In the aftermath of back-to-back police shootings that have left two black men dead in less than 48 hours, CNN’s New Day devoted a significant amount of its July 7 show to pointing out the “bizarre disconnect” of Congress focus on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails rather than on fatal police shootings.
On July 5, police fatally shot Alton Sterling, a black man, in Baton Rouge, LA, during an incident that was “partially captured on video.” The following day in Falcon Heights, MN, a police officer “opened fire” on Philando Castile, also a black man, during a routine traffic stop that “turned deadly.” Also on July 6, The New York Times reported on Congress’ decision to summon FBI Director James Comey to explain why he recommended “no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton” after a year-long investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
During the July 7 edition of their morning show New Day, CNN hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota repeatedly underscored the apparent “disconnect” between Congress’ decision to continue pursuing an investigation of Clinton’s emails by interviewing FBI Director James Comey in a hearing while not focusing on the back-to-back police shootings. During the first hour, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates slammed Congress for a “tone-deafness” in prioritizing its inquiry into Clinton’s emails even after the shootings, adding “it shows an absolute insensitivity.”
The hosts also challenged members of Congress who made appearances on the show. Cuomo asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) whether addressing the shootings would be “a better discussion to be having” than focusing on “the politics of email.” Camerota pressed Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) on the shootings, asking, “What can Congress do about this feeling in the black community?” Cuomo later doubled down by asking Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) whether the shootings gave him “pause for concern regarding” Congress’ chosen focus:
The show’s decision to focus on the police shootings while challenging Congress for prioritizing a matter some consider to be “totally overblown” is refreshing in an environment where media often portray victims of color as deserving of brutal treatment and some networks like Fox News practically ignore such tragedies by devoting scant coverage to them.