ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

CNS' Nitpicky War on Kamala Harris

Just as it did to President Biden, took the vice president's words out of context to make her look ridiculous, obsessed over the words she said -- and even lied about a claim she made.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/3/2023

Susan Jones

President Biden was not the only Democratic figure loved to nitpick -- Vice President Kamala Harris got the same treatment of being quoted out of context with the goal of making her look bad or incompetent. One early example was a March 2021 article in which Craig Bannister ranted in that "Democrat [sic] Vice President Kamala Harris condemned 'populism' as a threat to democracy on Monday, including it, along with coronavirus and climate change as the three greatest crises threatening the world today," adding:
However, populism is actually more of a component, rather than a threat, to democracy, since it is dedicated to the best interests of the common people, not the elitists, according to Merriam-Webster’s definition of “populist”:


Antonyms for populist include "snob" and "snoot," and antonyms for "populism" include "elitism," "repression" and "exclusivity."

CNS had a bit of a thing about Harris occasionally listing her pronouns. After she was named Biden's vice presidential candidate, an anonymously written August 2020 article repeated a year-old YouTube video in which she identified "which pronouns she prefers to be referred to by" at a gathering of transgender activists -- which seems like exactly the thing you'd want to do. When she did it again in July 2022, Craig Bannister had a fit:

On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced her preferred pronounces and chosen gender when introducing herself at a roundtable meeting.

At an event commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Harris made her declaration:
"I am Kamala Harris, my pronouns are she and her, and I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit."
Republicans were quick to mock the vice president’s politically-correct assertion, given that so many Democrats have had trouble providing a definition of what constitutes a “woman,” even when testifying before Congress.

Bannister was too into parroting the lazy smear that he refused to tell his readers that Harris was following a request to share those details -- this was a conference on disabilities, after all, which included some who were visually impaired -- and that all speakers similarly identified their gender, pronouns and dress.

CNS also spent the past year cherry-picking Harris remarks it thinks it can exploit for maximum smear and mockery (not to mention clicks) -- even tying the two together in one post claiming she was having a "Biden moment":

And just as it did with Biden, CNS also obsessed over certain words Harris says or doesn't say. Bannister pedantically complained in a Jan. 23 article:

In a pro-abortion speech decrying last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Vice President Kamala Harris omitted the right to life being endowed by the Creator when she quoted the Declaration of Independence.

Speaking at a nightclub and concert venue called The Moon on Sunday, Harris invoked the Declaration while attempting to frame abortion as a right:
“So we are here together because we collectively believe and know America is a promise. America is a promise. It is a promise of freedom and liberty — not for some, but for all.

“A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence: that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
However, according to the Declaration of Independence, “life” is also an inalienable right – and Americans possess all three rights because they are “endowed by their Creator”:

CNS never applied this same standard of nitpickiness to Donald Trump or Mike Pence.

False attack on Harris

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 change. 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, being 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 continued 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 up 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 Republicans 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.

Immigration and elections

Because immigration is part of Harris' portfolio as vice president, CNS repeatedly attacked her on the issue. It repeatedly attacked her for supposedly not making a trip to the southern border quickly enough for anti-immigration activists, and it touted a temper tantrum by Republicans who threatened to block Harris from all international travel until she visited the border. But when she did visit the border, CNS of course attacked that too, first framing it as being done to undercut a visit by Donald Trump the following week, then repeating right-wing attacks that she would not be seeing things the migrant-haters demand she see.

A June 2022 article by Bannister repeated a claim by the Border Patrol Union that the Biden administration "falsely accused" Border Patrol agents on horseback of "whipping Haitian illegal immigrants," adding, "Biden and Harris lie, law enforcement careers die." But neither Bannister nor the union cited evidence that Harris, Biden or anyone in the administration actually claimed that. Bannister went on to uncritically quote a Fox News report claiming that "ABC, CBS and NBC pushed the debunked claim that Border Patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants" -- but as ConWebWatch has documented, that's simply not true.

A July 2022 article by Susan Jones was filled with right-wing attacks on Harris' proposal to offer a "pathway to citizenship" to migrants -- but Harris was not given an opportunity to respond to her critics. In  September, Jones huffed after Harris argued that the border was secure: "Neither Harris nor President Biden have witnessed the daily flood of foreigners streaming illegally over the southwest border, although Harris did visit an immigration processing Center in El Paso, Texas in June 2021." Editor Jerry Jeffrey followed up with a column attacking Harris for making that claim while gushing over Donald Trump's record on immigration:

Did CBP fail to encounter any watchlisted individuals in 2019 because the Trump administration was less aggressive about securing that border?

Or have 66 been caught this year because the Biden administration has sent a signal to the world that the border is not as secure now as it was three years ago and, thus, has inspired watchlisted individuals to try sneak in?


In just the first ten months of this fiscal year (October through July), CBP has encountered 1,946,780 illegal border- crossers.

The Biden administration is setting another record for the number of illegal border-crossers encountered by CBP.

This is what Vice President Harris calls a "secure border."

