Halfway through the Wednesday edition of her eponymous program this evening, CNN's Erin Burnett turned to her colleague Joe Johns for breaking news regarding a fresh development in the IRS scandal: email evidence suggesting Lois Lerner may have pushed for an audit of Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
Immediately afterwards, in a panel discussion, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin endorsed calls coming from Republicans for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal.
CNN's Joe Johns wouldn't call President Obama's "you can keep your health care plan" promise a lie or a broken promise, on Tuesday. According to him, it "might have been an oversell."
This despite a report that the administration knew millions would lose their insurance under ObamaCare. Johns, in his deep benefit of the doubt for the White House, gave this ever-so-slight criticism of the administration's promises: "they do appear to have made some statements at the outset while they were selling the program that appear to have been over broad." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Joe Johns pitted some "conservatives" against "civil rights advocates" on Tuesday in provocative fashion, after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
"I think you can say this is a home run for conservatives who said this law shouldn't be in place and this is a big loss for those civil rights advocates who have been fighting to go sustain this law year after year for decades, Carol," Johns reported from the Supreme Court steps on Tuesday morning. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After hyping the "draconian" sequester cuts set to take place March 1, CNN kept up its frenzy on Tuesday afternoon by spreading government hysteria over the $85 billion spending reduction. Headlines sounded alarms like "Medicine, Food at Risk," "Travel Nightmare In the Making," and "U.S. justice system in jeopardy."
"President Obama is warning of dire consequences for all of us if lawmakers don't act quickly," The Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer channeled White House angst. "The President clearly wants all of us to be very, very worried about the budget axe that's about to fall," he hyped during the 6 p.m. ET hour. "The President has said it's an issue of national security," reported correspondent Joe Johns on cuts to the justice system. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Openly-gay CNN anchor Don Lemon is happy that the Supreme Court is even considering hearing cases on gay marriage. Instead of just reporting the story on Friday, he injected his own feelings on the matter.
"It's amazing. I never thought in my lifetime that we would be covering this issue, having the Supreme Court possibly look at this particular issue. How far we have come," he remarked. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Brooke Baldwin couldn't find a motive behind the Family Research Council shooting, on Thursday afternoon – despite CNN having earlier reported that "politics" was involved in the shooting at the conservative organization.
"You know, who knows what really was the motive behind this particular individual Floyd Lee Corkins?" Baldwin wondered at 3:10 p.m. EDT, even though anchor Suzanne Malveaux stated at 1:31 p.m. EDT, "Witnesses say that Floyd Lee Corkins walked into the conservative group's headquarters, told the security guard 'I don't like your politics,' and then shot him in the arm." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
For the second straight day on Thursday, CNN emphasized Mitt Romney's wealth as a possible turn-off to voters. Correspondent Joe Johns aired a segment on Thursday's The Situation Room about "Mitt Romney-isms," or Romney's references to his own wealth and beliefs that seem to "hit the wrong note" for a presidential candidate.
"Mitt Romney the millionaire may still have some problems with the average voter, because of his tone-deaf references to his personal wealth," Gloria Borger introduced Johns' Thursday story. On the previous day, Johns had authored a story about Romney's expensive car elevator at his California mansion. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Joe Johns hyped a recent Michael Moore speech on Monday's Newsroom as "incredible" and "riveting." Johns highlighted a clip from the left-wing film director, who spoke at a pro-union rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he claimed that "America is not broke...The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands! It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers...to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."
Anchor Brooke Baldwin brought on the correspondent for the regular "Political Pop" segment 40 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, and asked about Moore's March 5, 2011 address in Madison. Johns immediately gushed over the director's words:
BALDWIN: What was he up to in Madison?
JOE JOHNS: Yeah. Well, it was a speech and it was really pretty incredible. Have you seen it by the way?
On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN tried to spin the proposed compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans to keep the current tax rates as a "package that increases spending dramatically." Correspondents Jessica Yellin and Joe Johns forwarded the liberal talking point that the Republicans were breaking their campaign promise to reduce government spending with this proposal.
