In the latest installment of CNN’s special series on the 2010s, from Sunday, the liberal news network devoted an hour to recalling prominent political movements that occurred during the decade. The network was true to form in putting a positive spin on left-wing protests but made sure to try to undermine right-wing activism. The special also employed many freshly recorded clips of liberal activists giving commentary on events but included none espousing a conservative point of view in spite of the network currently employing several right-leaning contributors.
The episode, titled The 2010s — Taking It to the Streets, began by recalling the right-leaning Tea Party movement that voiced opposition not only to the financial bailouts of 2009, but also the Barack Obama administration’s push for universal health insurance.
After taking the time to portray the movement as hypocritical by recalling that many right-leaning activists approved of Medicare but opposed ObamaCare, the show tried to implicate racism with a soundbite of Nicole Hemmer from Vanderbilt University: “There’s also a racist element to this. Studies showed the election of a black President triggered racial animus, and that runs through the Tea Party as well.”
Several clips were shown of protesters holding up racially tinged images of President Obama, but it was not mentioned that left-wing activists were sometimes caught taking such incendiary materials to rallies to disredit the conservative gatherings. One of the images shown by CNN was previously exposed (and documented by NewsBusters) as a prop used by far-left Lyndon LaRouche supporters who sometimes attended Tea Party rallies.
The segment included clips of liberals Van Jones and Dr. Cornel West along with several journalists pushing left-leaning spin. The only freshly recorded clip of commentary from a right-leaning source was from Bill Kristol who, in recent years, has frequently joined with liberals to criticize Republicans.
After a commercial break, in the next block, the show spent almost seven minutes promoting the agenda of the race-obsessed Black Lives Matter movement, first by recounting the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012. In spite of spending the first two and a half minutes on the case, the show did not mention that Zimmerman was seriously injured by Martin, or the argument that the shooting was justifiable self-defense as it was emphasized that Martin was not armed.
In the latter part of the segment, which dealt with leftists complaining about criminal suspects being killed by police officers, Yohuru Williams of the University of St. Thomas and BLM co-founder Alicia Garza were seen complaining about the use of the phrase “all lives matter” by critics of BLM.
A later segment dealt with the liberal reaction to mass shootings, and gave gun control activist Shannon Watts a forum to celebrate her group’s successes in getting Starbucks and Target to ban guns from their stores while the NRA’s opposition to more gun laws was dismissed as a “playbook” by Mark Follman of the far-left Mother Jones.
The final segment celebrated liberal environmental activists like Greta Thunberg. Mainstream conservative groups like those in the pro-life movement were ignored, but the show did highlight the disgraceful white nationalist rally (which was not embraced by mainstream conservatives) from 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. By contrast, violence and bad behavior linked to various left-wing groups were ignored.
Partial transcripts follow:
CNN’s The 2010s: Taking It to the Streets
Jun 11, 2023
WILL BUNCH, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: This was a social movement on the right of a kind we’d never really seen before among kind of an older, predominantly white, predominantly working class group in this country.
JEREMY PETERS, NEW YORK TIMES: But, for all that the Tea Party was supposed to be about — fiscal conservatism and small government — a lot of Republican voters didn’t actually care about any of that.
DEAN REYNOLDS, CBS NEWS (archive footage): For all their anger at what they see as ever-expanding government, 62 percent of them think Medicare and Social Security are worthwhile programs.
PETERS: As long as government subsidies and programs went to help Republican voters, they were find with it. They just didn’t like that they thought it was going to people that didn’t deserve it.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1 FROM AUDIENCE (archive footage): You’re taking money from us to give everybody health insurance. Well, that’s not a right that’s given by the federal government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2 FROM AUDIENCE (archive footage): As John Ruskin said, “There ain’t no free lunch.”
Dr. CORNEL WEST, LIBERAL ACTIVIST: Economically, they are catching hell, but their angle of vision was not to confront the most powerful, but the scapegoat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #3 FROM AUDIENCE (archive footage): We need to get the illegal aliens out of our country and back into their country so we’re not having to support them.
PETERS: It was the first time where you really see the anti-immigrant sentiment that it bubbling up, and it being fed by conservative media, particularly Fox News.
