CNN faces backlash for video highlighting white congresswomen as impeachment leaders

CNN faces backlash for video highlighting white congresswomen as impeachment leaders
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A CNN story that highlighted a group of white congresswomen as “leaders on impeachment” is facing backlash, with critics quick to point out many members of Congress of color were among the first to push for impeachment. 

The story, published Saturday, concerned a group of what CNN calls “moderate” freshman House Democrats that switched their anti-impeachment views to back the House inquiry last week after the new allegations over the Ukrainian scandal. 

The five Democrats, Reps. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinHouse Dems introduce bill to fight social media disinformation Polls flash warning signs for Trump on impeachment Pelosi-backed group funding ads for vulnerable Democrats amid impeachment inquiry MORE (Mich.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerHouse Dems introduce bill to fight social media disinformation Bipartisan lawmakers who visited Syrian border slam Trump's 'rash decision' Pelosi-backed group funding ads for vulnerable Democrats amid impeachment inquiry MORE (Va.), Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillHouse Dems introduce bill to fight social media disinformation CNN faces backlash for video highlighting white congresswomen as impeachment leaders GOP ratchets up 2020 attacks as impeachment storm grows MORE (N.J.) and Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaPelosi-backed group funding ads for vulnerable Democrats amid impeachment inquiry Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year CNN faces backlash for video highlighting white congresswomen as impeachment leaders MORE (Va.), call themselves the “badasses” because they either served in the military or CIA, according to CNN.

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CNN credits the women as having “changed history by becoming unlikely leaders on impeachment.” 

The report directly compares them with “the squad,” the group of freshmen Democrats, all women of color, who have been among the most outspoken members of congress pushing for an impeachment inquiry. 

"None of us is ever going to get in a Twitter war with anyone else," Slotkin told CNN, in the interview with Dana BashDana BashCNN faces backlash for video highlighting white congresswomen as impeachment leaders Giuliani pulls out of event featuring Putin: reports Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE. "If we have a concern with someone, we're going to go right up and talk to them about it and we're not going to add unhelpful rhetoric to an already bad tone coming out of Washington.

Spanberger said “I don't think any of us want to be the loudest voice in the room. I just want to be one of the most effective”

Brittany Packnett, an activist and co-host of the “Pod Save the People” podcast, called the comparison with the fellow freshmen Democrats “coded racist rhetoric about women of color.” 

“Also the end of this video is some of the worst coded racist rhetoric about women of color. The (incorrect) juxtaposition of being ‘loud’ v ‘effective’... intimations of them being angry and rageful. But I’m sure plenty of their ‘moderate’ constituents loved it,” she tweeted.

Packnett also said the “scales” that CNN said the so-called “bad asses” tipped “wouldn’t have EXISTED without women of color doing the hard work and taking the hits.”

“Y’all coming in at the 11th hour to barely break a sweat and take credit is the most white feminist thing EVER,” Packnett tweeted. 

Eli Mystal, the executive editor of Above the Law, said the story gives the women credit for work other members have been doing. 

“This story is trash,” Mystal tweeted. “The story gives these women credit for leading impeachment when in fact they were late in the game followers. If not for the work of women of color, there would have been no impeachment movement for them to glom onto, a fact this story seems to forget

Members of “the squad,” Democratic Reps. Illhan Omar (Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Omar endorses Sanders presidential bid MORE (Mass.) have been backing an impeachment inquiry long before Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash Scrap House defense authorization provision benefitting Russia MORE (N.Y.) officially announced one last week. 

As was Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the first member of Congress to call for impeachment, and Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTrump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Climate finance must push net-zero emissions Trump impeachment efforts will haunt the next Democrat in the White House MORE (D-Texas), who has called for articles of impeachment several times. 

The women profiled in the CNN story called for impeachment last week in a Washington Post op-ed just ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, as most House Democrats started to come behind the inquiry. 

On Twitter, critics hit the story over ignoring the work congress members of color did and accused CNN of trying to “whitewash” history. Some, simply retweeted the story with the names of members who have been backing impeachment long before the women CNN highlighted as leaders.  

A spokesperson for CNN was not immediately available for comment.