One thing is clear: The crowd at CNN doesn’t have any time for the idea of “prayers.”
If there was any doubt of that, liberal anchor Jake Tapper dispelled it on Sunday morning’s “State of the Union,” when he tried to turn a request from prayers by the mayor of El Paso, Texas, into a chance to bait the man into criticizing President Donald Trump.
But Mayor Dee Margo wouldn’t play along.
The moment came as Tapper questioned Margo, a Republican former state lawmaker who’s been mayor of El Paso since June 2017, about the city’s needs in the wake of Saturday’s attack by a gunman that killed 20 and left more than two dozen injured.
Margo, sensibly, tried to emphasize that a crime like the mass shooting on Saturday that left 20 dead and more than two dozen injured would not define his city.
“It’s a tragedy that we had never experienced. And I hope to never, ever experience again. None of us have been prepared for it. At least our law enforcement was, but no,” he said.
“We’re going to have to deal with this. It’s not going to get any —I don’t think anything is going to be easier until after we — or start passing until we conduct these 20 funerals.”
The part where it got really interesting – though disheartening from a journalistic perspective, was when Margo said what El Paso really needed was “prayers.”
“Frankly, we need prayers and support,” Margo said.
For Tapper, though, it was like the word “prayers” didn’t mean a thing.
In line with the liberal media his network represents, he ignored that request completely, and pushed ahead, citing former El Paso congressman (and 2020 presidential aspirant) Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s statement that “in his view, the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was making things worse and creating an atmosphere of violence. Do you agree? Do you have any concerns about things the president says about immigrants?”
Margo wasn’t buying it.
“Jake, I’m not qualified to talk on that, I’m not a talking head,” he said. “I’m focusing on the El Pasoans and the 20 deaths and their families and what it means for this community and how we can come together and not be victimized by this. This will not define us.”
Tapper tried again. This time he quoted Texas Land Commissioner George Prescott Bush, who published a Twitter post on Saturday declaring that “white terrorism” is a “real and present threat that we all must denounce and defeat.”
Again, Margo tried to keep the focus of the interview where it belonged.
“Jake, I’m not qualified to respond to that any more than the previous question. I’m focusing on El Paso,” he said. “There’s evil in this world and it’s unfortunate.”
Check out the interview here. Margo’s “prayer” line comes about the 3:35 mark. Tapper’s baiting comes directly after it.
Considering that, according to The New York Times, the El Paso gunman apparently posted an anti-immigrant screed on social media before the shooting it might seem on its surface that Tapper had a legitimate line of questioning.
But the reality is different.
From the day of his campaign announcement in 2015, Trump’s words and actions have been directed against illegal immigrants – not those who want to come to the United States legally to better their own lives and the lives of their families.
When Tapper disregards that crucial distinction, when he frames his questions in the words of political opponents of President Trump, and when he uses an interview with the mayor of a town still in shock over a mass shooting to push the kind of overtly anti-Trump agenda that has been CNN’s reason for being since even before Nov. 9, 2016, he gives the game away.
This wasn’t journalism, this was an attack on the man in the Oval Office, disguised as an interview with an official who has much more pressing matters to attend to than furthering CNN’s journalistic bias.
An interviewer with an ounce of class would never have put Margo into a position like that, but clearly, “class” is a quality CNN doesn’t foster in its anchors.
Appreciating “prayers” isn’t one either.