CNN Hosts Former Communist Party Candidate to Praise OWS, Hit Obama From Left

CNN's Don Lemon hosted radical leftist and former Communist Party member Angela Davis on Sunday night's Newsroom for what he called a "blast from the past." Davis hit President Obama from the left and praised the Wall Street protests as a continuation of the movement that swept "a black president who identified with a black radical tradition" into office.

CNN labeled Davis as a "political activist" but did not report that she was a prominent Communist Party member and twice its vice presidential candidate in the 1980s. As a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz, she was urged by the state's then-Governor Ronald Reagan not to be allowed to teach at the state's universities because of her Communist Party membership.

Lemon teed Davis up by asking her to analyze the meaning of the protests and the upcoming elections. When she touted the need to hold Democrats accountable, the liberal CNN anchor urged her to "Follow up on that."

"Obama was elected largely because of an upsurge of young people, such as the upsurge of the Occupy Wall Street movement," Davis argued. "It was because young people refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a black president, a black president who identified with a black radical tradition."

She added that "it seems to me that this is the continuation of that movement. This is what should have happened in the immediate aftermath of the election, and perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today three years later."

So Davis tied the Wall Street protests to a movement that swept a president "who identified with a black radical tradition" into office. Lemon, meanwhile, tried to color her leftist critique of the President as a genuine criticism of Obama.

"And while Davis is clearly ideological about her party affiliation, she lets no one, including President Obama off the hook," Lemon argued.

 


A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 30 at 10:51 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

DON LEMON: And tonight, we focus on the Occupy Movement that started on Wall Street and spread around the world. While they say they're focusing on banks, they, their supporters and detractors are finding it hard not to insert politics. Tonight, we hear from a blast from the past, someone who's no stranger to sit-ins and civil disobedience – 1960s and 70s political activist Angela Davis.

(Video Clip)

LEMON: We can't ignore the fact that we have a presidential election coming up in 2012. We're in the middle of it right now. What do you – what does this mean for you, do you think, or for the country, in political terms? Does it benefit either party?

ANGELA DAVIS, political activist: Well, I think we have to guarantee that the Republicans aren't elected but we also have to put pressure on the Democrats. We have to put pressure on the Obama administration, so that, you know, some of the needs of the people of this country can be met.

LEMON: Yeah. I think some people may be surprised that you said, you know, we have to put pressure on the Obama administration and on Democrats. Follow up on that.

DAVIS: Well, as I was saying to the people who are involved in the occupation here in New York, Obama was elected largely because of an upsurge of young people, such as the upsurge of the Occupy Wall Street movement. This is why a president was elected, a candidate was elected, whom most people thought could never have a chance of achieving that goal.

It was because young people refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a black president, a black president who identified with a black radical tradition. They said that it was possible when everyone else felt it was impossible.

And so it seems to me that this is the continuation of that movement. This is what should have happened in the immediate aftermath of the election, and perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today three years later.

(End Video Clip)

LEMON: And as you heard, Davis is transparent about being a liberal and doesn't want a Republican to win the White House, but says pressure must be put on Democrats. And while Davis is clearly ideological about her party affiliation, she lets no one, including President Obama off the hook. And that is the "No Talking Point" segment tonight.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014