Yellin appeared with anchor Brooke Baldwin just after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. After playing a montage of several clips of President Obama promising to "roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," Baldwin stated that "it's not just the President, as we saw in the montage, breaking a promise. It's also- correct me if I'm wrong- the Republicans breaking a promise as well."
The liberal CNN correspondent replied with the faulty concept that letting taxpayers keep more of their income is government spending (thus treating all income as if it belonged to the government):
CNN's Joe Johns surprisingly highlighted Charles Sherrod's racially-charged comments about stopping "the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections" during a segment on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360. Johns also reported on the questions being raised by conservatives about how his wife Shirley Sherrod received her former position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture [audio clip available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, after devoting some time to faulting himself for not pressing Mrs. Sherrod after she labeled conservative Andrew Breitbart a "vicious" racist during a July 22 interview, introduced the correspondent's report: "There's also a new aspect to the Shirley Sherrod story...Questions about her and her husband, Charles...keep bubbling up on some conservative blogs. The questions center around why and how Shirley Sherrod got appointed to her old job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the first place, and whether her appointment was somehow connected to a settlement she received from the government in a race discrimination lawsuit."
Stop the presses: David Gergen actually said something nice about the GOP Thursday.
"I don't think [the Democrats] got the breakthrough they were looking for in terms of the public, reaching the public and trying to change opinions," Gergen told Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" panel shortly after President Obama's healthcare summit ended.
"That is because intellectually, the Republicans had the best day they have had in years."
Gergen even reiterated, "The best day they have had in years."
Less amazing was the silence from the panel -- which consisted of Candy Crowley, John King, Gloria Borger, and Joe Johns -- when Gergen made this statement (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Hot Air):
Democratic strategist Paul Begala can be relied upon to use the “drug card” against Rush Limbaugh whenever the talk radio host is brought up, and he was true to form on Tuesday’s Situation Room. When anchor Wolf Blitzer asked what it would mean if Limbaugh bought the St. Louis Rams, Begala snarked, “Just don’t put him in charge of the team’s drug policy....Don’t give him access to that medicine cabinet” [ audio clip from the segment is available here].
Blitzer brought up Limbaugh just after the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour during in a panel discussion with Begala, Republican strategist Ed Rollins, and CNN personalities Gloria Borger, Joe Johns, and Jessica Yellin. The anchor asked Johns, “Rush Limbaugh- he’s thinking about buying, or at least, participating in a group that’s buys the St. Louis Rams in the NFL....What, if anything, would that mean for the St. Louis Rams?” Johns replied, “Probably very little....you know, [if] you’ve got a good football team in a place...like St. Louis, people are going to watch. And so what if Rush Limbaugh is the owner” [see video from the segment below the jump].
CNN correspondent Joe Johns included a seeming lament in his report on Friday’s Situation Room about the inclusion of an amendment to the so-called credit card reform bill which expands gun owners’ rights in national parks: “How in the world did the credit card bill get so hijacked?” He also only included one pro-gun rights sound bite in his report, as opposed to three from proponents of gun control [audio clips from the report are available here].
Johns introduced his report by juxtaposing beautiful imagery of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rushmore with a picture of a handgun on a rack: “Just imagine: along with the sweeping views of natural beauty at Yellowstone and Yosemite, mixed in with history at Mount Rushmore, that some of the tourists toting diaper bags and binoculars might also be packing heat.” He continued by labeling this juxtaposition, and outlining how congressional opponents of the provision felt about its inclusion and passage: “Extreme perhaps, but absurd is in fact how it looks to some congressional Democrats -- they’re almost apoplectic about how the gun lobby slipped a provision into, of all things, the credit card reform bill, a provision that really has nothing to do with the rights of credit card holders, and a lot to do with the right to bear arms.”
CNN correspondent Joe Johns’ report on Monday’s American Morning heaped praise upon Sidwell Friends School, the new school for the Obama daughters. Johns read from one of the school’s own mission statements about its “Quaker values” and later described how President-Elect Obama apparently “often seems in tune with Quaker principles -- seeking consensus with others; talking rather than fighting with opponents; and, at least in the case of Iraq, if not Afghanistan, opposing war even when the majority supports it.” The correspondent also featured three clips from The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn, who gushed over school: “Sidwell is a happy school....it can be a really magical place.”
