CNN contributor John Avlon took yet another shot at mainstream conservatives in a Wednesday column on CNN.com. Avlon blasted the "far right" Family Research Council and other conservative groups for their opposition to GOProud's sponsorship of CPAC, and accused conservatives of being on "the wrong side of history" with homosexuals, just as they supposedly were with the "last great civil right movement."
The Daily Beast columnist, a known Tea Party critic, took delight that the "gay rights movement...has finally reached the Republican Party" in his column, titled "Gay group in conservatives' gathering splits GOP." He continued by noting how "former first daughter Barbara Bush made news by announcing her support of gay marriage, joining the former GOP presidential nominee's daughter Meghan McCain. Last year, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman came out."
A few paragraphs later, Avlon began ripping the conservative groups that decided to boycott CPAC over the GOProud issue:
On Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker acted as an apologist for Rep. Steve Cohen's uncivil comparison between Republicans and Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels: "He was talking about the saying that if you repeat a lie over and over and over again, it becomes the truth. I don't think he was necessarily saying Republicans are Nazis- come on!" (audio available here)
Parker and co-host Eliot Spitzer devoted the first full segment of their 8 pm Eastern hour program to "zeroing in on a couple of examples of where it's [political rhetoric] gone wrong," and brought on Tea Party critic and CNN contributor John Avlon for an extended version of his "wingnuts" segments from American Morning. Before even getting to Cohen's remark, the three spent most of the 10-minute segment critiquing Rush Limbaugh's recent stereotyping of the Chinese language and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's inaugural address where he stated that non-Christians weren't his "brothers and sisters," as if those two examples were somehow on the same plane as the Tennessee Democrat's invective.
Unsurprisingly, Avlon blamed Limbaugh and other talk show hosts for the heated political rhetoric, and the two CNN hosts concurred:
CNN imported its Parker-Spitzer model of liberal versus slightly moderate to Friday's Situation Room, except reversing the sexes. Anchor Wolf Blitzer brought on Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen and Tea Party-hating columnist John Avlon to discuss the debate in Congress over tax rates and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Avlon took the same position as his colleague Kathleen Parker, that taxes should be raised on some rich, and joined Rosen in calling for the repeal of the controversial policy.
The two CNN political contributors appeared during the regular "Strategy Session" segment 49 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour. Blitzer read an excerpt from a recent blog item by Time's Mark Halperin where he wondered if the Democratic Party was "in the midst of a nervous breakdown." Rosen denied that this was the case and mouthed her party's talking points on the tax debate:
Conservative Richard Viguerie brought his criticism of CNN's "left-of-center" bent on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, and recommended that the network bring on more "articulate conservatives." The two CNN hosts, whom Viguerie recently criticized in a recent column, did their best to support his allegation by bringing on four liberals as guests during the program.
The conservative wrote an August 17, 2010 column in the Washington Examiner criticizing CNN for claiming that they're "playing it right down the middle," when in reality, they lean towards the liberal side. Parker launched right into addressing her guest's criticism: "So, we're going to go ahead and get the elephant out of the room, and I'm not talking about you. But you did write about me....that I am a 'pleasantly wishy-washy, mostly plain vanilla Republican.' It's hard to see your words applied when the person is actually present, isn't it?"
Viguerie replied by half-jokingly taking back his label, but immediately gave her another:
CNN contributor John Avlon returned to his consistent theme of bashing conservatives on Monday's Newsroom, labeling Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell the "new queen of the wingnuts." Avlon also referenced Reason magazine's label of O'Donnell as a "crackpot of the first order" and didn't provide the full context of her 1997 remarks on AIDS.
Anchor Kyra Phillips led the 9 am Eastern hour of Newsroom with the Republican's 1999 appearance on ABC's Politically Incorrect where she cited how she "dabbled" in witchcraft as a teenager. After playing a clip from the 11-year-old appearance, Phillips continued that O'Donnell's remarks are "raising eyebrows and some concerns from the GOP establishment" and brought on Avlon, who has a knack for being tougher on his identified "wingnuts" on the right than those he picks from the left. The anchor referenced The Daily Beast writer's September 15 column in her first question: "O'Donnell actually canceled two Sunday talk show appearances after this came to light, and now, you are calling her the new queen of wingnuts."
Just like NBC and ABC this morning, CBS’s The Early Show had a hostile take on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally scheduled for Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Correspondent Whit Johnson labeled Beck a “controversial conservative,” event speaker Alveda King (a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.) a “longtime advocate for conservative causes,” and suggested that the fact that some attendees “will get there on Tea Party-sponsored buses” contradicted the idea that this would be a non-political event.
Yet talking about liberal rabble rouser and onetime Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton, Johnson offered no ideological labels or even a tag that Sharpton might be “controversial.” Instead, Sharpton’s event was described as a rally “hosted by civil rights leaders,” and showcased his slam: “The things that Beck stands for are antithetical to the civil rights movement."
For good measure, Johnson brought in a second Beck critic, Daily Beast writer and frequent CNN talking head John Avlon. “Where Martin Luther King was a uniter,” Avlon slammed, “Glenn Beck is a professional divider.”
On Tuesday's AC360, CNN's John Roberts labeled Republican candidates who have Tea Party support "very far to the right," and specifically referred to Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott as an "ultraconservative." Guest John Avlon also bemoaned John McCain's tack to the right during the primary campaign, and slammed how the senator has been called a "RINO" by many conservatives.
