On July 8, CNN hosted right-wing talk radio host and former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) to discuss a racially inflammatory tweet he had sent, then deleted, warning President Obama and “black lives matter punks” to “watch out” because “Real America is coming after you.” Walsh defended his remarks with CNN’s Don Lemon, alleging “there really is a war on our cops” that “started with Barack Obama,” adding “Barack Obama has done nothing but hate on cops” and accuse them of “being bad and racist.” After claiming that Obama doesn’t like “America,” “our service members,” or “men and women in blue,” Walsh reiterated the “Watch out Obama” threat, adding “Americans are finally going to stand up and stand with our police officers and stand against him.”
On the July 10 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources, Jamia Wilson, a civil rights activist with the Women’s Media Center, condemned CNN for giving Wilson “a platform to promote a dog whistle to racists, as well as to use coded language and overt threats” to intimidate and undermine citizen movements against systemic racism and police violence. From the show:
BRIAN STELTER (HOST): We saw the Dallas PD yesterday saying the media was reporting misinformation, saying that shots had been fired outside the headquarters during a security scare, when there had been no shots fired, actually the police had been doing their jobs trying to use a device to enter a locked fence. You can see the complaints from the police department there. Jamia, let me bring you in here and pivot back to this issue of who is speaking on cable news and about what. There were a lot of complaints on Twitter yesterday about Joe Walsh, the ex-congressman, being on CNN Tonight on Friday night with Don Lemon. Walsh made a tweet, a number of tweets, during the Dallas ambush, some of them were perceived as threats against the president. He deleted one of them. So he was interviewed by Don Lemon about this, he was challenged by Don Lemon, but I have heard a lot of people online on social media saying he should not be allowed on CNN's airwaves. What do you think? What do you make of that?
JAMIA WILSON: It was disappointing to see --
TOMI LAHREN: I think the --
STELTER: Sorry Tamia, go ahead.
WILSON: It was disappointing to see that he was given a platform to promote a dog whistle to racists, as well as to use coded language, and overt threats that were undermining legitimate movement work to help bring people together as well as to end state violence against black people.