CNN’s Zeleny On Auto Repeat: Michigan Protests ‘Not Organic,’ ‘Not Organic,’ ‘Not Organic’

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CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny really wants you to know that protests about reopening the government are “not organic.” Zeleny described them this way three times on Sunday night, telling Don Lemon, “there's no question these are not organic protests..”

He then compared the Michigan rallies to the dreaded Tea Party: “As they began to spread across the country, it was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition which was essentially an early group that organized the Tea Party movement. We're really almost a decade ago.”

 

 

Seemingly trying to have it both ways, he continued, “But, Don, the reality is these are not organic protests. That doesn't necessarily take away the anger the real anger.” But in case you were still wondering, the protests are not organic:  

Yes, some of them are actual people just coming because they are frustrated. Of course everyone is frustrated by this. But this systemic organization we're seeing in capitals across the country is no doubt being organized by a loose connection of groups and is very - of the tea party group like I said from about a decade or so. We saw them in capitals across the country we will see them again next week here. So this is not something that is happening organically.

Zeleny likes to point things out. In October of 2018, he awkwardly explained this fact about the victims of the Las Vegas massacre: “Something else I think to keep in mind, a lot of these country music supporters were likely Trump supporters.”

In contrast, in 2009, Zeleny offered this embarrassing question to then-new president Barack Obama: “During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office? Enchanted you the most from serving in this office? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?”

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.

CNN Tonight

4/19/2020

9:09 PM ET 

DON LEMON: Jeff Zeleny, you were in Michigan this week you saw those protests firsthand. They have since sprung up all over the place even against GOP Governors. Are these organic protests? Who is organizing them actually?

JEFF ZELENY: Don there's no question these are not organic protests. Most protests on both sides aren't organic. They start with the group they start with some type of essential. But in these cases, in the Michigan case which really got so much attention there in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday. As they began to spread across the country, it was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition which was essentially an early group that organized the Tea Party movement. We're really almost a decade ago. Also the Michigan Freedom Fund which is loosely connected with the Divas Family of course the Secretary of Education. She's from Michigan a long time Michigan wealthy conservative donor so they say that they just promoted this on Facebook. They didn't organize it.

But Don the reality is these are not organic protests. That doesn't necessarily take away the anger the real anger. There's real anger out there, no question. As I was you know watching these protesters from afar as far as we could in Michigan on Wednesday of this week and as we saw them across the country, yes many of them came because you know they just wanted to protest. You know they were supporting President Trump. They were supporting a variety of issues. Pro-militia Anti-vaccination, pro life other things, but they were also some business owners out there who say, look, the stringent restrictions are hurting businesses.

So yes some of them are actual people just coming because they are frustrated. Of course everyone is frustrated by this. But this systemic organization we're seeing in capitals across the country is no doubt being organized by a loose connection of groups and is very - of the tea party group like I said from about a decade or so. We saw them in capitals across the country we will see them again next week here. So this is not something that is happening organically. But Don the odd thing is they are protesting in many cases the President's own policy. The White House's own guidelines here. If you look at the guidelines saying these three phases of opening up, none of these states are actually ready for this to be opened up. So that's what is so odd. You see someone waving a Trump banner in air as we saw in Lansing, Michigan. In fact, they are protesting the President's own policy. So it would take the President himself to shut this down of course he has no interest in doing so Don.

 

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