CNN Mocks Rand Paul Drone Filibuster, Plays Up Supposed Racism of Fox’s Roger Ailes

During the Wednesday edition of her CNN program “Outfront,” host Erin Burnett and her producers just could not stop themselves from deriding Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s filibuster effort to block a Senate vote on John Brennan, President Obama's choice for CIA director.

While the show did give some serious discussion to the substance of Paul’s concern on behalf of Americans’ civil liberties, during the introduction of the segment, Burnett treated the matter rather flippantly and featured a graphic of the senator entitled “Sen. Paul Drones On… And On…”

Here is the transcript of Burnett’s opening to her segment:

ERIN BURNETT: Outfront next, an old fashioned filibuster in Washington, D.C., Rand Paul talks and talks and talks and talks for hours. We are in hour eight. He is still talking. We will tell you why.

Good evening, everyone. I’m Erin Burnett. 

“Outfront” tonight, senator Paul drones on and on and on and yes, he’s droning about drones. Here is a live picture of Republican senator rand Paul right now on the floor, the first old fashioned Senate filibuster since 2010. Look at him. Does he look tired to you? We are at hour eight. He still has a voice. I think all he has had is a snicker bar for fortification today. It is all an effort to stall John Brennan nomination from the CIA. 

Now, we were hoping that he would have stopped droning on by now, not to interfere with the civic process, but because he was supposed to be our guest from Capitol Hill tonight. That’s where he was supposed to be standing. See how lonely it is? Senator Paul, we need you there. We are hoping you’re going to wrap this up soon and join us. At the least, I would like to know how you went all day without using the restroom. But, it sounds like Senator Paul is also hoping to wrap it up and join our shot.

Anyone who has ever watched her program for more a few seconds knows that Erin Burnett deliberately uses a breezy and informal tone in her show; it is a welcome contrast to the formalistic delivery almost everyone else at CNN seems to favor. That being said, it is fair to ask whether or not Burnett would have been so cavalier in introducing a segment on something about which liberals currently feel more passionately about. How about a story involving the concept of race?

Fortunately, one only needed to watch just a few more minutes of Burnett’s program to find the answer to that question as she decided to highlight an excerpt from an upcoming biography of Fox News president Roger Ailes.

The book in question, Roger Ailes Off Camera by Rush Limbaugh biographer Zev Chafets, was recently featured in an excerpt by Vanity Fair magazine which contained a number of piquant quotes, including the FNC chief bashing former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, but instead of doing a focus on the book, Burnett decided to narrow in solely on one small anecdote where Ailes, echoing an earlier statement made by President Obama, calls the former junior senator from Illinois “lazy.”

In keeping with the current liberal habit of reinvigorating old racial stereotypes that many were not even aware of at all, Burnett decided that this remark from Ailes could be construed as racist by “some people.” It was clearly something about which Burnett was eager to talk as she teased the segment twice highlighting the word racist.

When she did finally get to the Ailes story, she was not nearly as casual in describing it as she had been earlier in describing Rand Paul’s concerns about civil liberties:

ERIN BURNETT: President Obama is lazy. These are the explosive comments made by Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Vanity Fair released an excerpt from a new Ailes biography in which he says, referring to a comment someone made about Ann Romney:

(Quoting from book): ‘Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn't public money. How many fundraisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? 

I wish I had that kind of time. He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that. I didn’t come up with that, Obama said that to Barbara Walters.’

All right, he did. And I'm going to get to that in a moment.

But the question is: are those comments racially charged or just frank talk?

Burnett then brought in conservative radio talk host Michael Medved (whom she labeled as such) and leftist political agitator Van Jones (whom she did not label) to discuss the matter.

Once again, as with the Paul story, a substantive debate followed between both sides. The only difference between the two segments was Burnett’s dismissive attitude toward a complaint of conservatives (at least until a Republican becomes president again) and her respectful attitude toward a liberal one.

This is what liberal bias in the news is all about. I do not think for a second that Burnett meant to deliberately deride Rand Paul’s concerns. But that is exactly what she did while just minutes later treating as serious the absurd proposition that the president of Fox News is a racist for quoting Obama’s own serious remarks in which he called himself lazy.

For those interested, here is CNN’s partial video of the Burnett-Medved-Jones discussion.

Hat tip for story and screenshot to Cole Streeper.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013