Johns began introducing Sidwell Friends as “among the elite private schools in Washington,” and set the laudatory tone of the report by playing the first clip from Quinn, who described the school as “very much about peace and community” and that it’s “very progressive.” He continued by highlighting how “the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now.”
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, a report by CNN correspondent Joe Johns, along with a subsequent interview by anchor Rick Sanchez, raised the implication that anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, particularly from conservatives, might be partially to blame for a spike in so-called hate crimes against Latinos. During a clip in Johns’ report, which was about the recent murder of an immigrant from Ecuador by teenagers, columnist Ruben Navarrette speculated that "[w]hen people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn’t be surprised. At the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people, who are very impressionable, think, ‘Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to.’" At the end of his report, Johns added that "[t]he question that’s already being raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing."
After the report, Sanchez interviewed Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, who added that "really, racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda....have made their way out into the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on. And before you know it, they are on talk radio, they are on some cable news talk shows." Strangely, the CNN anchor then went on a bit of a tangent by bringing how Newsweek recently reported that "the Secret Service has now confirmed that threats against Barack Obama spiked when Sarah Palin began impugning his patriotism."
On Friday’s Newsroom program, as CNN awaited Barack Obama’s first press conference as president-elect, correspondent Joe Johns outlined how Rush Limbaugh was apparently "back on the radio breathing fire, taking Obama and his now-named Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the woodshed." He then played a clip of Limbaugh labeling Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug."
Limbaugh actually might not be the first to use the "Chicago thug" label for Obama. The Politico, in an August 27, 2008 article by John F. Harris, cited a "longtime associate" of a certain former Democratic president: "Bill Clinton believes the Democratic nominee, far from practicing a unifying, transformational brand of politics, has the political instincts of ‘a Chicago thug.’" CNN apparently was unaware of this report, since it wasn’t mentioned during the segment.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown introduced a segment on Thursday’s Election Center program by contrasting the "[p]eople all over the world dancing in the streets" over the election of Barack Obama to the "really, really angry" reaction of conservatives, which she then labeled "right-wing rage." A graphic with the same label flashed on-screen, accompanied by a picture of Obama smiling.
During the segment, which aired just after the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, CNN correspondent Joe Johns played an audio clip of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as an example of such "rage." Limbaugh, who reacting to the appointment of liberal Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, called Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug," and gave an anecdote about how Emanuel used a steak knife to demonstrate his own anger towards Bill Clinton’s enemies after the 1992 election. Johns’ reply after the clip: "So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions."
Two segments on CNN’s Election Center program on Monday and Tuesday evenings which aimed to fact-check political ads by the McCain and Obama campaigns were followed by panel discussions in which contributor Roland Martin (on Monday) and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin (on Tuesday) took active roles in denouncing the McCain ads as being filled with "lies" and "falsehoods." Martin accused McCain of "playing in the gutter" and repeating "constant lie after lie." The next day, Toobin stated that "John McCain has told outright falsehoods about Obama and sex education, about the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' about earmarks, about taxes, and the examples we cited in those Obama ads are not even close to the falsehoods that have been said about Obama by the McCain campaign.
Conservative bloggers and talk radio hosts have noticed the rash of gaffes — some goofy, some more serious — emanating from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama lately, but the mainstream media’s coverage of Obama’s bouts with foot-in-mouth disease has been sparse, to say the least. In the case of one of Obama’s more recent gaffes, however, a CNN reporter did Obama the favor of editing the gaffe right out of his story.
On Monday, Obama weirdly talked about honoring the nation’s “unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience today.” In a report on Tuesday night’s CNN’s Election Center, correspondent Joe Johns used that Obama soundbite in a piece on the candidate’s “polling problem on patriotism” — but snipped out the part where Obama seemed to be seeing ghosts: