A CNN headline on its website in a story about Donald Trump’s outreach to black voters seemed to imply that African-Americans and felons are one and the same.
The context for the CNN headline was that Donald Trump opposes Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s blanket executive order restoring voting rights to convicted felons. Last month, the Virginia Supreme Court blocked McAuliffe’s action on grounds that it was unconstitutional, which prompted the governor to begin issuing the restorations on an individual basis. About 13,000 convicted felons have been granted permission to vote so far.
In covering Trump’s outreach efforts, the original CNN headline of its coverage read “Trump wants GOP to court black voters — then slams voting rights for felons.”
After a major blowback on social media, the headline now reads “Trump slams voting rights for felons, wants GOP to court black votes.” The story appears to have been updated today at 1:43 p.m.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) August 22, 2016
In its story with the now-modified headline, CNN explained that the GOP nominee was using his megaphone to appeal to black voters. “On Friday, Trump described an African-American community beset by crumbling inner cities, failing schools and high unemployment, and suggested that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have taken the black vote for granted while doing nothing to help the community. Yet on Saturday, Trump…ripped McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton friend and ally, for his decision earlier this year to restore voting rights to thousands of convicted felons.”
"Democrats failing inner cities," says Trump to Latino and African American voters "what do you have to lose" pic.twitter.com/eTiCes7Tnw
— fox8news (@fox8news) August 22, 2016
“What do you have to lose” in voting Republican, Trump rhetorically asked the minority community in his appeal for its vote on November 8 in the general election.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 22, 2016
The Hill media columnist Joe Concha provided this assessment of the CNN headline, which generally reflects the sentiments of many who expressed themselves separately on social media.
“But in attempting to slam Trump for being racist and/or hypocritical for having the audacity of taking a position on ex-felons not being allowed to vote, after openly courting the black vote, the authors… inadvertently make themselves look that way instead. Because almost any lucid person seeing such a headline would come to the same conclusion: That ‘blacks’ are somehow synonymous with ‘felons’…If this is the racial prism they see the country through, it might be time to look into some adult classes on self-awareness.”
“Last time I checked, all nationalities are incarcerated. So what exactly is CNN trying to say?,” Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere website added.
— Kevin Jackson (@KevinJacksonTBS) August 22, 2016
“CNN describes the plan as ‘a move McAuliffe says could help African-Americans who were disproportionally affected by laws that put lifetime bans on felons.’ But CNN’s article doesn’t provide statistics or the percentage of felons who are African American that would be eligible to vote in order to substantiate McAuliffe’s claim, thereby equating Trump’s appeal to African American voters as an appeal to felons,” Breitbart News asserted.
Parenthetically, an article published in the Philadelphia Daily News based on anecdotal evidence suggests that Donald Trump is benefiting from black support because of his economic platform that is apparently not showing up in the polling data. One woman told columnist Jenice Armstrong that “He’s trying to put America first. We look at what’s been going on and it hasn’t been working for black people. It’s stupid for us to limit ourselves to the resources of one party.”
Although large segments of the mainstream media (and including Fox News) have been running with a lot of anti-Trump content in recent weeks, CNN has been particularly aggressive in that regard in the eyes of many fans of The Donald. Whether a connection exists or not, CNN finished third among the cable news networks during the prime 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. hours for the past few weeks, upended by MSNBC, both of whom are far behind Fox News which is “the highest-rated network in all of cable primetime,” The Wrap reported.
Along these lines, a new Morning Consult survey indicates that 38 percent of the voters (the largest cohort) think that the media is trying to elect Hillary Clinton as president. A Rasmussen poll in late May revealed that almost 50 percent of respondents believe that reporters are biased against Trump and in favor of Clinton.
— joemo23, RRT (@joemo23) August 22, 2016
According to this video (warning: annoying musical accompaniment), CNN has a tendency to fact-check Donald Trump but seldom any of his rivals.
In an unrelated matter, CNN issued an apology last week for what many have called a deceptively or selectively edited story involving the Milwaukee police shooting victim’s sister and her peacemaking public comments following riots in that city.