Domestic Affairs

CNN’s Two Minutes Hate

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in… The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck. The Hate had started. As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience… Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room… In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen…

The above is taken from George Orwell’s immortalized 1984, and while few would argue that this harrowing scene and CNN’s recent town hall surrounding the ever-ambiguous demand that “something” be done about gun control in the United States are fundamentally comparable, it is nevertheless alarming to note the unmitigated anger and passion on behalf of those spectators when Dana Loesch, in a levelheaded inquiry as to how Sheriff Israel’s department, after 39 calls made to the police about Nikolas Cruz over a seven year period, did not follow up with some level of detainment, is shouted down and booed. In the midst of this, moderator Jake Tapper looks on in silence. Worse still occurred when Emma González, before asking her question, implied that Dana, as a spokesperson for the NRA, must be ambivalent toward the life of her own children, saying, “Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that you will not…” In response to González’s question, amidst the clamor on behalf of the audience, one can discern, “You’re a murderer!”

Marco Rubio was by no means spared the political grandstanding that comprised the entirety of the town hall. Infamous for his 180-degree turns on a number of issues, including his run for re-election in the Senate in 2016 and slow crawl to the right on immigration policy since 2013, Rubio’s predictable softening on certain aspects of legislation was greeted with expeditious cheers, but no amount of pandering could deliver him from the cacophony of boos and jeers in response to the question of cessation of NRA donations to future campaigns: “The influence of these groups comes not from money, the influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda.” In perhaps the most egregious moment of intellectual and moral dishonesty of the night, Cameron Kasky brazenly equated Rubio to the deranged psychopath that gunned down seventeen of his peers: “Senator Rubio, it’s hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz.”

Thus, instead of a levelheaded and mutually respectful debate about gun control, CNN has chosen to put nearly half of the country on the defense, and imply that those responsible gun owners with handguns gathering dust in their bedroom safes are somehow morally bereft and directly akin to child murderers. We all as a nation mourn for the lives lost, but for many in this debate, any attempt to approach the table with anything less than a full-on “assault weapons ban” — nevermind the ambiguous definition of such weapons and the impracticality of such a ban, itself proposed and routinely defeated multiple times after the expiration of the AWB in 2004 — is merely a diminishment of the trauma of those affected, or at worst a full-throated war cry against high school children. The lust for immediate gratification that “something” be done trumps whether or not it does what it sets out to do. Do the impractical ends justify the means of trampling over the constitutional rights of millions of law-abiding gun owners? CNN seems to think so, even to the point of rendering the question itself tone deaf with a town hall that served no purpose other than to forcefully drive a moral wedge between an already woefully divided nation. In doing so, CNN casts all opponents of emotion as the principal catalysts for legislative change in the mold of Emmanuel Goldstein — to be mocked, scorned, and brow-beaten at every turn.

Categories: Domestic Affairs

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