CNN Urges ‘Nuance’ to Protect Flailing VA Dem, Shuns ‘Gotcha’ Politics

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The Virginia gubernatorial election is fast approaching, and the poll numbers are close enough between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin to make the liberal media nervous. McAuliffe has faced major blowback after saying during a debate that he doesn’t think “parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” On Tuesday, politics editor-at-large Chris Cillizza appeared on CNN Newsroom and joined hosts Jim Sciutto and Erica Hill in doing damage control for McAuliffe.

Immediately, Sciutto introduced his own spin on McAuliffe’s statement about parents: “I mean, he’s saying, he’s saying, elect the school boards, don’t come shouting at the school board meeting or chase the kids as they’re walking out of school.” 

 

 

Cillizza agreed with Sciutto, reinterpreting McAuliffe’s words to make them easier to swallow, and then went on to complain about how Glenn Youngkin has used that debate clip in his own campaign ads:

So he’s — the broad point he’s trying to make is, I don’t want parents coming in and making rules about mask debate, you know, masking and all that sort of stuff. The problem is, that quote that we just played fits very nicely into a 30-second ad that Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, spent over a million dollars already on just that ad alone. I know you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. I mean, that ad is everywhere right now. And there’s a reason for it. Because it’s a, it’s sort of an umbrella of issues, Jim.

That’s a pretty generous interpretation of what McAuliffe actually said, which was “I’m not gonna let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions.” McAuliffe clearly does not want parents having any say in what schools are teaching to their children, and he confirmed this in a later media appearance, claiming that parents’ influence on their children’s education should be limited to voting on members of their local school boards.

Hill chimed in and whined: “…it is all reduced to sound bites and sort of, you know, gotcha political points.” Cillizza went on to blame Republicans for political polarization and continued to express frustration that Youngkin would dare to use McAuliffe’s words against him:

And the other thing is that, you know, we remain in Virginia and everywhere else deeply polarized. So, what is Youngkin trying to do? He’s trying to do two things. One, he’s trying to rev up his base on things like critical race theory. Which, again, I don’t think most people even understand but they hear it and they say we don’t want that. On things like transgender students, on things like vaccinations, again, all reactive partisan issues.

Clearly, Cillizza believes that parents are too ignorant to have concerns about what is being taught to their children, even while he tries to spin McAuliffe’s words in a more positive light. 

This comes after CNN’s host and analyst Monday afternoon claimed that McAuliffe’s statements must have been “edited” or “taken out of context.” CNN should stop trying to pretend it’s a news network as it actively campaigns for Democrats like McAuliffe.

This segment was sponsored by UPS and Panera Bread.

Read the full transcript of the segment below by clicking Expand.

10/12/21
9:42:23 AM

ERICA HILL: The Virginia governor’s race will be one of the most closely watched elections next month. That race also now reigniting the debate over just how involved parents should be in deciding what schools teach. 

JIM SCIUTTO: Former governor and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, he’s facing criticism from some for these comments he made in a recent debate:

TERRY MCAULIFFE: I’m not gonna let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach. 

DANA BASH: You are getting pummeled by Republicans who say it shows that you don’t think parents should have a say in their children’s education. So my question is, do you think parents should have a say in their children’s education? 

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Of course. And they do. First of all, they get to elect school boards, and if you don’t like them, then you get rid of them. 

SCIUTTO: Joining us now, CNN politics editor at large Chris Cillizza. Chris, I mean, the issue here, as always, what was he really saying, right? I mean, he’s saying, he’s saying, elect the school boards, don’t come shouting at the school board meeting or chase the kids as they’re walking out of school. I get it, I mean, is that the point he’s trying to make? The question is, does that explanation solve the problem? 

CHRIS CILLIZZA: Yeah, so, breaking news, politics strips nuance out of political rhetoric, right? So he’s — the broad point he’s trying to make is, I don’t want parents coming in and making rules about mask debate, you know, masking and all that sort of stuff. The problem is that quote that we just played fits very nicely into a 30-second ad that Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, spent over a million dollars already on just that ad alone. I know you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. I mean, that ad is everywhere right now. And there’s a reason for it. Because it’s a, it’s sort of an umbrella of issues, Jim. It’s not entirely clear he’s talking about – well, is he talking about masking, is he talking about vaccinations, is he talking about critical race theory, is he talking about transgender and bathroom issues, right? That — Youngkin is using it to try to do all of those things at once.

SCIUTTO: Nanny state, taking over our kids and schools.

CILLIZZA: Exactly. He’s, it’s, it’s a stand-in for this sort of broader idea of this is what Democratic governance looks like. 

SCIUTTO: Yeah. Yeah. 

HILL: It’s also – I mean, in many ways, right, like these snippets, right, and the, and politics which as you say so well strips all the nuance out, what it does too is it actually takes away an important conversation, right. So should we be having a discussion about really banned books or, you know, what is taught, should there be a more fulsome history of the United States that’s being taught that hasn’t been whitewashed? These are all important issues that could be discussed at a school board meeting, could be discussed in each district, but there’s not any sort of discussion happening because it is all reduced to sound bites and sort of, you know, gotcha political points. 

CILLIZZA: Yeah, you know, Erica, I think there’s a couple of things there. Number one, a campaign is very rarely the best place to have a serious policy discussion. It, it winds up being — well you said this little thing that I can clip into a short thing or put on an ad or put on flyers. And the other thing is that, you know, we remain in Virginia and everywhere else deeply polarized. So, what is Youngkin trying to do? He’s trying to do two things. One, he’s trying to rev up his base on things like critical race theory. Which, again, I don’t think most people even understand but they hear it and they say we don’t want that. On things like transgender students, on things like vaccinations, again, all reactive partisan issues. And then he’s also, and this will be the key to whether it works really or not, is, he’s trying to sort of use this in the northern Virginia outer suburbs to say don’t you want a say in your kid’s education? Now, that’s not what ultimately Terry McAuliffe is saying, but he knows, Terry McAuliffe knows politics. He should know well enough that when you say something like that, it’s going to get used against you.

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