CNN’s Brooke Baldwin to Colbert: I Don’t Want to Be ‘Word Police’ But Can’t Allow Liberal Protesters to be Called a ‘Mob’


Last week on CNN, news anchor Brooke Baldwin called a stop on guests Mary Katharine Ham and Matt Lewis for using the word “mob” – which Baldwin called “the m-word” – when describing the mob of liberal protesters outside the Supreme Court on the day of Justice Brett Kavanaugh‘s swearing-in ceremony. Last night on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert asked her about it.

Derisively claiming that Baldwin faced criticism from “the Twitter people” for her comment, Colbert said that “one of your guests called Democratic protesters ‘mob’, a ‘mob’, and you said we’re not going to use the “m” word around here.”

“I did, I did,” said Baldwin.

“You got a lot of flak for that,” Colbert continued. “What happened?”

“At the time the mob word had been this talking point for Republicans, from all up and down Capitol Hill in the wake of what had happened with Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh,” said Baldwin, rather revealingly. “So when he brought the mob word up again, I called him out.”

Baldwin predicated her objection based on the notion that this was a Republican “talking point,” assuming Colbert and the audience would find that self-evidently bad. In doing so, she somewhat undermined her closing thought in the segment.

Before that close, though, as a refresher, here is what Baldwin and her guests said at the time, as transcribed by Mediaite’s Josh Feldman:

“When you see people like Ted Cruz getting chased out of restaurants by a mob…” he started to say.

Baldwin then said, “Oh, you’re not going to use the mob word here.”

“It’s totally a mob,” Lewis said. “It is without a doubt. There’s no other word for it.”

“Stop, stop,” Baldwin responded. “A mob is what we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia two Augusts ago. A mob is not what we saw chasing––I’m not saying what they did was right.”

“What about the people who were at the Supreme Court banging on the walls?” Lewis asked. “What do you call that? Civil protest? Or is that a mob? I think it’s easily a mob.”

Ham added, “And if it were tea partiers, we’d call it a mob for sure. Come on, let’s be serious.”

Note that, contrary to the story Baldwin told Colbert, Lewis actually first brought up the word “mob” in relation to people harassing Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz in restaurants as they dine with their families. It’s been quite a news topic recently, and one Baldwin has covered, so it is odd that it slipped her mind.

Likewise, it should be noted that Lewis and Ham were making an actual case, not regurgitating a “talking point”, but Baldwin wouldn’t hear it, and refused to even say the word mob.

To Colbert, Baldwin claimed she didn’t want to police language, but was merely doing her job “irking” both sides.

“Listen, like, I don’t want to be the word police, and that was not my intention,” said Baldwin. “But I also believe in calling out talking points? And to hear him bring that up, I had to, I had to say something and, honestly, at the end of my day— like I’m sure you check your Twitter, too— and if I have irked the left and the right, then I’ve done my job.”

It’s not immediately clear how Baldwin irked “the left” that day, or which Democrat talking points she called out, nor did Colbert ask her about it. However, Baldwin has irked the left in the past, most notably after Samantha Bee used a word to which Baldwin also objected.

At that time, Baldwin lamented double standards. In the case of calling activists names, the double standard seems to persist. Unless “mob” can be seen as substantively different from “deplorables.” Or even, you know, a “mob.”

[Featured image via screengrab]

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