CNN's Louis: Sandmann Speech Will 'Stoke Fires of Grievance'


On New Day Sunday, CNN political commentator Errol Louis was dismissive of the inclusion of Nick Sandmann at the Republican National Convention, suggested that the media smearing of the Kentucky teen wasn’t so bad, and portrayed his speech as part of an effort by Republicans to “stoke the fires of grievance.”

As CNN co-host Christi Paul recalled some of the convention speakers, she ended up posing: “What is the value — and I’m really not being flippant — I’m curious — what is the value of Nick Sandmann?”

Without mentioning that CNN was sued and settled over the matter, Louis only vaguely recalled the Sandmann incident and suggested that his actual behavior was only slightly better than it was portrayed in the media:

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, Nick Sandmann, for those who don’t remember, was involved in kind of a one or two-day story, frankly, where he got into a confrontation with some protesters — there were accusations of racism — further investigations suggested that it wasn’t quite as bad as it had been first portrayed and so forth — and then he sued news organizations for making him look bad.

In fact, much of the media, before getting the full story, pushed the narrative that a group of white, pro-Donald Trump high school students were bullying a lone, elderly Native American, Nathan Phillips, and that Sandmann had provocatively gotten into Phillips’s face when, in fact, it was Philips who approached the group of teens and got in Sandmann’s face as evidenced by video that emerged later.

And, even though his own network has for years been stoking racial tensions with a distorted presentation of racial issues, the CNN contributor charged that Republicans are “stoking the fires of grievance” by including Sandmann’s speech:

LOUIS: Programming for this convention seems to be a series of these little kind of one-day stories that have taken on some life in the world of Trump supporters and Fox News viewers, and they want to sort of rehash all of those and kind of stoke the fires of grievance and pull together his base around these kind of momentary bits of anger that have accumulated over the last few years.

He then diminished the importance of such issues:

LOUIS: The problem with that, of course, is that there are much, much bigger problems out there. There are much bigger issues than whether Nick Sandmann was treated fairly by the media, to say the least. So, you know, like I said, they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them if they think they’re going to take people’s minds of the major problems that are actually confronting us.

Paul then asked if President Trump would try to “attract someone other than his base,” leading Louis to predict that he would not.

This episode of New Day Sunday was sponsored by Liberty Mutual and Humira. Their contact information is linked.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the August 23 New Day Sunday on CNN:

CNN

New Day Sunday

6:24 a.m. Eastern

CHRISTI PAUL: What is the value — and I’m really not being flippant — I’m curious — what is the value of Nick Sandmann?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, Nick Sandmann, for those who don’t remember, was involved in kind of a one or two-day story, frankly, where he got into a confrontation with some protesters — there were accusations of racism — further investigations suggested that it wasn’t quite as bad as it had been first portrayed and so forth — and then he sued news organizations for making him look bad.

It touches on a lot of what the Trump base wants to hear about — that racism accusations are overblown, that the media is in on it, and that people who are just kind of going about their business trying to be good Americans are being unfairly maligned. But these are all very small questions, Christi. That’s the thing that is striking.

We’re going to be on the small screen because of the pandemic and the fact that everybody has to watch this at home. It means that we’re going to be on a small screen, and the President and the programming for this convention seems to be a series of these little kind of one-day stories that have taken on some life in the world of Trump supporters and Fox News viewers, and they want to sort of rehash all of those and kind of stoke the fires of grievance and pull together his base around these kind of momentary bits of anger that have accumulated over the last few years.

The problem with that, of course, is that there are much, much bigger problems out there. There are much bigger issues than whether Nick Sandmann was treated fairly by the media, to say the least. So, you know, like I said, they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them if they think they’re going to take people’s minds of the major problems that are actually confronting us.

PAUL: Okay, but what does it mean for people in the middle who may not have been able to decide what they’re going to do yet? They loved maybe the character conversation of the DNC, but they didn’t hear enough policy, though certainly the expectation is they’re going to hear policy here. Can he do anything to attract someone other than his base? And is there any indication that he will try?

LOUIS: He almost never does that — he almost never does that. He didn’t do it in Cleveland in 2016 — he hasn’t done it in the three and a half years since then. I’d be very surprised if he does make a genuine, serious effort to reach beyond his base.



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