CNN Dismisses ‘Clown’ Ted Cruz Asking Jackson About CRT as ‘Below the Line’

During an afternoon break Tuesday in Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings, CNN Newsroom mocked and dismissed questions from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about critical race theory (CRT) as “below the line” and “reek[ing] of desperation” from “a clown” who “put on a performance” in “the surreal.”

To be clear about how CNN views things, it’s out of bounds to ask about matters of race and concerning a place where Jackson serves on the school’s board, but it was perfectly fine to smear someone’s deeply-held personal beliefs and accuse another of being a serial gang rapist who threw icedidn’t deserve due process, and had racist and sexist supporters.

And in the case of the latter, it was just politics.

Chief legal analyst and infamous masturbator Jeff Toobin reiterated many of the points he made during the lunch break about how she was in no danger of losing confirmation, lamenting “[t]here have been a lot of Republicans who are trying to make political points.”

Speaking of Cruz, Toobin said this about his invoking of CRT: “We had a trip to the surreal during Ted Cruz’s questioning when there was this extensive discussion of the summer reading list at the Georgetown Day School. The relevance of which was really hard to see.”

So, is CRT real or not? And if so, wouldn’t such an issue be pertinent to courts concerning lawsuits from parents or challenges to legislation against teaching it in schools?

Co-host Victor Blackwell cued up a clip of Cruz’s questioning (which included his summation of Ibram X. Kendi’s book Antiracist Baby), almost humorously saying: “Let’s take another trip down that summer reading list and get a reminder for people who were joining us later. This is Senator Ted Cruz. He had blow ups up of pictures from these children’s books of Georgetown Day School[.]”

Afterward, Inside Politics Sunday host and left-wing reporter Abby Phillip expressed support for Jackson having to put up with Cruz and that the school being woke actually fits with their mission of opposing segregation (even though CRT encourages racial resentment) (click “expand”):

PHILLIP: Her pause at the beginning of her answer really said it all — 

BLACKWELL: Mmhmm.

PHILLIP: — in terms of just the level of frustration that it seemed that she had even while she was answering the questions in an incredibly, you know, sort of judicious manner. This is exactly the kind of thing that I think some Republicans had been concerned about because one of the problems with Senator Cruz’s questioning of her along these lines was that he asked her about Georgetown Day School and it gave her an opportunity to explain that when she talks about social justice in relation to Georgetown Day School, it’s because that school was founded explicitly to integrate schools during a time when the law required that public schools be racially segregated. So, he kinda teed up a softball for her to really sort of undermine this whole avenue of questioning and many Republicans have been concerned that this is, frankly, just kind of embarrassing. It does not lead to anything of substance and she clearly, you know, I think, in particular, because some of this has to do with the school that her kids went to or go to. I think there was clearly some tension there but she answered all the questions. 

But Phillip also went over the cliff into a ravine of hypocrisy on what’s acceptable at Supreme Court confirmation hearings:

And, at the end of the day, it was Ted Cruz holding up pictures of a picture book and I think that, in the context of a Supreme Court nomination, that just seems below the line of what is important in the big scheme of things.

Blackwell went next to CNN political analyst Natasha Alford of the far-left Grio, who griped that “Cruz promised he would not allow a political circus to take place and he was a clown, right? He — he put on a performance. So much of what he said was getting at the culture wars in America right now.”

Claiming that Republicans weren’t “actually” talking “about her record” but instead tie her to “really controversial” issues, Alford further complained: “[T]here’s distortion. There’s grasping. There’s cherry picking of quotes and it all just sort of reeks of desperation.”

Before a commercial break, Blackwell and senior legal analyst Elie Honig brought up the issue of her record concerning sentences for child sex predators.

Blackwell stated he was bewildered at how “that line of questioning” meant anything and Honig obviously agreed, calling this topic “a ridiculous line of attack” and “wildly misleading.”

This disgust with asking a Supreme Court nominee about major issues in American society was brought to by advertisers such as Priceline and Subaru. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant CNN transcripts from March 22, click “expand.”

CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell
March 22, 2022
3:44 p.m. Eastern

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, the bottom line, it seems to me, is that Judge Jackson is in fine shape. There’s nothing here that has come up that would seem to change any votes from a yes to a no. There have been a lot of Republicans who are trying to make political points. Some of which were at her expense. Some of which were at the larger expense of the Democratic Party. We had a trip to the surreal during Ted Cruz’s questioning when there was this extensive discussion of the summer reading list at the Georgetown Day School. The relevance of which was really hard to see. But I think, just in general, you see that the judge is very knowledgeable, very calm, very thoughtful and someone who knows a whole helluva lot more about the law than any of these senators do. 

