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Tuesday, November 8, 2022
CNS Knowingly Pushes False GOP Narrative On Harris Remarks On Climate Change Aid

Susan Jones wrote in an Oct. 3 article:

On CBS's "Face the Nation," [FEMA Administrator Deanne] Criswell was asked to respond to Vice President Kamala Harris's comments about "equity" in the rebuilding process.

"It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and -- and impacted by -- by issues that are not of their own making," Harris told the Democratic National Committee's Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday.

"And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place."

CNS also pushed Republican attacks about Harris' comments the same day:

  • An article by Melanie Arter hyped that "Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said Sunday that he 'couldn’t disagree more' with Vice President Kamala Harris when she called for giving hurricane aid to communities of color first."
  • Another article by Arter stated that "Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent comments about giving hurricane aid 'based on equity' is 'the definition of discrimination,' and it’s “incredibly racist,' Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said on Sunday."

But that's not what Harris said -- and CNS knew it. Harris was actually talking about how to react to climate change, not Hurricane Ian, which was hitting Florida around the same time, and numerous fact-checkers agree that right-wingers were taking her remarks out of context to falsely portray them as being about hurricane aid.

How do we know that CNS knowingly misled about Harris' remarks? Because its fourth article of the day on this, also by Arter, blockquoted Harris' full remarks, which do indeed make clear she was talking about climate changed. Unfortunately, Arter started her article by parroting that false narrative yet again:

Vice President Kamala Harris suggested Friday that hurricane relief aid should be given “based on equity,” adding that “not everyone starts out at the same place” and that should be taken into account.

“And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work,” Harris said during a DNC chat last week.

The fifth and final article of the day, by Arter once again, seemed to be a bit of an apology devoted to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre correcting the record:

The White House on Monday said it is committed to getting resources to “all communities impacted” by Hurricane Ian, adding that Vice President Kamala Harris was not referring to “hurricane response efforts” but instead to “long-term investment.”

This comes in response to Harris’ comments during a Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday, in which she was asked about the administration’s hurricane response and addressing “the climate crisis.”

Not only did CNS did not go back and correct its earlier articles , Jones wrote one the next day that contyinued to push the false narrative:

The hurricane that devastated southwest Florida did not aim at any particular group of people. Rich and poor alike have been wiped out, but "they're ready to bounce back" with help from their government and their fellow Americans, Gov. Ron DeSantis told Sean Hannity Monday night.

DeSantis vowed to rebuild Florida's island communities; he supported the Second Amendment right of Floridians to defend themselves and their property; and he criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for politicizing the disaster by saying resources for hurricane victims should be given "based on equity."

"I think she's trying to play identity politics with a -- with a storm and a natural disaster. I think it's ridiculous," DeSantis said:

Even though Jones linked back to Arter's article fully quoting Harris' remarks, she still lied to her readers.

Arter served her own Oct. 4 article that tepidly tried to correct another Republican member of Congress, Kat Cammack, parroting the false narrative yet again:

“She needs to go back to the salad bar and rework her word salad as she has been known to do because she is absolutely out of line to suggest that aid after this disastrous once in 500 year storm is going to be based on equity or race or socio- economic status,” Cammack said.

“We're here for all Americans - not just Republicans or Democrats - all Americans. We're doing what good Americans do. We're responding to our friends and neighbors in need, and it is just disgusting they would try to politicize this just as they tried to do that last Friday when they sent $2 billion of FEMA money to the border. That is ridiculous - on the same day that hurricane Ian smacked my home state. It’s a real shame, Harris,” she said.

As previously reported, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday clarified Vice President Kamala Harris’ remarks on hurricane relief aid and the climate crisis, saying, “The vice president was clearly talking about long-term investment, not FEMA aid, for hurricane response efforts.” 

But that wasn't the lead of Arter's article -- correcting Republicans doesn't generate right-wing clicks for CNS, after all. That was dedicated to hyping Cammack declaring that "the White House needs to hire Mr. Clean as their spokesperson, 'because clearly all that job entails is cleaning up the mess of the president and the vice president'" -- even though the only actual cleanup that needed to be done was after Repubicans lying about what Harris actually said.

Putting false own-the-libs narratives ahead of reporting facts is a bad look for a website that purports to be a "news" organization.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST

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