More attacks followed:

When Harris repeated her call for a pathway to citizenship and accused Republicans of not wanting to fix immigration, Jones sneered in an October 2022 article that "Harris and Biden have largely ignored the immigration crisis altogether, as we end a record-breaking year for "encounters" of illegal immigrants." When Harris pointed out how Republican governors treat migrants like political pawns by busing them to be dumped outside the vice presidential residence in Washington, D.C., Jones huffed in response: "There's no record of Harris meeting, or even greeting, the migrants -- moms and sleeping babies -- dropped off at her doorstep." Jones showed no similar concern for those "moms and sleeping babies" who were forced onto a bus to travel hundreds of miles in the first place because Republican governors want to own the libs.

CNS was also not happy with Harris opining on voting rights. Jones used a July 2021 article to complain that Harris promoted a get-out-the-vote effort by the "Democrat National Committee" (Jones frequently deliberately got the name of the DNC and Democratic Party wrong in an own-the-libs move, which violated basic journalistic principles), first complaining that "Democrats, pleased with the record turnout that gave them control of all three branches of government in 2020, are determined to retain relaxed, pandemic-induced election rules that may make it easier to vote, but also make it easier to cheat," though she offered no evidence there actually was increased cheating in 2020.

When Harris spoke about increasingly restrictive voting laws some states were enacting, Jones raged in a January 2022 article:

Speaking in Washington on a day dedicated to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris perpetuated the Democrat line that Republicans want to make it harder for Americans, especially African-Americans, to vote.

She said as many as 55 million Americans "could" find it "more difficult" to cast a ballot.

Harris did not say where she got the number "55 million," which apparently comes from a USA Today "analysis."

The newspaper noted that "55 million eligible voters live in states with new 'anti-voter' laws limiting access."

Of course, that doesn't mean 55 million people will find it more difficult to vote. But in the current political environment, fiction matters more than fact and emotion matters more than logic.

Of course, right-wing claims of rampant voting fraud being used to justify such laws are emotional fiction, but Jones won't tell you that.

Nitpicking until the end

That negative coverage of Harris continued until CNS was shut down in April. A March 7 article by Melanie Arter carried to misleading clickbait headline "VP Harris: ‘Why Are Conservatives Bad, Mommy?’"

During a conversation on climate on Monday in Colorado, Vice President Kamala Harris said that as a child, she mistook conservationists with conservatives, which she thought were “bad.”

The vice president was asked how her life shaped her work on climate and the environment.


“In fact, I’m going to share with you a very simple story, which is that I went home one day, and I said, “Well, what’s — why are conservatives bad, Mommy?” Because I thought we were supposed to conserve things. I couldn’t reconcile it. Now I can,” she said, laughing.

Susan Jones devoted a March 16 article to complaining about a TV interview Harris did:

In a lengthy interview with the "Late Show's" Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris called it "inhumane" for states to pass pro-life laws; she touted U.S. boldness and leadership on climate change; she called Joe Biden a "true partner" and an "extraordinary leader"; and at the very end of the interview, she explained why she loves the United States.

An anonymously written article the next day grumbled that Harris didn't hate a gay foreign official:

Leo Varadkar, the gay Taoiseach—or prime minister—of Ireland, celebrated St. Patrick Day's with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris by attending a breakfast convened at the Vice President’s official residence in Washington, D.C.

Harris concluded her introduction of Varadkar by toasting him and his partner, Matthew Barrett. “I will now raise a glass to toast the Taoiseach, Mr. Barrett, and all of you on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “Cheers.”

The anonymous writer reminded us that "St. Patrick, who was born in Scotland in 387, was commissioned by Pope Celestine I in the fifth century to focus on converting the people of Ireland to the Catholic faith" -- as you'd expect from the more-Catholic-than-the pope folks who ran CNS -- then gratuitously called Varadkar a "gay Taoiseach" again, as you expect from a "news" organization run by a deeply homophobic managing editor.

Another anonymously written article, on April 7, grumbled about Harris' support for abortion rights:

Vice President Kamala Harris this Holy Week put out a statement criticizing pro-life elected officials for seeking to “undermine and attack reproductive freedom."

In doing so, Harris pointed to Tuesday’s election in Wisconsin, where voters elected a pro-abortion judge to the state’s Supreme Court.

CNS' final attack on Harris came on April 18, when Jones began an article this way:

At a march for reproductive rights in Los Angeles on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris (who uses the pronouns she/her) blasted the U.S. Supreme Court for taking away a "constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America."

That, of course, is a reference to a previous CNS attack on Harris over pronouns. Jones went on to complain about other statements by Harris, framing one by using "transgenders" as a noun:

She defended the right to abortion and "the rights of women" specifically. She also mentioned "the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are," an apparent reference to transgenders.

Harris touted her world travels, saying every time she goes to a new country, "I'll meet with women to talk with them about how they’re doing. Because I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy.

"So, when they dare attack the rights of women, understand, for all of you who are watching, who walk around wearing those lapel pins, requiring that people look at you with some level of respect: When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America. All of this is at stake."

Some Americans view transgenderism as an attack on women's rights, particularly when biological men, with their innate physiological advantages, participate in biological women's sports.

After Harris referenced "the next generation of the people who will help lead and fight in this movement for freedom and liberty based on our love of our country," Jones sneered, "For the record, Harris included herself in 'the next generation' of leaders."

Two days later, CNS was shut down.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2023 Terry Krepel