CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Feigns Confusion About Pro-Life Position In Embarrassing Interview with Indiana AG
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill appeared on CNN to discuss the Supreme Court upholding one portion of his state’s 2016 abortion law but effectively striking down another, in a move which both he and host Alisyn Camerota agreed was “punting” on the issue. That was about the only thing the two agreed on, though.
Camerota dove right in after introducing the attorney general, briefly noting that it sounded like “a mixed decision,” before getting to the heart of what can only be described as a performance on her part.
“I’m just curious,” she said, affecting an exaggerated pose of being just gosh darn genuinely baffled by this thing about which she was hearing for the very first time. “Why would you want a family to have to have a child with a severe disability?”
To his credit, Hill responded seriously to the offensively phrased question about why anyone would want disabled children.
“Well, the issue that the general assembly faced was not with regard to the question you pose, it’s the question of the rights and consideration of the unborn child in terms of discriminatory actions of eliminating that opportunity at life,” said the attorney general, answering like an attorney. “Making a decision based solely on race or disability certainly is a discriminatory practice. And no decision in terms of whether or not to have a child should be based on that solely.”
“Solely” is one of those key words in a legal argument that explains how something that may be legally permissible under certain conditions may not be under other ones. For a non-legal example of why “solely” matters, imagine deciding when to urinate based solely on your need to do it, and not in any part on where you happen to be or who happens to be around.
Camerota, though, had committed to her performance, and continued playing at being just doggone flummoxed by this mysterious idea.
“But that confuses me,” she said, acting. “Because as you know there are lots of terminations of pregnancies based on the fact that there are severe abnormalities of a fetus. And so why would you take away the choice from a family?”
That was the best part of the show. “Why would you take away the choice” she says, as if this is the very first time the idea of abortion restrictions has ever come up in American politics. Whaaaat? You’re saying there are people AGAINST abortion? I’m confused!
If you use social media a lot, or have seen Jim Acosta talk ever, you are familiar with this performative substitution for argumentation. The idea, such as it is, is that by pretending to be completely dumbfounded by the other person’s position, you’re somehow exposing it for being absurd on its face. It’s a theatrical attempt to make a point by not making it, and in the hopes that the person to whom you are directing the charade won’t know how to respond.
The attorney general was not one of those people.
“Well it’s not a matter of taking away that choice. It’s a matter of making that decision solely on the basis of not wanting a child because the child doesn’t have a particular characteristic,” he said. “We have certainly examples every day of children who appear to have disabilities or concerns or problems, prenatal, that are born, and live very productive lives and families who support those children.”
“Yeah,” said Confusederota.
“So it’s a matter of whether or not it’s appropriate to use that as a sole basis,” he said, noting that SCOTUS hadn’t really offered a ruling on the law itself.
“I think you’re right that they punted it, but again I’m not–I don’t feel I’m getting an answer to my question,” said Camerota of her fake question.
“Why would families in Indiana,” she said, this time eschewing the earnest wish to understand act for the snotty fake chuckle routine. “Why would lawmakers in Indiana make them have to have a child with severe disabilities? How does that work? Why is that a good thing for the state of Indiana?”
The last line, “why is that a good thing,” was the closest yet to a real question, and therefore probably an accident. A good version of that question might have been something like: “this Indiana law means that a parent or parents who are presented with the devastating news that their child has a life-threatening or severely debilitating condition don’t have the option of terminating the pregnancy on that basis. Can you explain why the assembly believes that decision should be in the hands of the state?”
But “why are all these disabled children good for Indiana,” despite its appalling ableism, is apparently an adequate version of the singular point, for a CNN interview. Couched as it was in Camerota’s Oscar bid, though, it didn’t really have a chance at life.
Hill said again that the state was looking at the issue from “the standpoint of whether or not it’s appropriate to seek an abortion solely on the basis of a characteristic,” and Camerota again said it is about “severe abnormalities.”
“Why would lawmakers force parents to bring that child to fruition?” she said. Your argument is not going well, nor your confusion pose, if you’re resorting to the word “fruition.”
“The law doesn’t address issues with respect to severe abnormalities that would make a child un-viable,” Hill said again of “this particular statute.” Camerota disagreed again.
As Hill responded once more that the statute is about “discriminatory practices,” Camerota interrupted.
“Yeah but lots of families make that decision based on — Hold on a second. Lots of families do have to make that decision based upon finding out their children, that their fetus has a severe abnormality,” said Camerota, quickly correcting that Freudian slip.
This went on for some time, with the AG methodically answering in a near monotone, and Camerota periodically tilting her head sideways in a Scooby-Doo “ruh?” pose. Eventually, after all that, she circled back to the “but I’m confused” routine.
“So, just help me understand this,” she said. “If a woman goes in to a clinic in Indiana, if this Supreme Court decision hadn’t happened and had a child with severe disabilities she would not be able to terminate that pregnancy.”
“Each case is an individual case. The severe disabilities in terms of a particular characteristic has to be determined by each child. As I said before, this is not a matter in which a child is un-viable or a situation where the health of the mother is in question.”
Camerota said “Mr. Hill it just is,” added that the Supreme Court thinks it “doesn’t make any sense”, and then amazingly said the reason she brought him on was not, in fact, to put on a show, to advocate against that law and in favor of abortion, but, get this, “to get your concept on the motivations for why Indiana felt that way.”
The act continued when she pretended to thank him for joining them.
Watch above, via CNN.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.