CNN's Sanchez Again Teams Up With Media Matters To Slam Conservatives

Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor; Eric Boehlert, Media Matters Senior Fellow; & Roger Aronoff, Accuracy in Media Analyst | NewsBusters.orgAnchor Rick Sanchez used another crazed gunman’s rampage to blast conservative media during CNN’s Newsroom program on Thursday, and brought on Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert as his aide to bash talk radio and Fox News. He hinted that the white supremacist who killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, might have been “motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements...on some TV and radio outlets.”

Sanchez began his panel discussion with Boehlert and Accuracy in Media’s Roger Aronoff at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his indicting line of questioning against conservative radio and TV: “Was there a tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous- he’s a socialist- he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets.”

After introducing his two guests, the CNN anchor let the left-wing partisan Boehlert “start with the premise” which, of course, echoed the preceding introduction: “I don’t think there’s any doubt since Barack Obama’s been elected, there’s been a complete unhinged reaction from the conservative movement in America, and sort of this vigilante and- and militia-style rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the movement, and certainly of conservative media.”

When Sanchez asked if there was a “cause and effect” between the conservative media and these acts of violence, the Media Matters senior fellow affirmed that “it absolutely creates a dangerous environment. There’s no doubt about that. Now, the people who commit these crimes are ultimately responsible, but there’s no question it creates a very dangerous environment.”

Aronoff then countered with “the hatred coming from the Left and people like Keith Olbermann” during the Bush administration. Boehlert flatly denied that there hadn’t been any left-wing inspired violence during that time period: “Where’s the violence on the Left been in the last six or eight years? There hasn’t been any.” He would later claim that there was a “false equivalency now- you know, liberals were critical of Bush and had hate speech during his years. I can’t find any, you know, dehumanizing, demonizing quotes from anyone on the Left about military recruiters.”

The Media Matters fellow is being dishonest. As many assorted left-wing pundits and political leaders condemned the Iraq war and the global war on terrorism, their activist peers in the anti-war movement vandalized recruiting stations in several cities across the U.S. throughout the Bush years, and chased military recruiters off college campuses. More recently, churches which voiced support of Proposition 8 in California were picketed, their services disrupted, and their property damaged after pro-homosexual “marriage” supporters on the Left denounced the “hate” supposedly emanating from the pulpits.

Sanchez did not chime in at any point to question Boehlert’s claims, and even assisted the Media Matters fellow. When Aronoff tried to discredit their claims by citing the website of James von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, where he proclaimed that “socialism is the future of the world,” the CNN anchor brushed this off: “No, that’s not the kind of socialism he’s talking about....He’s talking about socialism as in the Nazi Party socialism.”  That aside, Sanchez must not have heard about how von Brunn railed against “neo-conservatives” and criticized Christianity as a “hoax....[which] destroyed Roman civilization.” He then let Boehlert come back and again recite his talking points: “The Left is not built around this vigilante sort of militia rhetoric of hate....the conservative movement now embraces it.”

Just over two months ago, after the murder of three Pittsburgh police officers by another deranged gunman, Sanchez did something quite similar. He blamed the shooting spree on the murderer having been “convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, ‘Our rights were being infringed upon.’” Boehlert then came on and the two of them tag-teamed against gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation.

The full transcript of the panel discussion segment, which began 55 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour on Thursday’s Newsroom program:

SANCHEZ: By way, here’s this- is there a tone shift in this country that was capitalized by the election of- pardon me, I said capitalized. Was there a tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous- he’s a socialist- he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets, which, by the way, according to our Constitution, they are entitled to what they believe and even propagate.

But Eric Boehlert, who’s a senior fellow at the liberal website Media Matters for America says there is a connection. Roger Aronoff, an analyst for the conservative watchdog group Accuracy in Media says, no, not so fast. We thank you both, gentlemen, for being with us. The floor is yours. I will referee- referee. Eric, start with the premise that I read that you had been writing about today, if you would.
                                       
ERIC BOEHLERT: Well, yeah, I- I don’t think there’s any- I don’t think there’s any doubt since Barack Obama’s been elected, there’s been a complete unhinged reaction from the conservative movement in America, and sort of this vigilante and- and militia-style rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the movement, and certainly of conservative media, and there are consequences and responsibilities when you kind- when you sort of broadcast that hate 24/7. You know, we saw it in the ‘90s. We saw this sort of rhetoric about socialist, Marxist New World Order. But you had- you had to dig around the underground to find that stuff about the Clintons and Democrats. Now, you just turn on talk radio or cable news, and it’s literally inundated. And it seems to me unconscionable that the people who are pushing it are not, at this moment, taking a step back and reevaluating what they should be doing-

SANCHEZ: But is there- but do you believe there’s a cause and effect here?

BOEHLERT:  I think it absolutely creates a dangerous environment. There’s no doubt about that. Now, the people who commit these crimes are ultimately responsible, but there’s no question it creates a very dangerous environment.

SANCHEZ: Mr. Aronoff?

ROGER ARONOFF: Yes. I don’t know where Eric’s been the last six years or so, but the hatred coming from the Left and people like Keith Olbermann-

BOEHLERT: And where’s- where’s the violence on the Left been in the last six or eight years? There hasn’t been any.

ARONOFF: Well, the day after George Tiller was murdered, we had Abdul [sic] Mohammad kill Private Long, and we’ve seen- we- before that, there was other incidences-

SANCHEZ: But the point is, Mr. Arnoff, how was that- how was that- but how was that- Abdulhakim Mohammad’s actions spurred- or where was the cause and effect by anybody on the radio that may have caused him to do that?

ARONOFF: Well, he obviously had a very strong feeling against the military, and after years of hearing how the president and the vice president reward criminals, and lied us into a war, and night after night hearing this- this hatred coming from the Left- it’s understandable-

SANCHEZ: Okay.

ARONOFF: But I- I., in no way, would blame any of this on- on Keith Olbermann, just like I wouldn’t do the guilt-by-association of what happened yesterday- this man who 28 years ago had gone into the Federal Reserve building with a rifle to arrest Paul Volcker-

SANCHEZ: Yeah.

ARONOFF: And to somehow suggest that he was motivated by talk radio- if you go to his website, he talks about- socialism is the future of the world. So-

SANCHEZ: No, that’s not the kind of socialism he’s talking about. I don’t think he’s-

BOEHLERT: No.

SANCHEZ: He’s talking about socialism as in the Nazi Party socialism. But go ahead- go ahead and pick that up for us, Eric.

BOEHLERT: Well, I don’t think there’s a- there’s a historical connection between the Left and the Ku Klux Klan in this country. You were just reporting on your undercover agent who was going to the Klan rallies and things like that. Look, I mean, that’s- that’s the false equivalency now- you know, liberals were critical of Bush and had hate speech during his years. I can’t find any, you know, dehumanizing, demonizing quotes from anyone on the Left about military recruiters. The Left is not built around this vigilante sort of militia rhetoric of hate-

SANCHEZ: We’ll leave it there, gentlemen-

BOEHLERT: The conservative movement- the conservative movement now embraces it.

SANCHEZ: Guys, we’re out of time. We’ll get you both back- appreciate the conversation.

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