BILL O’REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST (archive footage): Another awful crime allegedly committed by an illegal alien.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST (archive footage): Illegal aliens are smuggling heroin into the United States.
REP. MATT RAMSEY (R-GA) (archive footage): Our taxpayers are subsidizing nearly half a million illegal aliens.
BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK: Something happened where the populism went from being, I would say, a useful corrective to elites — a useful channel for popular anxieties and complaints — and it turned sort of bitter. It turned ugly.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4 (archive footage): I don’t see this dying down at all until Barack Obama is out of the White House.
NICOLE HEMMER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: There’s also a racist element to this. Studies showed the election of a black President triggered racial animus, and that runs through the Tea Party as well.
VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Summer 2011, you could just feel the tension in the country. On the one hand, you had the Tea Party just revving up steam, and, then, out of nowhere, you have the birth of a completely different kind of movement. And this time it was coming from the left.
MICHELLE MILLER, CBS NEWS (archive footage): Well, the handful of protesters who started this demonstration call it “Occupy Wall Street.”
HEMMER: The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street draw from a lot of the same anger.
ANDREW COLE, OCCUPY WALL STREET (archive footage): Wall Street is responsible for the economic crisis, and they’re asking people like me to pay for it.
LESLIE CRUTCHFIELD, AUTHOR OF HOW CHANGE HAPPENS: Occupiers were calling into question capitalism. They wanted to break up the banks — they wanted to jail the bank executives that had given us the global financial recession.
CONGRESSMAN HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA) (archive footage): Your company is now bankrupt — our economy is in a state of crisis — but you get to keep $480 million. Is this fair?
DOUGLAS McADAM, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: They were not particularly happy with the terms of the bailout. What’s driven us to this point is inequality — increasing in equality — the rich getting richer. Now, the rich have brought us to this perilous place, and we’re bailing them out.
HEMMER: Occupy Wall Street was actually launched in 2011 by a site called “Adbusters.” It calls for people to meet at Zuccotti Park, which is outside Wall Street in New York City.
YOHURU WILLIAMS, UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS: It was the response to Black Lives Matter that tried to make the case that all lives matter, and it was disingenuous. It wasn’t all lives that were suffering these brutal killings by police officers.
ALICIA GARZA, CO-FOUNDER OF BLACK LIVES MATTER: You know, this “all lives matter” thing, what I feel when I see things like that is, “Oh, wow, we were making a lot of people really angry.” And this is how I know that this movement is successful.
MARK FOLLMAN, AUTHOR OF TRIGGER POINTS: The response by the NRA is pretty similar through and through. After every event, they have a kind of playbook they use.
WAYNE LaPIERRE, NRA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT (archive footage of speech): The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun … (editing jump to a different speech) … is a good guy with a gun … (editing jump to a different speech) … a good guy with a gun. Thank you very much.
CRUTCHFIELD: By the time we’ve entered the 2010s, the NRA had around five million members — active, passionate members who advocated and stood up to defend their Second Amendment freedoms. It really wasn’t until Sandy Hook and that massacre in 2012 that sparked an equal and opposite grassroots response from the gun control side.
THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC HOST (archive footage): Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION: There really was no grassroots movement or organization that could go toe to toe with the gun lobby. And so I just went online, and I created a Facebook page, and that Facebook page turned into Moms Demand Action. I wanted to be part of a badass army of women because that’s who I’ve seen get things done in this country over and over again. One thing that we did was to use social media to make images of people open carrying inside Starbucks go viral. People couldn’t believe that, first of all, this was happening, but also that it was legal.
VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (archive footage): For the last couple of years, Starbucks policy allowing people to openly carry guns in their stores where it’s legal has been celebrated by gun advocates.
WATTS: And it really only took a few months before the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, came out on television and said, “Guns are no longer welcome inside our stores.”
HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS CEO (archive footage): We are not pro-gun or anti-gun, but we do believe that guns and weapons should not be part of the Starbucks experience.
WATTS: So we knew we were on to something.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST (archive footage): Target is asking customers to leave your guns at home and do not bring them into our stores.
WATTS: This isn’t about undoing the Second Amendment. This is simply about restoring responsibilities that should go along with gun rights in the first place.