CNN's Crowley asked Shuler if he is "a Nancy Pelosi Democrat," but CNN has yet to ask Republicans if they are "Denny Hastert [or George Bush or Dick Cheney] Republicans"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

In previewing the October 24 installment of CNN's weeklong series titled "Broken Government," the October 24 edition of CNN Newsroom twice aired segments in which CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley asked North Carolina's 11th District congressional candidate Heath Shuler (D) if he is "a Nancy Pelosi Democrat." Pelosi, the House Democratic leader from California, is widely expected to be elected speaker if the Democrats take control of the House. According to a Media Matters for America review* of CNN transcripts since June, no CNN anchor or host has asked a Republican congressional candidate if he or she is a "Dennis Hastert Republican." During the portion of her report aired on CNN Newsroom, Crowley also asked of Democrats: "What is wrong with these people?" She then asserted that "[f]rom Virginia to Montana to Georgia, crack open a Democrat, and they'll tell you: It's the wussy factor."

As Media Matters noted when NBC's Matt Lauer characterized Pelosi as "controversial," the notion that Pelosi is "controversial" has been advanced by Republicans and media figures ahead of the midterm elections, as Media Matters has documented.

In addition, on the October 23 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer previewed the October 24 episode of "Broken Government." That segment showed Democratic strategist David "Mudcat" Saunders stating that "[t]here are certain Democrats who cannot win in rural America." Crowley then asked him: "Are they the 'L' word?" Saunders replied: "No, they're not the 'L' word. They are the 'N' word for naïve. They might even be the 'N' word for ignorant."

As Media Matters for America recently noted, on October 19, Crowley presented a segment on The Situation Room looking at the Democrats' prospects in the midterm elections that was devoted entirely to reinforcing negative stereotypes about the Democratic Party that have been promoted by Republicans and repeated in the media. Media Matters also noted that an examination of media coverage of Pelosi since September 1 -- which has included several prominent profiles of the Democratic leader -- found numerous references to Pelosi as "unabashedly liberal" and one of the "more liberal Democrats."

From the 9 a.m. hour of the October 24 edition of CNN Newsroom:

HEIDI COLLINS (host): The Democratic Party, on the outside looking in. The party hasn't controlled Congress for 12 years. Well, the White House in Republican hands since the 2000 election. So what are the Democrats doing wrong, and how do they win over skeptical voters? CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley looked into a North Carolina race where a six-term Republican congressman faces a challenge from a political newcomer, Democrat Heath Shuler.

[begin video clip]

CROWLEY: Are you a Nancy Pelosi Democrat?

SHULER: You know, I don't like to classify.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Washington liberal does not play well in North Carolina conservative. It is part of why over the past three decades, Southern and rural, mostly white Democrats have looked inside the national Democratic Party and gone elsewhere.

BRUCE REED, (president of the Democratic Leadership Council): Our biggest problem is that of late we've been losing elections.

CROWLEY: What is wrong with these people? From Virginia to Montana to Georgia, crack open a Democrat, and they'll tell you: It's the wussy factor.

MAX CLELAND (former Democratic U.S. senator from Georgia): You have got to lance that bubble. I mean, you know, it's been a narrative for the Republicans for decades now, kind of an underlying narrative against the Democrats, that they're soft on communism, and now it's soft on terrorism.

CROWLEY: It's the culture.

SAUNDERS: The culture is the reason the Democrats have been losing elections. It has nothing to do with policy. It has to do with culture.

CROWLEY: It's the guns.

GOV. BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D-MT): People ask me how many guns I have, I tell them none of your damn business, and I tell them not as many as I'd like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This used to be an awful strong Democrat community right here.

SHULER: I think it still is. I think it still is.

CROWLEY: If his journey is to end in Washington, Heath Shuler needs 11th District Democrats to come home.

SHULER: That's why we have to do a good job of being in a district like this, where they can talk and they can spread the word and say, "You know, he's not like some of the national Democrats, you know. He's one of us."

[end video clip]

COLLINS: America's so-called broken government. We're taking an in-depth look at that issue all week long, right here on CNN. Tonight, two left feet. And our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is joining us now. She's taking a look at the Democratic Party and its problems.

[...]

COLLINS: The Democratic Party on the outside looking in. The party hasn't controlled Congress for a dozen years. The White House in Republican hands since the 2000 election.

So, what are the Democrats doing wrong? And how do they win over skeptical voters?

CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley looked into a North Carolina race where a six-term Republican congressman faces a challenge from a political newcomer, Democrat Heath Shuler.

[begin video clip]

CROWLEY: Are you a Nancy Pelosi Democrat?

SHULER: You know, I don't like to classify.

From the 4 p.m. hour of the October 23 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Tuesday, Candy Crowley digs into why Democrats seem to have so much trouble winning elections.

[end video clip]

SAUNDERS: There are certain Democrats who cannot win in rural America.

CROWLEY: Are they the "L" word?

SAUNDERS: No, they're not the "L" word. They are the "N" word for naïve. They might even be the "N" word for ignorant.

* Results based on a Nexis database search for "George Bush Republican or Dennis Hastert Republican or Denny Hastert Republican" from 06/01/06 to 10/24/06

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Candy Crowley
Show/Publication
CNN Newsroom
Stories/Interests
2006 Elections
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