By Jonathan Turley
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has caused another stir by suggesting that the millions of Trump supporters may require a “formal deprogramming” in a CNN interview. It was a moment clearly enjoyed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who previously suggested that the FBI should have stopped Trump from making certain campaign statements. Even former FBI Director James Comey balked at Amanpour’s suggested censorship. Now, Amanpour has clearly found a kindred spirit.
My concern over the comment is less whether Hillary Clinton is serious. (I really do not know). I am more concerned by the continued reckless rhetoric from national leaders. I previously objected to other comments by Trump. Yet, the media rarely applies the same level of scrutiny to such comments or personal attacks from figures on the left.
Discussing the recent vacating of the position of the Speaker by all of the Democrats and eight Republicans, Clinton said that Democrats had to groom selected Republicans while treating the rest as sick cultists:
“[S]adly, so many of those extremists, those MAGA extremists take their marching orders from Donald Trump, who has no credibility left by any measure. He’s only in it for himself. He’s now defending himself in civil actions and criminal actions. And when do they break with him? Because at some point, you know, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members, but something needs to happen.”
It appears that the “basket of deplorables” are now a cabal of cultists due to “emotional, psychological needs and desires.”
Amanpour was clearly bemused by the suggestion, but the combination of the two is chilling for those of us concerned about free speech in this age of rage. Many countries have historically treated dissenters as mentally ill or requiring reeducation.
The media has long embraced the need to educate the public to accept its views. Former President Barack Obama joined a number of journalists in discussing how to reeducate the public. Obama denounced “anger-based journalism” while promoting an advocacy-journalism model in which the media shape the news for citizens who supposedly need help to properly frame ideas.
The fact that Amanpour elicited these comments only magnified the unease over the underlying intolerance for opposing viewpoints. In an interview with James Comey, Amanpour pressed Comey on why the FBI did not “shut down” President Donald Trump’s “hate speech” during the 2016 presidential election.
Comey correctly pushed back on Amanpour by noting that she was suggesting something grossly improper and unconstitutional: “That’s not a role for government to play. The beauty of this country is people can say what they want even if it’s misleading and it’s demagoguery.”
Neither CNN nor Amanpour ever addressed a CNN host suggesting the use of the FBI to shutdown political debate.
Now, however, Amanpour has found a leader who is willing to treat political opponents as sick cultists. The sense of smug superiority is precisely why Hillary remains one of the least popular political figures in America. What is ironic is to watch Amanpour and Clinton denounce the right for reckless rhetoric and anti-democratic sentiments as they voice intolerant and inflammatory views.
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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.