Last Updated on September 11, 2019
CNN’s John Avlon drew parallels between ISIS and right-wing ideology, claiming both were proponents of political violence in a segment titled “Reality Check.”
As a New York Times headline titled “White Terrorism Shows ‘Stunning’ Parallels To Islamic State’s Rise” flashed on the television screen behind him, Avlon looked earnestly into the camera and reminded viewers of the real lesson of the 9/11 terrorist attacks: right-wingers are hateful and bad..
“Here’s a startling statistic,” Avlon said, “since 9/11 right-wing terrorists have killed more people in the United States than jihadist terrorists.”
CNN did not display the statistics referenced by Avlon on-screen, but National File was able to trace the source of that claim to center-left think tank New America.
The New America infographic lists a total of 104 deaths attributed to Islamist terrorism, and 109 deaths attributed to “far-right wing” actors. New America did not appear to distinguish between violent crimes involving right-wing people and orchestrated acts of political terrorism.
CNN has been excoriated online for using the eighteenth anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil as a rhetorical vehicle to drive home a political agenda.
“There are some folks who for their own political purposes would like to keep the focus on one form of political violence over another,” Avlon said, adding, “That would be unwise.”
The distinction between political violence and religious violence, such as the latter type practiced by Salafi Sunni militant groups like ISIS, appears to have been ignored altogether by the “Reality Check” host.
According to Adweek, CNN has suffered a precipitous decline in viewership over the course of the Trump administration’s first term, routinely placing behind rivals MSNBC and Fox News in prime time:
The bad news is that CNN continues to post more significant year-over-year losses than its competitors, and finished a distant third place behind Fox News and MSNBC in prime time. The network ranked No. 13 across basic cable in total prime time audience.
Compared to its July 2018 performance, CNN was -11% in total prime time viewers, -13% in total day viewers, -32% in the prime time demo, and -32% in the total day demo this month.
It remains to be seen if CNN’s Avlon will be hosting a “Reality Check” segment about the network’s dire straits in the ratings department.