VICTOR BLACKWELL: Alright. Let’s take another trip down that summer reading list and get a reminder for people who were joining us later. This is Senator Ted Cruz. He had blow ups of pictures from these children’s books of Georgetown Day School in which we know — and there’s the judge taking a break as well — she is on the board of trustees of Georgetown Day School. Here’s what we heard from Senator Ted Cruz. 

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX) If you look at the Georgetown Day School’s curriculum, it is filled and overflowing with critical race theory, that among the books that are either assigned or recommended — [SCREEN WIPE] — they include a book called Anti-Racist Baby by Ibram Kendi. And there are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist. There is no neutrality. Another portion of the book, they recommend to babies confess when being racist. Now, this is a book that is taught at Georgetown Day School to students in pre-k through second grade, so four through seven years old. Do — do you agree with this book that is being taught that — that babies are racist? 

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: Senator, I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or they are not valued or though they are less than. 

BLACKWELL: Abby Phillip, the — the GOP has been telegraphing that this punch would come. They tweeted out, you know, scratching out KBJ and instead writing CRT. What do you think about this exchange we just watched? 

ABBY PHILLIP: Her pause at the beginning of her answer really said it all — 

BLACKWELL: Mmhmm.

PHILLIP: — in terms of just the level of frustration that it seemed that she had even while she was answering the questions in an incredibly, you know, sort of judicious manner. This is exactly the kind of thing that I think some Republicans had been concerned about because one of the problems with Senator Cruz’s questioning of her along these lines was that he asked her about Georgetown Day School and it gave her an opportunity to explain that when she talks about social justice in relation to Georgetown Day School, it’s because that school was founded explicitly to integrate schools during a time when the law required that public schools be racially segregated. So, he kinda teed up a softball for her to really sort of undermine this whole avenue of questioning and many Republicans have been concerned that this is, frankly, just kind of embarrassing. It does not lead to anything of substance and she clearly, you know, I think, in particular, because some of this has to do with the school that her kids went to or go to. I think there was clearly some tension there but she answered all the questions. And, at the end of the day, it was Ted Cruz holding up pictures of a picture book and I think that, in the context of a Supreme Court nomination, that just seems below the line of what is important in the big scheme of things.

BLACKWELL: Natasha, you’ve been sitting with me here for the last hour and 40 minutes and you said several times during that, it is a private school. What’s your reaction to what you watched there? 

NATASHA ALFORD: Well, you know, Ted Cruz promised he would not allow a political circus to take place and he was a clown, right? He — he put on a performance. So much of what he said was getting at the culture wars in America right now. It was not about Judge Jackson and that’s what felt — that’s what I feel is playing out often with criticisms and sort of the questioning from GOP senators is that it’s not actually about her record. It’s about how can we take issues that are really controversial and somehow try to tie them to her, soft — being soft on crime or even CRT, which she mentioned in a long quote like criminal law or constitutional law. So, there’s distortion. There’s grasping. There’s cherry picking of quotes and it all just sort of reeks of desperation. 

BLACKWELL: Elie, let’s turn to the child pornography defendant line here. Ted Cruz said that he saw in Judge Jackson an activism and advocacy as it concerns sexual predators, sexual offenders. Is he trying to argue that she is pro-child porn defendant? Like, what? I don’t — I don’t know what that line of questioning was about specifically. What did you pick up?

ELIE HONIG: It almost sounded to me like that’s what he was trying to do, which is a ridiculous line of attack. This whole argument is wildly misleading and I’m being polite, the way I’m phrasing that, but let me explain why. In every federal criminal case, the judge has to calculate the sentencing guidelines. It’s a big thick book. You have to run the numbers. And then it tells you here’s the recommending sentencing range. It is not mandatory but the judge has to consult it. However, reality is across the country there’s a broad consensus, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, that those numbers — not unanimous, but that those numbers — tend to be too high in possessory child pornography cases and, if you look at the numbers, in nearly 59 percent of all cases, judges across the country sentence below that recommended range. And we saw how Judge Jackson in some but not all cases did that. And she — I think her answer was right on point. She said my job in every case is to consider the factors that Congress, you all, have told me to consider and then all of the facts of the case and to give a just sentence.

BLACKWELL: Well, we know Senator Josh Hawley is going to come up and bring this to Judge Jackson. He has certainly said that will be part of his questioning.

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