CNN Sees Twitter Backlash Over "If Jews Are People" Headline Crawl
The chyron aired during a segment discussing President-elect Donald Trump's transition and support from the alt-right.
CNN saw swift backlash from the media and viewers over an onscreen message that aired on Monday's The Lead With Jake Tapper.
During a segment on President-elect Donald Trump's transition, CNN's Jim Sciutto spoke with two media correspondents about alt-right leader Richard Spencer and whether Trump needs to formally denounce and disavow alt-right groups.
Sciutto quoted Spencer, the president of The National Policy Institute who coined the term "alt-right," and described his words as "hate-filled garbage" against Jews. Spencer's quote read, "One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem."
The issue Twitter users had, however, was with the chyron at the bottom of the screen throughout the segment, which read: "Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people."
Politico's Hadas Gold tweeted, "*pinches self* i’m real! i’m a person!" and The Hill's Jordan Fabian shared a screen grab with the words, "Come on."
Another user posted: "Just b/c some idiot says it doesn't mean you put it on the chyron."
*pinches self*— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) November 21, 2016
i’m real! i’m a person!
come on https://t.co/dYqL5PhYvc— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) November 21, 2016
Here is the segment. That chryon. These times. pic.twitter.com/5vXn5GM7ll— Colin Jones (@colinjones) November 21, 2016
During the segment, guest host Sciutto referred to Spencer's supporters as "unabashed racists and anti-Semites" and the correspondents, Real Clear Politics' Rebecca Berg and The Boston Globe's Matt Viser, discussed how Trump's controversial appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist has only inflamed the alt-right conversation.
"I think the challenge for Trump and his team moving forward," said Berg, "is going to be to assure people that people on the alt-right, white nationalists, do not have a voice in the Trump administration and do not have a place in the policies that they will be crafting when he is president. And I haven't really seen those signals from them yet."
She continued, "Part of this is also political calculation. They've found that they need these people in their coalition to succeed, so can they disown them and cleanse their coalition of these people?"
Host Jake Tapper, who was on vacation, later commented on the chyron, calling it "unacceptable" and "abhorrent."
@SeanGibbons_ the chyron was abhorrent and I am trying to deal with it. Obviously I take responsibility but my being off is not irrelevant.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 22, 2016
After the segment aired, Sciutto tweeted that he agreed with Tapper and that the banner, "which we don't write from the chair - was out of line."
Viser also took to Twitter to respond to users who made snap judgments about the panel due the chyron, accusing them of normalizing the alt-right.
To be clear: I believe Jews are people (I’m also not the alt-right founder referenced on the chyron) https://t.co/G6E7sy6eFT— Matt Viser (@mviser) November 21, 2016
We were doing the opposite of normalizing. We were calling them out for odious bigotry as we said on the air. https://t.co/UGb7sN8XBA— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 22, 2016
A spokesperson for CNN told The Hollywood Reporter: "It was poor judgment and we very much regret it and apologize."
See the reactions on social media below.
What is happening. pic.twitter.com/zCb919JVyN— Alanna Vagianos (@lannadelgrey) November 21, 2016
lots of self-reflection after the election for cable news, i see pic.twitter.com/eonH8ypOmq— alyssa bereznak (@alyssabereznak) November 21, 2016
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say "yes" https://t.co/1ZwbFJO7po— Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) November 21, 2016
I can confirm I am a person https://t.co/IbASZhoifO— Ethan Hammerman (@Ethanhamm) November 21, 2016
we're real. and we're gonna be a HUGE pain in your ass, Nazis. pic.twitter.com/osshbJDdPI— ADAM ROSE (@RealAdamRose) November 21, 2016