A CNN segment on Johnny Depp’s remarks about assassinating President Trump was little more than a thinly veiled attempt to use the moment to smear the president and his supporters. On Friday morning, host Kate Bolduan (shown) and guests Guy Cecil, head of the Democratic SuperPAC Priorities USA, and CNN political commentator Keith Boykin — who is also a former Clinton White House aide — somehow managed to turn a threat against the president’s life into an indictment of the president.
After an introduction saying that Depp’s assassination remarks caused “outrage” “from all sides of the political divide,” CNN showed a short clip of the video in which Depp asked the crowd at the 2017 Gladstonbury Festival, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Left out of the clip was the portion where Depp says, “It’s been a while and maybe it’s about time.” Bolduan then introduces her guests and asks Boykin, “Johnny Depp — did he go too far?” It takes Boykin less than nine seconds to begin his indictment of Trump and Trump’s supporters — a theme that continued throughout the segment. Boykin answered:
Yes. Yeah, I mean, it’s not a good idea for anyone to threaten assassination of a president even as a joke. It’s not a good idea when Ted Nugent did it with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It’s not a good idea when Donald Trump himself did it when he talked about Second Amendment remedies toward the election if he had lost last year. And I think that we have far too much advocacy of serious violence against people in this country already after the whole Steve Scalise shooting and the Gabby Giffords shootings we’ve had. It would be good if the president of the United States would actually tamp down some of that violence.
In that 33-second-long answer, Boykin spent six seconds saying, “Yes. Yeah, I mean, it’s not a good idea for anyone to threaten assassination of a president even as a joke.” The rest of the time was spent blaming Trump and Nugent. Of course, the essence of Boykin’s answer is that Depp “went too far” but it’s Trump’s fault. Liberal logic at its best.
And while — in Nugent’s case — Boykin may have a point that those remarks were as bad as what Depp said, his point is out of focus in this context. The context is that Depp advocated for — and perhaps even threatened — the assassination of President Trump. For Boykin to spin this issue to say, “It would be good if the president of the United States would actually tamp down some of that violence,” misses that point entirely. Besides, what exactly is the president to do to “tamp down some of that violence” that he is not already doing?
After Depp’s remarks were went viral on social media and were reported by the mainstream media, the White House issued a statement saying:
President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it's sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp's colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a Democrat elected official.
That statement is a good example of the president doing doing what is within his power to “tamp down some of that violence.” Boykin and the rest of the folks at CNN really should try to keep up.
After Boykin’s blame-the-victim answer, Bolduan asked Guy Cecil, “Democrats went crazy — and rightfully so, if you want to take Ted Nugent as one example that Keith brings up — said dangeraous things about Barack Obama — no doubt, we don’t need to return to what he actually said. So shouldn’t Democrats be going crazy about this, to be intellectually honest?” Inasmuch as her question almost quotes the statement from the White House, it would have been a good question. Unfortunately, coming on the other side of Boykin’s answer, it only served to set up another rousing round of “Blame Trump.”
Cecil answered, “Yes. I don’t think there’s any Democrat that would support what Johnny Depp said or what Ted Nugent said.” He continued, “I’m not looking to get my political guidance and moral judgment from Johnny Depp or Ted Nugent.” So far so good, and while it took Cecil longer to get his spin machine fired up, once he does, it runs further than Boykin’s did. He followed that up with, “The other thing I would say is what it really does is it distracts. Because instead of another segment talking about an immoral health care bill, instead of another segment about the disaster of a verdict on the murder of Philando Castille, we are talking about an actor — we are talking about ridiculous comments.”
Right. Instead of talking about the favorite issues of Cecil’s SuperPac, here the media are talking about something as inconsequential as a public figure — an opinion molder — with a reach that is both far and wide, calling for the assassination of President Trump a mere eight days after a deranged liberal who had already been drinking deeply from the poisoned well of revolutionary rhetoric coming from the Left shot up a Republican Congressmen’s baseball practice. What a distraction.
So, while other mainstream media — including even other liberal news outlets — have reported on this by sticking to the fact that Depp not only went too far in his comments, but likely committed a crime, CNN felt the need to spin this against Trump for political points. Given this degree of journalistic lack of integrity, is it any wonder President Trump has repeatedly called CNN out in the past as “fake news”?
Photo: Screen-grab from video