CNN Panel Does Not Like Being Reminded Democrats Also Believe Conspiracies

News & Politics

Commentator Scott Jennings caused an uproar on Friday CNN Tonight panel led by Alisyn Camerota when he had the tenacity to point out to her that it is not just Republicans who are susceptible to conspiracy theories.

The context for the segment was multiple Republican politicians repeating a conspiracy theory about school children being able to use litter boxes if they identify as cats, which led Camerota to ask, “I do want to pose this to you. It does seem like Republicans fall for this more than Democrats. The Republicans fall for conspiracy theories more than Democrats, yes?”

An incredulous Jennings replied that, “I don’t know if that’s true or not.”

Trying to prove that it is true, Camerota continued, “I have polls. I have polls to prove it. Here’s the COVID conspiracy, adults who think that COVID outbreak was planned. Republicans 34 percent, Democrats 18 percent. QAnon by party, Republicans 43 percent, Democrats 19 percent. People who believe the election lies, Republicans — no, people who believe that Biden is the legitimate president, Democrats 98 percent, Republicans 34 percent.”

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It should be clarified that means 43 percent of QAnon are Republicans not that 43 percent of Republicans are QAnon. In response, Jennings called Camerota out for her selection bias, “Yeah, I mean, I lived through the Bush administration and a lot of people believed a lot of crazy things about George W. Bush that weren’t true either.”

Jennings could’ve added that some of those crazy things included attempts by Democrats to delegitimize both his 2000 and 2004 wins, including by the current chairman of the January 6 Committee.

After Jennings addressed the truth behind the litter box conspiracy, Camerota turned to co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign, Nina Turner, and asked for her thoughts. After Turner argued conspiracies arise from distrust in institutions, Camerota asked her the same question she asked Jennings, “Don’t you think that Republicans are more susceptible to conspiracy theories?

Turner agreed, which led former Mitt Romney campaign aide Kevin Madden interrupt and attempt to distinguish between disseminating disinformation and believing it, “I would say they have networks that are much better, more disciplined at sharing disinformation, or are aggressive in sharing disinformation.”

Camerota wasn’t buying even Madden’s relatively tame rebuttal, “I mean, the pizza parlor where Hillary Clinton is supposedly running a—”

At this point Jennings started to interject in an attempt to push back, but Camerota continued, “stop. I mean, that’s just — Democrats don’t spread that stuff.”

Jennings pushed back, “Not on this network but on a kind of competitor. I see some crazy things said on a nightly basis that come from the true fever swamps of the American left… This is not purely a conservative issue. Yes, I’m very serious.”

While Jennings was completely correct to go after MSNBC, he was being charitable. Cameorta herself recently gave credence to the conspiracy theories that pro-lifers will seek to track women’s menstrual data while CNN as a whole has been a reliable voice for the conspiracy that Republican-passed election laws will suppress the vote.

This segment was sponsored by Select Quote.

Here is a transcript for the October 14 show:

CNN Tonight

10/14/2022

11:06 PM ET

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I do want to pose this to you. It does seem like Republicans fall for this more than Democrats. The Republicans fall for conspiracy theories more than Democrats, yes?

SCOTT JENNINGS: I don’t know if that’s true or not.

CAMEROTA: I have polls. I have polls to prove it. Here’s the COVID conspiracy, adults who think that COVID outbreak was planned. Republicans 34 percent, Democrats 18 percent. QAnon by party, Republicans 43 percent, Democrats 19 percent. People who believe the election lies, Republicans — no, people who believe that Biden is the legitimate president, Democrats 98 percent, Republicans 34 percent.

JENNINGS: Yeah, I mean, I lived through the Bush administration and a lot of people believed a lot of crazy things about George W. Bush that weren’t true either. So, I agree with Kevin, that I think that if you have a prior view, like in the case of these schools, if you believe that there are people in the schools who are making the schools into something crazy.

So, then that’s your prior view, and then some other thing comes — it’s just easy to just tack that on to what you already believe. So, I do think that is happening. Actually, preparing for this, researched this today.

CAMEROTA: Oh.

JENNINGS: There actually is kitty litter in schools. You know why?

CAMEROTA: Because there’s cats?

JENNINGS: No. Because sometimes schools put it in there in the event of a lockdown or emergency situation and if the students are in the classroom and they cannot get out and go to the bathroom. So, it’s actually in some schools been used for emergency purposes.

CAMEROTA: That’s, you know what, that’s actually really interesting because you just proved that you can debunk something. You can debunk a hoax—

JENNINGS: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: — you can debunk something that sounds absurd by doing one minute of research on your phone. Nina, your thoughts on this.

NINA TURNER: I mean, just a lot of distrust in institutions and the government that’s really being peddled more often on the right.

CAMEROTA: Don’t you think that Republicans are more susceptible to conspiracy theories?

TURNER: Yeah. They definitely are more susceptible. They — in a propensity –

KEVIN MADDEN: I would say they have networks that are much better, more disciplined at sharing disinformation, or are aggressive in sharing disinformation.

CAMEROTA: I mean, the pizza parlor where Hillary Clinton is supposedly running a–

JENNINGS: Guys–

CAMEROTA: – stop. I mean, that’s just — Democrats don’t –

TURNER: It’s ridiculous.

CAMEROTA: — don’t spread that stuff.

JENNINGS: Not on this network but on a kind of competitor. I see some crazy things said on a nightly basis that come from the true fever swamps of the American left –

CAMEROTA: Oh stop.

JENNINGS: This is not — this is not purely –

TURNER: Are you serious?

JENNINGS: This is not purely a conservative issue. Yes, I’m very serious.

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