Her comments were in response to a viral Twitter thread created by Shareblue’s Oliver Willis that bashed CNN hosts for calling out “abhorrent behavior” and then inviting commentators on their shows who spew such behavior.
“They give a platform ― and their credibility ― to racists/white supremacists/ all in the name of ‘hearing them out,’ (which is a ratings ploy btw),” wrote O’Brien, who left CNN in 2013 after 10 years with the network.
The veteran journalist reiterated her CNN shade on Monday, tweeting that she had expressed the same criticism in the past.
“It was true then and remains true today,” she wrote.
Twitter user Ajamu Baraka noted: “CNN giving air time to racist and white supremacist is nothing new. During the 2016 campaign me and Jill Stein constantly pointed out how the major news outlets were giving millions of dollars of free time to Trump’s white supremacy.
It’s unclear whether a specific show segment inspired Willis to criticize the network, as he expressed online: “my major problem with how cnn operates is their anchors/hosts want to have their cake and eat it too. they want credit for calling out abhorrent behavior but when they enable the same behavior they insist theyre just “hearing them out.”
He appeared to mock what he believes to be CNN’s strategy: “Gassing toddlers and putting babies in cages is disgusting and beyond the pale! our next guest will now defend those things i just said are reprehensible, because every point of view is viable,” he wrote.
Back in 2016 when O’Brien appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” she pointed out how hate speech is being normalized by giving airtime to Trump surrogates, who oftentimes double as white supremacists, per urbanmecca.net.
“If you look at Hillary Clinton’s speech [on why Trump’s policies are racist] she basically pointed out that what Donald Trump has done — actually quite well — has normalized White supremacy,” O’Brien stated. “I think she made a very good argument, almost like a lawyer. Here are ways in which he has actually worked to normalize conversations that many people find hateful.”
“I’ve seen White supremacists being interviewed because they are Trump delegates. And they do a five-minute segment, the first minute or so talking about what they believe as White supremacists. So you have normalized that,” she explained.