In one of the more bizarre segments seen in the past several weeks on CNN — and in the context of recent events and broadcasts, that's saying something — CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson claimed on Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose to hold the G-20 summit in Hamburg so that Trump could "hear the voices of dissent" from protesters.
The only problem: Germany chose this week's summit location a year ago, when no one even knew who the next U.S. president would be, and when all the allegedly smart money was on Hillary Clinton winning the general election.
Transcript (beginning at the 0:19 mark; bolds are mine throughout this post):
JOHN KING, CNN: CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Hamburg, where one of the interesting G-20 dynamics this time, Nic, will include demonstrations much closer to the event site than we've become accustomed to in recent years. Why is that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN: Yeah, there is a reason for it, quite simply Angela Merkel has chosen to hold this summit in an environment, in a location that can be surrounded by protesters — not as we've seen (with) some summits on a remote hilltop (where) the whole village or town around it is secure.
There will be protesters here. There were protesters last night. The police had to turn on a water cannon on about a thousand of them. They just sort of rained it on them. They didn't wash them off the streets.
There was a women's protest just down beside here a little while ago.
But the essence of the idea here is, not forgetting that Angela Merkel is in a reelection campaign this year, the protesters will be able to get close so that, in part, President Trump can hear the voices of dissent here in Germany, here in Europe.
And that voice of dissent, Angela Merkel's voice of dissent with President Trump over their different views on trade, the concerns about protectionism from the United States.
Angela Merkel was quoted in a popular weekly political paper here saying that the United States sees globalization differently to how we do. We see a win-win situation, she said. The United States sees winners and losers where only some profit in globalization.
So the stakes have been set pretty high there, and the people of Germany and others will be able to give voice and vent their frustrations and feelings that perhaps the German chancellor is too polite to say in terms that they will.
This isn't just utterly bizarre. It's utterly detached from reality.
As Hemingway noted in her critique, after excerpting a June 2016 Associated Press dispatch when Germany chose Hamburg as this year's G-20 site a over year ago (links are in original):
Robertson oddly claimed that the protesters of the G-20 summit would be supportive of Merkel’s pro-globalization stance ...
... Perhaps Robertson is unaware that the G-20 protesters are anticapitalists who are not supportive of globalization.
The Telegraph reported on Tuesday, “Thousands of violent anti-Capitalist protestors are planning to disrupt this week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg, the German interior minister warned on Tuesday.”
Reuters wrote, “‘Welcome to Hell’. That’s the greeting for U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders from anti-capitalist protesters in Hamburg who aim to disrupt the G-20 summit, already rife with tensions over trade and climate change."
Later verbiage in the Reuters report noted the presence of about "8,000 ... deemed by security forces to be ready to commit violence," including "1,000 black-clad and masked anarchists" among the total current and expected 100,000 protesters.
The idea that anyone could consider the protests a pro-Merkel, anti-Trump exercise is something only those in the establishment press fever swamps could conjure up.
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Let's go one step further here, and take it on faith that Merkel and Germany, having chosen Hamburg a year ago, decided to relax originally tighter security plans for the G-20 summit in that city to ensure that protesters would be close enough for Trump to hear them.
But, if that's really how Merkel and the Germans thought things through, what Robertson is really saying is that the country's chancellor and its security forces are perfectly willing to accept the violence and property destruction which has occurred and will occur, even though it could have been avoided, and even to accept the greater chance of violence against foreign dignitaries. Is all of this something an incumbent chancellor running for reelection would risk just so a U.S. president can supposedly "hear the voices of dissent"?
As I noted earlier, this is so bizarre and utterly detached from reality that in-studio host John King should have burst out in laughter.
It's telling, and damning, that he didn't.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.