CNN Endorses Thomas Friedman’s Scaremongering About Conservatives

Wolf Blitzer, CNN Anchor; & Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgCNN’s Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer endorsed Thomas Friedman’s “scary and sobering column” in the New York Times on Wednesday’s Situation Room, where the liberal writer compared the current American political climate to that of Israel in 1995 prior to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. After Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right,” Blitzer labeled the column “powerful.”

The CNN commentator began his 5 pm Eastern “Cafferty File” segment with his “scary and sobering” label of the New York Times column. After summarizing it and reading a quote where Friedman warned that “something very dangerous is happening” in the American political dialogue, Cafferty remarked that “Friedman’s right. You don’t have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi, or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed. Tom Friedman says even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama, you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics.”

Cafferty then continued by using a Michael Steele quote against conservatives: “Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing back against claims that conservative rhetoric is creating a dangerous environment for the President. Party Chairman Michael Steele says of people like Tom Friedman- quoting here: ‘Where do these nut jobs come from?’ -unquote. Well,  to me, that sort of proves Friedman’s whole point.”

After the commentator asked as his “Question of the Hour” whether “critics of President Obama [were] crossing the line in creating a hateful and dangerous environment,” Blitzer came in and expressed his agreement with Cafferty, and gave an anecdote of his experience covering the Rabin assassination: “That was a very powerful column that Thomas Friendman wrote....I was very, very struck, because I remember covering Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination....I remember the hatred that a tiny but extreme right-wing element in Israel had- religious zealots who thought they were doing the Lord’s work by killing Rabin. And- and it was a very scary time in Israel then, and- I guess to a certain degree- it’s pretty scary right now.”

Cafferty concluded the segment by only becoming more explicit in voicing his agreement with Friedman: “It’s a great piece....I think I agree with him....Scary stuff.”

Clay Waters of MRC’s TimesWatch earlier on Wednesday pointed out the New York Times columnist’s hypocrisy in criticizing the rhetoric of the anti-Obama activists, while not being too concerned when the radical left “worked non-step to delegitimize George W. Bush.”

The full transcript of the segment, which aired nine minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Situation Room:

JACK CAFFERTY: Tom Friedman wrote a scary and sobering column in today’s New York Times. It was titled, ‘Where did ‘we’ go?’ In it, he compares the political climate today in the United States to Israel in 1995, right before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Friedman talks about the ‘ugly mood’ in Israel at that time, where right-wingers were trying to de-legitimize Rabin. They questioned his authority, shouted death threats at rallies.

Friedman says the parallels to America today turn his stomach- quoting here, ‘I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or the left. But something very dangerous is happening,’ unquote. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into de-legitimizing Obama’s presidency.

Friedman’s right. You don’t have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi, or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed. Tom Friedman says even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama, you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics. He talks about a ‘cocktail of political and technological trends’ that make it possible for quote, ‘idiots of all political stripes,’ unquote- to take advantage of the system- things like excessive money in politics, the 24/7 cable news cycle, the blogosphere and a permanent presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing back against claims that conservative rhetoric is creating a dangerous environment for the President. Party Chairman Michael Steele says of people like Tom Friedman- quoting here: ‘Where do these nut jobs come from?’ -unquote. Well,  to me, that sort of proves Friedman’s whole point.

Here’s the question: Are critics of President Obama crossing the line in creating a hateful and dangerous environment? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile- post a comment on my blog. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER: That was a very powerful column that Thomas Friedman wrote.

CAFFERTY: It’s a great piece.

BLITZER: Yeah-

CAFFERTY: Yeah.

BLITZER: I was very, very struck, because I remember covering Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. I went to Jerusalem for that funeral. I remember the hatred that a tiny but extreme right-wing element in Israel had- religious zealots who thought they were doing the Lord’s work by killing Rabin. And- and it was a very scary time in Israel then, and- I guess to a certain degree- it’s pretty scary right now.

CAFFERTY: I think that was the point Friedman’s trying to make, and I- and I think I agree with him.

BLITZER: Yeah.

CAFFERTY: Scary stuff.

BLITZER: All right- thanks very much for that.

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