Sen. Ted Cruz Intentionally Misrepresents CNN Reporter’s Observations From Kabul To Score Political Points
[guest post by Dana]
CNN’s Clarissa Ward reported from the streets of Kabul yesterday. Despite the fact that the Taliban were nearby (and later approached Ward and told her to move aside because she was a woman), Ward, who wisely adapted her clothing in order to blend in, nonetheless gave us the opportunity to see what the city looked like as the Taliban moved into power. She considered the absolute surrealness of the situation, including Kabul falling to the Taliban, the lack of women on the streets, and the people’s fear of what was to come:
— New Day (@NewDay) August 16, 2021
It’s obvious that any female news reporter in Kabul who is doing her job while in the midst of the Taliban is bravely determined to let the world see for itself what is happening. From her report in the video, Ward offered this observation of the Taliban:
“They were just chanting “Death to America,” but they seem friendly at the same time. It’s utterly bizarre.”
Now, Sen. Ted Cruz, who doesn’t lack for intelligence and clearly understood the fuller context of Ward’s obersvation, nonetheless chose to score cheap political points by insulting Ward’s (and our) intelligence by cherry picking this particular sound byte to present CNN and their reporter as un-American:
Is there an enemy of America for whom @CNN WON’T cheerlead?
(In mandatory burkas, no less.) https://t.co/9O6pe8yROM
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 16, 2021
Unfortunately, other right-leaning sites chose to play Sen. Cruz’s game as well:
Cruz retweeted Benny Johnson, a right-wing activist, who shared abbreviated clips of Ward reporting from Kabul in an effort to paint her as praising the Taliban. The clip made the rounds online in right-wing circles on Monday. The Daily Wire, a right-wing outlet, and the Republicans’ House Judiciary Committee Twitter accounts also shared the clip. Other Republican lawmakers, including Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, also shared the clip criticizing CNN.
CNN wasn’t having any of it and pointed out the obvious:
“Rather than running off to Cancun in tough times, @clarissaward is risking her life to tell the world what’s happening. That’s called bravery. Instead of RTing a conspiracy theorist’s misleading soundbite, perhaps your time would be better spent helping Americans in harm’s way.”
Rather than running off to Cancun in tough times, @clarissaward is risking her life to tell the world what's happening. That’s called bravery. Instead of RTing a conspiracy theorist’s misleading soundbite, perhaps your time would be better spent helping Americans in harm’s way.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) August 16, 2021
What is absurd about Cruz and his fellow Republicans using out-of-context statements to reassure their constituents that CNN is still the enemy but Republicans are on it, is that one only has to watch the entirety of Ward’s report to know that they are intentionally misrepresenting her. And I suspect that these same politicians and pundits are likely watching CNN themselves just to see what is taking place in Kabul right now. Moreover, there is great irony here, as Erik Wemple points out:
And now for the irony: People like Cruz are wise to watch CNN’s well-funded, on-the-ground coverage of crises such as the one now unfolding in Kabul. It helps them sharpen their critiques of President Biden. They might consider how informed they would be if people like Ward weren’t risking their hides for the story. But they won’t.
So if I were playing Sen. Ted Cruz’s game, I’d ask him why he hates women so much.