Dan Abrams on Interview With CNN’s Brianna Keilar: ‘I Ended Up Feeling Bad For Her’
On his SiriusXM radio show Friday, Mediaite founder Dan Abrams reacted to a heated back-and-forth he had with CNN’s Brianna Keilar Thursday over A&E’s decision to cancel Live PD, which Abrams hosted, saying that he “ended up feeling bad for her” and questioning if she had ever actually watched the show.
During Keilar’s program, Abrams began by offering his frustration over Live PD’s cancellation, saying “I thought there was a way to have a national discussion on this show about policing.” He also emphasized the “huge difference” between Live PD and the “crazy” highlight reels aired on shows like Cops.
Keilar questioned Abrams over the destruction of video that showed Javier Ambler being killed by police in Texas. Abrams agreed that it should have been saved but that Live PD enacted the policy of not retaining video to avoid “becoming an arm of law enforcement” trying to prosecute citizens. “The video was retained for three months per the request of Williamson County,” Abrams said, “They said they were investigating it. They asked Live PD to hold onto it while that happened. They did that and then informed Live PD the investigation was over. That was a year ago.”
“Looking back on it, do I wish that Live PD retained it?” continued Abrams. “Yeah. Do I wish there’s more exceptions to the rule that was in place? Yeah. But the policy was in place for exactly the opposite reason that many people are suggesting now.”
Keilar and Abrams then got into a heated exchange where she accused the show of making edits and not “show[ing] the whole story,” although she did not give any specific examples of that happening. Abrams pointed out that news shows and documentaries make editorial decisions all the time about what to air.
On his radio program, Abrams reiterated his previous comments regretting the cancellation of Live PD.
“I think that, moving forward would have been a great place to showcase not picking sides,” said Abrams, “and saying OK, things need to change, including the show as a result of what we’re seeing.”
Abrams said that he did a number of interviews about the show’s cancellation, and fully expected to get “legitimate, tough questions,” including the one with Keilar, for whom he expressed admiration.
“But, as the interview went on, and she was trying to attack the show, and attack me, I started to feel bad — for her — because it sure seemed like she’s never seen it.”
“After the interview, there were a few CNN-related contributors who went after me and celebrated, ‘Oh, Brianna Keilar really stuck it to him!'” Abrams continued, encouraging listeners to watch the interview so that they could see that “she clearly came in and had made a decision that the show was bad.”
Abrams added that he was well accustomed to doing interviews, to both asking and answering questions, “but I’m not that accustomed to, you know, what feels like personal attacks, and it was a reminder to me, of how some people feel in the media –right? — when they’re attacked.”
“But I’m a big boy, and you know, I came out of this interview kind of feeling bad for her, not because she’s not good at what she does, but because it felt like she had gotten a series of talking points and had never seen the show.”
“I should have asked the question, ‘Have you ever seen the show?'” said Abrams, but did not because he “was trying not to be that confrontational and antagonistic.”
Listen to the segment here:
Immediately after Abrams’ interview Thursday, Keilar’s next guest was actor Sean Penn, who came on after the break following Abrams’ segment and called Abrams a “used car salesman, selling everything and saying nothing about what’s going on in the country right now.”
Abrams addressed Penn’s comments on his radio program as well, laughing off Penn’s insults, and retold an encounter he had with Penn years ago at a restaurant in New York City, where Penn came up to to him during his meal: “Congratulations on thousands dead in Iraq,” an apparent response to Abrams’ criticism of Penn’s “counterproductive and dangerous theatrics” leading up to the war in Iraq.
Listen to the segment here:
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