The idea at CNN – like Fox News and (we think?) MSNBC – is that the nighttime anchors give their opinions and run partisan shows while the daytime anchors preside over unbiased news presentations. We’re not about to make the case that Brianna Keilar – one of CNN’s daytime anchors – is the first cable news personality to violate this seawall, but her commentary on Tuesday certainly blew an enormous hole in it. After all, it’s not often that you hear a bona fide news anchor call a Republican governor an “ass” on live television.
But that’s what Keilar did in her conversation with CNN reporter Rosa Flores, who the network is trying to turn into some sort of small-time hero because of her contentious questioning of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) this week.
“I think maybe one of the reasons the governor might have been frustrated is that you have been a tireless questioner of Gov. DeSantis, as Florida has had a number of issues with its coronavirus response, which might be part of the reason why he was being such an ass instead of just answering your question, at a time when Floridians need answers and their health and their lives are at stake,” Keilar said.
This extraordinary statement served the dual purpose of bashing a Republican and painting a CNN reporter as a valiant champion of the truth, which is a fairly near encapsulation of the network’s entire mission statement. It might be offensive to your ears to hear a “journalist” use a phrase like that to describe a sitting governor (or anyone, for that matter), but we’re sure that Jeff Zucker is proud as a peacock of his gals.
By the way, if you go back and watch the exchange in question between Flores and DeSantis, you might well come up with a differing theory on who, exactly, was “being an ass” in their confrontation.
In any event, DeSantis appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show the next night to assure viewers and Florida voters that neither Flores nor Keilar were keeping him up at night.
“You know what, I don’t seek validation by the media,” DeSantis said. “What I seek is supporting the citizens of my state, and I can’t tell you, as this pandemic has worn on, the number of times someone has come up to me with tears in their eyes saying, ‘If it wasn’t for you, my kid would not be in school and I would not have my job.’ That is why I’m in this job.”