Twitter fuming after CNN puts neo-Nazi statement ‘if Jews are people’ on screen
CNN has apologized after suffering backlash from viewers on social media over a chyron that read “Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people,” used during a segment discussing the group’s support for President-elect Donald Trump.
During Monday’s showing of The Lead with Jake Tapper, substitute host Jim Sciutto spoke with two guests about Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute who is considered to be the leader of the "Alt-right," a movement accused of being America’s neo-Nazis.
Here is the segment. That chryon. These times. pic.twitter.com/5vXn5GM7ll— Colin Jones (@colinjones) November 21, 2016
Over the weekend, Spencer – an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump – spoke at a NPI conference in Washington, DC. Discussing the mainstream media, he blasted the political commentators who gave Trump little or no chance of winning the election.
“Indeed one wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem animated by some dark power to repeat whatever talking point John Oliver stated the night before,” Spencer said, specifically referring to “Republican strategists and the political consultants snarking at us every night on NBC.”
The Golem is a creature from a medieval Jewish folk tale, made of clay and conjured into life to protect the Jews from persecution.
During the discussion on CNN, Sciutto quoted these particular words of Spencer, describing them as “hate-filled garbage” against Jews, while the chyron at the bottom of the screen read: “Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people.”
“It was poor judgment and we very much regret it and apologize,” CNN said a statement on Tuesday.
The audience immediately poured on Twitter to voice their reactions over the caption.
Some took it with a healthy bit of irony…
*pinches self*— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) November 21, 2016
i’m real! i’m a person!
Hey @CNN I hope you solve this "Are Jews People?" debate sooner than you found that Malaysian plane.— Alison Leiby (@AlisonLeiby) November 21, 2016
But others were outraged beyond measure.
.@CNN Jews are people, you fucking clown town travesty of a network.— rob delaney (@robdelaney) November 21, 2016
we're real. and we're gonna be a HUGE pain in your ass, Nazis. pic.twitter.com/osshbJDdPI— ADAM ROSE (@RealAdamRose) November 21, 2016
There isn't a context that makes "Are Jews people?" an okay thing to say, kiddos.— Ian Karmel (@IanKarmel) November 21, 2016
Some, however, pointed out that the actual quote targeted the media and political commentators, not the Jewish people.
Spencer called political commentators soulless not Jews. What is CNN referring to? pic.twitter.com/olBCEUzwx0— Alex Pfeiffer (@PfeifferDC) November 21, 2016
Jake Tapper, the show’s main anchor, quickly commented on the chyron, calling it “unacceptable” and “abhorrent.” His words failed to reassure some viewers, however.
@SeanGibbons_ the chyron was abhorrent and I am trying to deal with it. Obviously I take responsibility but my being off is not irrelevant.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 22, 2016
Details of Spencer's meeting – where he was not the only one who expressed controversial views, and people in the audience gave Nazi salutes and chanted “Heil Trump!” – also sparked condemnation from viewers. Many called for CNN and others to drop the politically correct term “alt-right” and call Spencer’s movement “what it is – Nazis.”
Look, you can tell me not to take it seriously when a group of people in a Washington ballroom says "Hail Trump," but sorry.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 21, 2016
Pro tip @CNN - if they ask "are Jews people" then you can stop calling them "alt-right" and start calling them Nazis.— John Paul Davis (@youngkingrabbit) November 21, 2016
If they question if Jews are people; if they hold their hands out in a salute; if they scream 'Heil' ANYTHING-They are Nazis. Call them that— Joe Glass (@josephglass) November 21, 2016
Can we at least call those who "QUESTION WHETHER JEWS ARE PEOPLE" neo-Nazis, instead of using this euphemistic "alt-right" label?— Joshua Holland (@JoshuaHol) November 21, 2016
Spencer’s alt-right (Alternative Right) movement is a diverse assortment of Americans who identify as right-wingers but consider themselves opposed to mainstream American conservatism mostly due to its “liberal” tendencies. Many of its views are well known – for instance, that President Obama is of foreign birth, and that undocumented Hispanic immigrants, even their US-born children, should be deported.