CNN still promoting the notion that progressives don't vote their values and aren't "pro-family"

››› ››› LILY YAN

Ed Henry and Jessica Yellin joined the growing list of CNN anchors and reporters who have embraced the lexicon of social conservatives, characterizing Christian conservative voters as "values voters" and equating an opposition to abortion rights with "family values." Henry suggested that support for reproductive choice is not a "family value" and that being pro-choice is inconsistent with being "pro-family," while Yellin suggested that those who are not "white evangelical voters" vote on something other than values.

On April 14 and 15, CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry and Capitol Hill correspondent Jessica Yellin joined the growing list of CNN anchors and reporters who have embraced the lexicon of social conservatives, characterizing Christian conservative voters as "values voters" and equating an opposition to abortion rights with "family values." On the April 15 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, while reporting on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Washington, D.C., Henry asserted that President Bush won the Catholic vote in 2004 against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) "[i]n large part because of stressing a lot of the family values kind of issues that Republicans like to stress -- abortion in particular." One day earlier, during a segment on the April 14 edition of The Situation Room discussing the April 13 Faith in Public Life Compassion Forum that featured Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Yellin equated "values voters" with "white evangelicals," stating: "Both Obama and Clinton have spoken out about the need for Democrats to court values voters. But it looks like they have their work cut out for them. A CNN poll taken mid-March shows white evangelical voters prefer [Sen.] John McCain to either Democrat by more than 45 points."

By stating that opposition to "abortion" is a "family values kind[] of issue[] that Republicans like to stress," Henry suggested that support for reproductive choice is not a "family value" and that being pro-choice is inconsistent with being "pro-family." Similarly, by reporting on "the need for Democrats to court values voters" and subsequently citing a poll on "white evangelical voters," Yellin suggested that those who are not "white evangelical voters" vote on something other than values. As conservative columnist George F. Will stated in the October 7, 2007, edition of ABC's This Week, "[T]here's a vanity in this group right now -- they call themselves 'values voters.' I have news for them: 100 percent of the American electorate are 'values voters'; they vote their values. And this kind of semantic imperialism that they have when they say, 'We vote values' -- everyone else votes what?"

From the April 15 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BILL BENNETT (CNN contributor): Yeah, President Bush met with Pope Benedict before. He met with John Paul.

He seems to have a great comfort level with these popes, which is, of course, very reassuring to American Catholics. I know we don't want to get into politics here, but it was Catholic votes that helped George Bush a great deal in the last -- in his second term. I'm not suggesting his visits were politically motivated, but Catholics have felt a certain bond with George Bush on a number of issues.

WOLF BLITZER (anchor): Well, let's bring in our White House correspondent, Ed Henry, 'cause he's been looking at this and he's covered this president for a long time.

The president, no doubt, does feel very, very close to the Catholic Church, even though he's not a Catholic, as Bill Bennett points out. But he likes a lot of what the pope has to say.

HENRY: Absolutely. And the president did not win the Catholic vote in 2000 against Al Gore.

BENNETT: Right.

HENRY: He did win it, though, in 2004 over a Catholic, in John Kerry.

BENNETT: Right.

HENRY: In large part because of stressing a lot of the family values kind of issues that Republicans like to stress -- abortion in particular, he is in concert with the pope, obviously. But on the Iraq war, the Vatican has opposed that war.

From the April 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

[begin video clip]

YELLIN: The challenge for Democrats is to address faith without alienating secular voters. Religious leaders say one way is by defining issues like the environment and poverty as religious issues.

Faith leaders insist there are plenty of potential Democratic votes in their congregations.

ROLAND MARTIN (CNN contributor): There are a number of people of faith who have been turned off by the religious right, who have said they don't speak for me. Democrats cannot appear to be agnostic or appear to be atheist and ignore a huge amount of people.

[end video clip]

YELLIN: Both Obama and Clinton have spoken out about the need for Democrats to court values voters. But it looks like they have their work cut out for them. A CNN poll taken mid-March shows white evangelical voters prefer John McCain to either Democrat by more than 45 points. And McCain rarely talks about religion -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jessica, thanks.

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Ed Henry, Jessica Yellin
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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