Riots are bad except for when they aren’t, according to CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo.
The cable news hosts are trying hard now to reconcile their support for last year’s anti-police riots, which were directly responsible for approximately 24 deaths and cost an estimated $1 billion-plus in damages, the most expensive in insurance history, with their disgust for the riot that took place last week in the nation’s capital.
Their attempt this week to rationalize their selective support for wanton destruction went about as well as one would expect of CNN’s primetime wonder duo.
“Overturning the election is different than being pissed off about being shot by cops,” said Cuomo.
For the record, Cuomo is the same CNN host who demanded last year of those who criticized the anti-police riots, “[S]how me where it says that protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful. Because I can show you outraged citizens are the ones who have made America what she is and led to any major milestones.”
The word “peaceably” is right there in the text of the First Amendment.
Cuomo also said of critics of the anti-police riots that, “too many see the protests as the problem,” adding further that the critics are “ignoring the reality and … are picking on the aberrations for bad reason.”
On Tuesday, Lemon also tried to differentiate between good and bad riots, saying, “I’m glad you mentioned about being shot by cops because you cannot compare. And I’m sick of people comparing. You can’t compare what happened this summer to what happened at the Capitol. It’s two different things.”
Lemon, by the way, is the same person who defended anti-police riots last May, characterizing them as the “mechanism for a restructure of our country or for some sort of change.”
On Tuesday, he said of the anti-police and Capitol riots, “One is built on people, on racial justice, on criminal justice, right, on reform, on police not beating up – or police treating people of color differently than they do whites. Okay? That is not a lie. Those are facts. Go look at them.”
“What happened at the Capitol was built on a lie perpetrated by the president and the people who support him,” Lemon added. “So, just on that one merit, if you want to call it, it’s not comparable. That things are not comparable. So they should not be doing it. And stop this whataboutism.”
No, that is not correct either. It’s “whataboutism” to excuse bad behavior or distract from whatever issue is at hand. However, to contextualize events, to view them proportionally, or to apply even a consistent set of standards, that is not “whataboutism.”
The people who spoke out against the anti-police riots “get that it’s not apples to apples,” Cuomo asserted Tuesday. “[T]here are people who don’t care, who don’t like what was done, who don’t believe that black people are justified, and it’s why last week happened.”
To put it plainly, Cuomo and Lemon believe that the anti-police riots are defensible because they were based on “facts,” the Capitol riot was not. That supposedly makes all the difference. However, if that’s how we judge whether one riot is better than the other, then what if the Capitol riot had been based on “facts”? Surely, Cuomo and Lemon are not suggesting that they would’ve had similar defenses for what happened at the U.S. Capitol building.
Later, after social media users reminded Cuomo that he went out of his way last year to defend the anti-police riots, the cable news host dug in, explaining that it’s just different, OK?
“Retrumplicans were attacking anger and hostility of protestors toward the ‘system’ – cops, laws, etc.,” he said in his own defense. “I said they don’t have to just sing hymns and go home.”
That’s not what he said.
“And yet so many still want [to] equate the insurrection with other outbursts over the summer…as if it is just more of the same,” he added. “It isn’t.”
Using the word “outbursts” to describe last year’s deadly rioting suggests that Cuomo, who is enjoying the view now from atop his moral high horse, is still running defense for the carnage everyone saw last summer.
You know, a really easy way to avoid looking like a partisan hack on this issue is to hold the consistent position that all riots are bad, even if they start as well-intentioned demonstrations. It’s such a simple concept. Even a CNN host can probably grasp it.