On Tuesday afternoon, CNN showed a video of white supremacists giving the Nazi salute and called Breitbart News “the most prominent platform” for the Nazi salute and for “the white supremacists in this country.”
In the same segment, CNN contributor Charles Kaiser claimed falsely that Stephen K. Bannon is “a man who uses the word nigger.”
Bannon has never been accused of using that word before, nor is there any evidence that he has done so. The statement was, plainly, a lie.
Bannon is on leave as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, and was recently appointed by President-elect Donald J. Trump as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor.
Kaiser used the “N-word” itself on live television, in a debate with former White House official Paris Dennard, a Trump supporter who happens to be black, and took offense at the word. Kaiser cited no source for his claims.
Indeed, according to the Washington Post, Kaiser later apologized — it is not clear to whom — for misattributing the “N-word” to Bannon.
Later in the CNN debate, Baldwin asked Dennard: “But what about Steve Bannon, Paris, to Charles’s point, and Breitbart, the most prominent platform for what we just showed, you know, the video we just showed, the Nazi salute, the while supremacists in this country. Are you okay with having Steve Bannon as the chief strategist at the White House, Paris?”
Breitbart News has never showed the video of the Nazi salute, which ran at The Atlantic and other sites. Nor has Breitbart News ever associated with white supremacists. In fact, earlier on Tuesday, the Daily Beast had reported that Breitbart News had “excoriated” a white nationalist who had reached out to the site.
Trump had no reported connection with the group in the video, and later disavowed its support explicitly.
Despite her false claims linking Breitbart to the Nazi salute video and white supremacists, Baldwin appeared shocked by the language Kaiser had used on air.
After Kaiser used the “N-word,” Baldwin responded: “Charles, hang on a second. I appreciate you going through all of this, but please don’t use the ‘N-word’ on my show.”
Kaiser replied: “I’m sorry, well, I never use the ‘N-word’ except when I’m quoting someone who’s been appointed by the president to serve in the Oval Office, and since this is such a disgusting moment in our history.” Kaiser cited no source for his claim, and Baldwin did not challenge him at that time.
When Dennard had a turn to speak, Kaiser interrupted him repeatedly as he defended Trump, Bannon, and Breitbart.
After Dennard defended Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), whom Trump has selected to be Attorney General, Kaiser launched an explicitly racist attack.
“I think it’s shameful any African-American would support this man to be Attorney General,” Kaiser told Dennard.
Dennard replied: “Sir, you don’t know why — you know what? I don’t question your allegiance to the people you support. I will tell you why I support Mr. Trump, who’s the President-elect, because I think he’s going to do good things for this country and particularly good things for my community.”
At that, Baldwin ended the debate — but offered a tearful conclusion, straight to camera:
“The more I’ve sat here and listened to the fact that somebody used the ‘N-word’ –(sigh) it is not okay. It is not okay, Charles Kaiser. I respect you, I enjoy having you as a guest — but not okay. By the way, the claim that Mr. Bannon used the ‘N-word,’ I’ve never heard of this, so there’s that. Take a break.”
Reached after the interview by Breitbart News, Dennard said: “I was shocked, because I think the utilization of that word is highly offensive, even if you’re allegedly quoting somebody else.”
Dennard added: “I appreciate the fact that Brooke immediately said that was inappropriate and should never be said on the show. She emailed me afterward and apologized.”
No such apology was forthcoming to Breitbart News for the false claim that Breitbart is “the most prominent platform for what we just showed, you know, the video we just showed, the Nazi salute, the while supremacists in this country.”
On Kaiser’s racist comment towards him personally, Dennard said:
“I do not appreciate people who attack me for supporting Trump because I’m African-American. Because the President-elect has never said anything disparaging about the black community. If anything, he has been championing the least of these, in our community, who need the most attention — those who are suffering economically, those who are suffering under failed education systems.”
As Breitbart News has previously noted, neither Breitbart nor Bannon supports “white nationalism.”
In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Bannon said: “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist.”
In addition, Kimberly A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal quoted Bannon in a recent interview:
I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy. And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors. I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”
Yet CNN has persisted with its outrageously false claims, as it did again on Tuesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.