” Apparently, Dyson has not paid very much attention to the news over the past year; otherwise, he would know that the California Senator has received largely fawning coverage from the media.
CNN political commentator Angela Rye used her platform to complain that “what is happening right now is a white debate stage,” expressing disgust that the only candidates who have qualified for the upcoming debate so far are “snow white.” Dyson complained, “[Harris] got pummeled by... sexism. I mean, the coverage on her is pretty tough. And it’s a double, maybe triple standard, as Angela Rye tweeted not long ago.”
When a voter in September made a Trump joke using the ugly word “retard,” candidate Harris laughed and agreed, “Well said.” The networks offered scant coverage of this gaffe. No member of the media put Harris on a pedestal more than The Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Following Attorney General Bill Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Colbert praised Harris as “the true star of the Barr bashin’.”
The Late Show host’s cheerleading for Harris continued after the first Democratic debate when Colbert proclaimed that “the Joe (Biden) cone was met by the Kamala Harris flame thrower.” Colbert argued that while Biden “had the Joe cone…she made Joe scream, you scream, we all scream holy cow she might be President!”
Two other late-night hosts, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, also showered Harris with doting media coverage throughout her campaign. The lovefests for Harris extended to network and cable news; with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King describing the presidential hopeful as a “star” and CNN commentators calling her “so unforgettable.” Like Colbert, MSNBC and CNN declared Harris the winner of the first Democratic debate; labeling her performance as “brave” and “powerful” and gushing about how she “commanded the stage” in her “masterful performance.”
Needless to say, the failure of Harris’s campaign obviously had nothing to do with unfair coverage by the media.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Tuesday’s edition of CNN Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Tonight With Don Lemon
DON LEMON: Tonight, let’s look at the state of the race, and the Democratic field just got a little smaller. California Senator Kamala Harris announcing that she is suspending her campaign; saying that she doesn’t have the financial resources and her poll numbers are consistently low. President Trump retweeting Corey Lewandowski, saying, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Harris, well, firing back, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
LEMON: Let’s start with you, Michael. Kamala Harris dropping out. Giving the polls…given the polls, it’s not shocking. But she needed a lot of money. 20,000 people at her rally when she first started. But failed…she failed to get the support that she needed. Remember when she came out with the 20,000 people? What happened?
DYSON: Well, she got pummeled by, you know, sexism. I mean, the coverage on her is pretty tough. And it’s a double, maybe triple standard, as Angela Rye tweeted not long ago, and I love that. And, look, I think something else is going on, too. I think there is a delayed response to President Obama among certain constituencies in this sense. Love Obama the man, idolize him, but in terms of policies, rethinking what the consequences of those were. So, when you look at a Kamala Harris or a Cory Booker, for obvious reasons, I think there’s a delayed grief among certain African-American people where it didn’t gain traction to that degree.
LEMON: You understand that?
DYSON: I’m just saying they’re mad at Obama for what he didn’t do. They love him as a human being. Kamala Harris conjures or evokes a similar kind of presentation and so does Cory Booker with policies mostly, you know, I mean, progressive but, you know, tacking toward the center as opposed to left-leaning policies. So, I’m saying that there’s a kind of delayed reaction to Obama. Can’t diss him individually, but collectively, I think there’s something going on.
LEMON: Angela, we talked about this, black women fueling the Democratic Party now, help…helping to win races all over. I was talking to my mom. She was talking about the governor’s race down in Louisiana. And she said…she said “listen, don’t get it twisted. Trump was on the ballot in Louisiana…
LEMON: …and the more he came to Louisiana, the more…especially black women down there…got out and were doing get out the vote rallies and what have you.” But you don’t see, you…the, the, the support for black candidates, especially black women candidates, among the party. What’s going on?
RYE: So, I think that there are a number of things going on and there probably should be a think piece. I’ll defer to Dr. Dyson.
LEMON: I know, I was going to say smart brother.
RYE: Maybe he’ll let me be…
LEMON: Do you understand that?
RYE: Maybe he’ll let me have some lines in it. But I...I think that…that what we really have to come to terms with is the fact that we are judged extremely harshly. So, while Kamala Harris is sitting in a Senate hearing room being all of us, you see black women, white women, everybody tweeting, she’s all of us in this moment. She’s speaking for us in this moment. But then when it comes time for her to enter into this presidential race, the only record that people can remember to cling to is her prosecutorial record, forgetting that perhaps in a human evolution, whether on a micro or a macro level, right, this woman was just all of us moments ago. But you’re going back to a time where you perhaps didn’t even know her name. I think the other issue that we really have to come to terms with as the party, Don, because you brought it up, is we’re going to have an implosion. Come time…come to the end of this primary, if this party does not figure out a system that works to account for the big tent that it says it serves, because what is happening right now is a white debate stage just a week and a half from now…
RYE: …and rich people who Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren regularly talk about, the millionaires and the billionaires, there’s about to be two of them on the stage perhaps.
LEMON: That, the…look, it’s up on the screen.
RYE: It’s snow white.