CNN political commentator and Trump sycophant Jeffrey Lord dubiously claimed that, “Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the Communist Party chairman,” a story that originated on a fringe right-wing outlet and that the Communist Party has formally rejected.
On the November 23 edition of CNN's New Day, Lord pushed the false claim that the Communist Party chairman endorsed former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in order to argue that the media are exaggerating the relationship between white supremacists and president-elect Donald Trump. According to Snopes.com, a website that tracks fake news, the claim that Clinton was endorsed by the Communist Party originated with NewsBusters, a right-wing outlet, which distorted an article by the Communist Party chair John Bachtell in which he “urges progressive voters to cast their ballots for the Democratic ticket.” As Snopes.com notes, “it is not a formal endorsement of Clinton, but a call to vote against Trump.” Additionally, the Communist Party denied endorsing Clinton in a statement, explaining that the coalition “does not issue endorsements of candidates of other parties.”
The presence of fake news and misleading stories was a serious problem during the 2016 presidential election. CNN anchors have used their shows to explore the epidemic of fake news on Facebook and Google, but they also have an obligation to address falsehoods when they slip into mainstream news. Camerota's failure to push back on Lord's false claim serves as a perpetuation of the problem and aids in the spread of misinformation.
JEFFREY LORD: I'll tell you something, Ali. The Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley has a great column this morning and wants to know why during a meeting of 275 extremist Nazis at a meeting in Washington are getting all this attention from the media. And his answer is that it fits the narrative of the basket of deplorables. But he points out that in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, counties that voted heavily for President Obama turned to Donald Trump this year, white counties. So, in other words, this is really a media narrative because the American left, as you've heard me say many times, is obsessed with race and has been ever since they instituted slavery in this country, all the way through illegal immigration by skin color. It's race, race, race all the time. It's the wrong picture.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, I just want to ask you a question about that. So neo-Nazis should be allowed sort of with impunity to have conferences and have meetings and say whatever they want and set up websites, and at what point should the media pay attention to them?
LORD: Well, you know, Ali, the point is, do we pay equal attention when these things go on on the left? For instance, Hillary Clinton was endorsed by the Communist Party chairman. Where was all the attention to that? There was none. There was none. They have a First Amendment right. Everybody in this country has a First Amendment right. We don't have to pay attention to people who have First Amendment rights.
CAMEROTA: Sure. It's always a judgment call of when you start to pay attention.