CNN’s Sanchez Asks Young Muslim Voters Leading Questions on War, Obama

CNN’s Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN’s series titled “The League of First Time Voters,” featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on “American Morning” and CNN’s “Newsroom” program on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked, “When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?” Later, he asked, “You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?

After his “War on Terror” question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez asked, “Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?” Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his “bin Laden” question. After woman answered affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, “We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?” Two others answered his question as well.

When one woman started talking about why she wanted to vote for Barack Obama, that he’s “open to dialogue” and “a man of action and serious about peace,” Sanchez asked “Would you say that's the most impressive thing about his platform?” After she and two others answered his question, Sanchez did a quick poll of the young Muslims as to who they were voting for. All but one raised their hands for Obama, the remaining man raised his hands for Hillary Clinton, and none raised their hands for John McCain.

None of young Muslims that spoke in the segment -- four women and two men -- were identified, either on-screen or in the transcript that was posted on CNN.com. This is also the case with the previous “League of First Time Voters” segments that have aired this past week.

The full transcript of the “League of First Time Voters” segment, which first aired during the 7 am hour of Thursday’s “American Morning:”

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: Many Muslims are confused about this war. Is it a war against terrorism or is it a war against Muslims and Islam?

SANCHEZ: Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: There is mis-communication about weapons of mass destruction, there's mis-communication about what terrorism really is. There have been groups in Iraq that have been oppressed for decades.

SANCHEZ: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: And those groups are fighting against those oppressors. And we are getting the wrong image and connecting the wrong people in thinking that terrorism from the 9/11 attacks is linked to Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1: I think if the U.S. was really concerned about fostering a stable democracy in Iraq, it would look to the kind of indigenous forces that are really in favor of democracy. I don't think that's fair to assume that all Iraqis oppose democracy. But when it's framed as something that's like a foreign imposition and some people see it as almost like neo-imperialism or something like that, then I think it's just really counter-productive at achieving that.

SANCHEZ: You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: Yes.

SANCHEZ: We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #3: It gives him more people to sympathize with his cause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3: The reason we have the image we have overseas is because of this idea that we can bulldoze and not be aware of cultural differences, not be aware of sensitivities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: A key point that makes me want to vote for Obama is he's open to dialogue. He's a man of action and serious about peace.

SANCHEZ: Would you say that's the most impressive thing about his platform?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: I think so...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #4: I would say, like, that he's really open and he's really accepting of others and he'd be willing to at least compromise if it's possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: I think he's a leader who will take this country to the next century, you know, as a global superpower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: We're looking for a new leadership with a new direction. We need a leadership that will work to enhance and restore the American image abroad, especially in the Muslim world.

SANCHEZ: Raise your hand if you're planning to vote for Barack Obama. Raise your hand if you're planning to vote right now for Hillary Clinton. Two in the back. Raise your hand if you're planning to vote for John McCain. Nobody voting for John McCain.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center