CNN ‘Gotcha’ Interview Backfires

by Roger Resler

Every now and then I run into (or have) a conversation on abortion (I know, not a typical topic of conversation for normal folks) that – how do I put this… uh… makes my blood boil. Current Exhibit A: CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviews Presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio on the heels of the first Republican National debate of the 2016 Presidential race. During the debate, Fox’s Megyn Kelly (who is awesome, but, nevertheless) mischaracterized Rubio’s stance on abortion as allowing for exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

Rubio corrected the record, indicating his position on abortion does not now nor has ever included allowances for rape and incest. After hearing this exchange – and sensing Republican red-meat – the ever-vigilant yet under-performing CNN felt compelled to investigate the accuracy of Rubio’s claim and invited the unsuspecting Senator to appear on the network the following morning to clarify things. In other words: CNN was prepared to unleash a typical liberal “gotcha” interview on the topic of abortion with a high-profile Republican they view as a real threat to the Democratic status quo. Knowing that whenever abortion can be discussed within the context of rape and incest it’s a win-win for pro-choice liberals, how could CNN resist? They couldn’t.

Armed with undeniable evidence that Rubio had indeed voted for a bill that (gasp!) included: “a carve-out for rape and incest,” the ever-confident Cuomo, suggested that Rubio had his own record wrong and asked if that were something he’d like to correct. Unfortunately for Cuomo, that’s as far as the ‘gotcha’ part of Plan A went. Rubio noted that virtually every pro-life senator supported the bill in question, exceptions and all, (double-gasp!) and, for that matter, so did every major pro-life group because the bill prevents abortions. Oops.

Not willing to let a perfectly good ‘gotcha’ moment slip away, Cuomo shot back: “But it included the exception.” Rubio conceded the point and reminded Cuomo that, “Any bill that reduces the number of abortions is a bill that I’m going to support.”

Here, playing out in living color (see the video – here – thanks to the Blaze who I’d rather link to than CNN), is the classic rape-incest tactic pro-choice proponents are so fond of employing. ‘You say life begins at conception, so how can you support rape or incest exceptions?’ And on the flip side: “You don’t allow for rape or incest exceptions?? Barbarian!’ Like the race-card, it’s the same old song and dance they’ve been playing for decades. And for good reason – it usually works.

But Rubio was having none of it. In an admirable attempt to respond in good faith (as though the entire exchange thus far had merely been a case of Cuomo’s legitimate lack of understanding) Rubio suggested that Cuomo could: “Think about it this way. I’m in favor of a 20 week abortion ban. Does that mean I’m in favor of abortions at 19 weeks? No. Any bill that reduces the number of abortions is a bill that I’m going to support.”

Bam! So simple a caveman could understand it! This is where a reasonable journalist concedes to the water-tight logic, realizes his gotcha tactic didn’t work and moves on. Instead the now visibly agitated pro-choice proponent who also moonlights as an objective CNN anchor doubled down: “I don’t think it’s an analogy. But the bill did have that carve-out and you said you’ve never been near it.”

Really?! This is where I realize how much better a man Rubio is than me. Rubio had just finished explaining – and in rather simple and eloquent terms – that Cuomo was committing a basic non-sequitur fallacy wherein Cuomo’s desired conclusion doesn’t follow from his premise. In caveman terms: Just because one votes for an abortion bill that allows for rape and incest exceptions does not mean that one must advocate for those exceptions as part of his own stance on abortion.

Politics has been described as the art of compromise. Both Rubio and Cuomo understand that. Rubio voted for the bill because he – and every other pro-life senator and group – understood it was a reasonable compromise that would prevent abortions and had no chance of passing otherwise. That’s reality. The exception clauses had to be put in the bill in order to satisfy the other side of the PC rape-incest argument that cries “barbarian” without it. There’s no doubt Cuomo knows this (stay tuned). There’s no question about it. He’s not stupid. But he, like many other PC proponents, sees the whole tragic rape-incest phenomenon as the perfect means of forcing pro-life proponents into a no-win, catch-22 scenario.

Make no mistake about it. Cuomo and his PC cronies have no more compassion for rape and incest victims than do pro-life proponents like Marco Rubio. In fact, I suggest they have less compassion because they are the ones who are all too eager to exploit the tragedies of rape and incest simply to benefit their own political agenda – which is keeping abortion legal at any stage of pregnancy for any reason.

Want proof? Exhibit B: After failing to trap Rubio in what instead turned out to be his own non-sequitur fallacy, Cuomo predictably reverted back to plan B, which, in a nutshell, states that if your pro-life opponent admits to not allowing for rape and incest exceptions, suggest he’s holding on to a backwards, barbaric position: “But let’s take your position as you’ve presented it this morning. To not have a carve-out for rape and incest is also something that seems very backward looking in terms of the cultural mores that we have today. Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs even if you are pro-life?”

Blood boiling yet? Rubio, as usual, proceeded with poise and grace. Me? Not so much. This is the point where I need to take a break or I might say something I’ll regret later. My next blog entry will continue with analysis of this – shall we say – fascinating exchange.

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