CNN’s 'Wingnut' Analyst Equates Conservatism With Racism

John Avlon, The Daily Beast; & Kiran Chetry, CNN Anchor  | NewsBusters.orgJohn Avlon of the Daily Beast gave his “Wingnuts of the Week” on Friday’s American Morning on CNN, and omitted the Democratic past of his “wingnut” on the right- Lousiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell, who recently denied a marriage license to an interracial couple. Avlon didn’t give judge’s party ID at all, and gave the impression that he was on the “right” merely because of his racist conduct.

The Daily Beast writer appeared just after the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour with anchor Kiran Chetry, who asked the “independent analyst,” as she labeled him, to begin with his choice for “wingnut” on the right: “Wingnut on the right, as you said, Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, who denied a marriage certificate to an interracial couple, saying he was doing it for the kids. Maybe he was concerned they’d grow up to be president.” Avlon never gave Bardwell’s party ID during the segment. Perhaps its because he was a Democrat during most of his career. He only became a Republican last year, according to a Louisiana state government website.

Avlon seemed to be more outraged with Louisana Senator David Vitter during this portion of the segment. After giving additional details surrounding Bardwell’s denial, Chetry asked what the political fallout was from it. Almost all of Avlon’s reply centered on the Republican senator:
AVLON: Well, Governor Bobby Jindal immediately condemned the action, calling for his resignation- Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu as well. But one interesting and disturbing thing: self-styled conservative Senator David Vitter initially refused to comment, and then after releasing a statement just yesterday noticeably refused to condemn. Let’s take a look at what his office said instead. He said, ‘Senator Vitter thinks all judges should follow the law as written, and not make it up as they go along.’ Well, that’s just conservative boilerplate. That’s got nothing to do with this. That’s a real passing of the buck. That’s a real problem. You got to wonder, what’s he trying to gain? Who is he trying to appeal to by refusing to condemn this action? That’s a real issue that people should be asking.
The Daily Beast writer seems to be hinting that Vitter is a closet racist, while completely brushing aside the judicial activism component to the denial.

Avlon’s choice of “wingnut” on the left did something much more benign in comparison:
CHETRY: Yeah, very interesting. Well, let’s switch to wingnut on the left this week. Who got your nod?

AVLON: Well, we’ve got Congressman Ed Towns, on behalf of the Government Reform Subcommittee that he chairs in Congress. Now normally, we talk a lot about extreme partisanship. Well, this week it’s sort of extremely silly partisanship- really bizarre actions on the part of the congressman and his committee. So what happened is- and we’re going to have some tape- the Republicans on the committee decided they wanted to force a vote asking to subpoena the files of Countrywide Financial.

CHETRY: That’s a mortgage lender.

AVLON: That’s exactly right, which has been accused of giving sweetheart deals to congressmen and government officials of both parties. Democrats wanted to block it. They weren’t ready, so they snuck out of the committee room. Well, Republicans decided to film the empty chairs and got footage of the Democrats sneaking out the back chamber. There’s the footage right there.

CHETRY: There we see it. So they actually put this to music as well, right?

AVLON: The immortal Ray Charles, ‘Hit the Road Jack.’

CHETRY: All right. So there you see. Those are the Democrats leaving.

AVLON: Right.

CHETRY: And then what happened after that?

AVLON: Well, Congressman Towns was not amused and he literally changed the locks on the Republicans’ door to the conference room, so- and he said, when he was asked about it, he said- yeah, they’re going to- you know, I did it because they don’t know how to behave. Well, to most Americans, that’s exactly how the government reforms committee should behave. They should be requesting files and getting into any scandals that involve Countrywide Financial or any other group that’s accused of impropriety related to congressmen. The larger issue here is- look, folks, what is this, some cross between- you know, a frat prank and a domestic dispute? This is not how people expect their congressmen behave.
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center