CNN Mishandles Ilhan Omar: Liner Notes

A busy week of punditry ends with a third column at The Federalist, “CNN Does Not Know How To Question Ilhan Omar’s Conspiracy Theories And Anti-Semitism.” The domestic channel’s anchors dropped the ball by failing to ask basic questions. Meanwhile, on CNN International, Christiane Amanpour asked some basic questions, but embedded fairly obvious sympathy for Omar’s odious views.

Given the “breaking news” quality of the interviews, it was written on a fairly tight de facto deadline to get it posted today (at least this is how I thought of it). If I had allowed myself more time, I could have addressed those on the left who emerged later in the day to defend Omar’s so-called defense on CNN Newsroom by arguing Omar was not claiming Sen. Graham was being blackmailed regarding his sexuality.

First, Omar’s substitution of baseless speculation about political pressure remains baseless, regardless of whether it’s rooted in the sexual rumor. And her “explanation” still leaves open the question of whom Omar believes has pressured Graham.

Second, as noted in the column, Omar singled out Graham among many Republicans who have changed their tune (rightly or wrongly) on Pres. Trump. Her tweet appeared at the moment that MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle was alluding to the rumor in a discussion about the exact prior comments by Grhama that Omar relied upon. The inference to be drawn here is a lot stronger than any of the speculation Omar has ever offered about Graham.

Time and space considerations also precluded me from mentioning the Politico report that House Democrats likely will not move to censure Rep. Steve King (R-IA) because they fear the GOP will retaliate with motions to censure members like Omar and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). With the Dems being this weak on policing themselves, the media’s failures loom larger.

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