Roberts, who was filling in for anchor Anderson Cooper, along with Avlon, CNN liberal contributor Roland Martin and Red State's Erick Erickson, discussed Tuesday's primary results from several states for two segments during the first half hour of the 10 pm Eastern hour. Eighteen minutes into the hour, the CNN anchor asked TheDailyBeast.com senior political columnist, "[CNN anchor] John King laid it out there, that it's going to be a challenging year, to say the least, for Democrats. Some people predicting that this will be equal to, if not worse, than 1994. What do you think?"
The Daily Beast's John Avlon tried to sever the Tea Party movement from the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan in a Tuesday column on CNN.com. Avlon, a Tea Party hater, opined that a "key difference between Reagan's rhetoric and [the tea party] is the comparative civility," and suggested that "Reagan...would have a hard time getting the GOP nomination today" for apparently not being conservative enough.
Avlon began his column, "2010 Tea Party echoes 1964 Reagan," by tying the Tea Party movement to the former president's famous speech at the 1964 Republican convention, "A Time For Choosing." After giving three excerpts from the speech, the writer labeled it a "classic -- smart, funny and still so resonant that the rhetoric Reagan used more than 50 years ago echoes in Tea Party protests today." Actually, Avlon erred in his math, as 1964 was only 46 years ago.
On Friday night's Real Time, HBO talk-host Bill Maher berated conservative (and fellow atheist) S.E. Cupp for her new book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity. “Liberals are not atheists any more than conservatives are. Michael Moore is religious! Chris Matthews is religious! Al Sharpton is religious!” Maher went so far as to insist the liberal media has “never” attacked religion:
MAHER: But this is your premise, that the liberal media is attacking religion.
CNN contributor and Daily Beast columnist John Avlon labeled "saving freedom," the theme for CPAC 2010, as "a little extreme" and "a little far out" on Thursday's Campbell Brown program and Friday's American Morning. Avlon went further, bashing conservatives' criticism of President Obama: "When they say 'saving freedom,' they're confusing, at heart, losing an election with living under tyranny."
(Avlon is a Tea Party hater, insisting recently on CNN.com that the GOP must repudiate them.)
The CNN analyst appeared during a segment 20 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of Brown's program with Red State's Erick Erickson and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. The CNN anchor asked Avlon, who attended the first day of CPAC, "What was your take on what was going on?" It didn't take long for this self-appointed voice of independents to criticize the theme of the annual conference for conservatives:
John 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.
CNN on Friday turned again to The Daily Beast’s John Avlon for his designated “wingnuts”on the left and right, but he was much more critical of his right-wing selection. Avlon picked Rep. Henry Waxman as his leftist “wingnut,” but still labeled him a “respected” man. He conceded no such quality for his other pick. During a second appearance on Monday, Avlon focused on his conservative “wingnut,” omitting Waxman.
Avlon first appeared during the 6 am Eastern hour of American Morning on Friday with anchor Kiran Chetry. She first asked about his pick for the left. He described how Rep. Waxman, during an interview with NPR, characterized the Republicans’ opposition to President Obama as “rooting against the country.” The DailyBeast contributor even got a shot at the Right during his analysis of the Democrat’s remark: “That’s demonizing the opposition, and the idea that Republicans just have to get in line, that there can be no reasonable opposition based on principle- but rather, going de facto against someone’s patriotism- well, that’s wingnut stuff. We called that out when the right has done it in the past, and it’s only right to do it now against the left.”
Both Chetry and Avlon then got tough on Waxman for his failure to even read the cap and trade bill which carries his name. The CNN anchor later asked, “When you call him out as a wingnut this week, is this an isolated incident for Waxman?” Avlon replied, “No question, Henry Waxman is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, but he’s- you know, he’s a respected man. Sometimes reasonable people say unreasonable things. When you say that the opposition is rooting against the country, that’s an unreasonable thing. That’s a wingnut remark.”
On Friday’s American Morning, CNN anchor Kiran Chetry used the liberal talking points about Wanda Sykes and Rush Limbaugh, the two “Wingnuts of the Week,” according to John Avlon of The Daily Beast, Tina Brown’s Huffington Post knock-off site. After playing clips from Sykes’ now-infamous routine which bashed the talk show host and wished him dead, Chetry replied, “So, some would say, wait, she’s just a comedian, and she was trying to get laughs at the correspondents’ dinner. So what’s the harm in her joke, and why do her comments qualify her for wingnut of the week?” Later, the anchor asked Avlon concerning Limbaugh, “He’s certainly really dominated the voice of the GOP for -- for the past several months, and, you know, the left has been saying he’s the new voice of the Republican Party. Why did you pick him as the wingnut of the week?” [audio excerpt available here]
The CNN program began the “Wingnut of the Week” last week with Avlon, as a proposed regular segment on Fridays targeting, in his words, “the professional polarizers, the unhinged activists, the folks who are trying to always hijack our debates and divide us.” His picks last week were Representative Michelle Bachmann, for her recent anti-Jimmy Carter remark, and former Representative Cynthia McKinney, for comparing herself to Rosa Parks and referring to Washington, DC as a “Zionist-occupied government.”