CNN Sides With Protesters—Will They Care?

Talking heads on both sides of the aisle did something rare Saturday: They sided with protesters.
CNN contributors Margaret Hoover, Sally Kohn, Sunny Hostin, and Mel Robbins during a news segment on Saturday. (Photo: @Shaya_in_LA/Twitter)
Dec 13, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Many protesters have accused the media of sensationalizing the movement against police violence—zooming in on the images of violence and flames while ignoring more peaceful demonstrations. But an unusual show of solidarity with the peace movement by four CNN hosts is garnering positive steam online.

On Saturday, CNN contributors Margaret Hoover, Sally Kohn, Sunny Hostin, and Mel Robbins ended an afternoon segment covering the nationwide marches by taking up the gesture and slogan that have defined current protests: putting their hands up, a nod to what has been the rallying cry of protesters across the U.S. since the death of Missouri teen Michael Brown, and holding a sign that read “I can’t breathe”—Eric Garner’s last words.

“We want you to know that our hearts are out there marching with them,” said Kohn, as Hostin held up the sign.

Users have been tweeting snapshots of the moment, including TV producer Shonda Rimes, who said, “Inspired to see @cnn opinion voices speaking out—on left and right.”

Robbins, a CNN legal analyst (seated on the far right), who has said on the cable network that “there was no case” against Darren Wilson, tweeted:

When one Twitter user said that CNN was “getting pulled to the left today,” Hoover (seated on the far left) responded:

Some protesters have been less than impressed with CNN’s coverage of the Brown and Garner cases. While reporting on the ground, CNN got pushback during a number of live segments, with protesters yelling expletives at correspondents. In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon from the streets of Ferguson, Mo., in August, musician Talib Kweli criticized the way the press has been covering the protests:

One media blip doesn’t quell all the complaints.

“Part of the work of this movement is the visibility, and in the process, part of that is to hold the media accountable for coverage,” Rashad Robinson, executive director of the organization Color of Change, told TakePart after marching in New York City on Saturday.

It’s hard to say if the Saturday hosts’ show of support changes anything, because Robinson believes it’s important to look at media coverage more holistically.

“This is not about moment to moment. This is about the coverage about the whole, and the story that’s being told to America,” he said. “Whether it’s fair, accurate, and inclusive of the viewpoints of those most impacted. That’s how we’re going to judge this. Not by one incident.”

Rev. Jamal Bryant, a pastor at the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, isn’t entirely sold on the hosts’ actions either. Still, Bryant—who marched along with Rev. Sharpton and the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in Washington, D.C., on Saturday—thinks it’s a good sign.

“It just reflects that the movement has gone mainstream,” Bryant said. “Even anchors are participating.”