Reporter April Ryan, a political analyst for CNN, is being condemned for suggesting on Thursday that journalists should not expose contradictions between what Joe Biden says privately and what he says publicly.
Ryan’s comments came after The Intercept obtained and reported on leaked audio of Biden admitting that Republicans “beat the hell out of” Democrats during last month’s election for generally embracing the “defund the police” agenda.
The Biden transition team later defended the remarks, despite the comments rebuking the progressive vision for criminal justice reform.
What did Ryan say?
In response to the leaked audio, Ryan suggested the real story behind the remarks is why they were leaked.
“The question is who leaked this and why? Also I am told by a rights leader in that meeting that @JoeBiden was being more so passionate than defensive. Can’t wait to hear what the Biden camp has to say!” Ryan tweeted.
The question is who leaked this and why? Also I am told by a rights leader in that meeting that @JoeBiden was being more so passionate than defensive. Can’t wait to hear what the Biden camp has to say! https://t.co/KNQAmE6tZl
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) December 10, 2020
Ryan later doubled down on that sentiment, again questioning why Biden’s comments were leaked.
“I asked an incoming White House source was the meeting contentious with civil rights leader and @JoeBiden and the answer was ‘no’. A rights leader at the meeting says @JoeBiden was passionate. The question is who taped this meeting and why? What is the agenda?” Ryan said.
What was the reaction?
Vice journalist Edward Ongweso Jr. highlighted the absurdity of Ryan’s response to the leaked audio by mocking her reaction.
It is irresponsible and sets a dangerous precedent for journalists covering the incoming administration to be able to use secretly recorded conversations in their stories. To parse out Biden’s thoughts and anticipate his policy commitments, you must go through proper channels. The White House Press Secretary, the spokespeople for the President and Vice President, senior officials (without attribution), and the President’s public statements are all designated and responsible sources for information about the President’s thoughts and intentions. Revealing a contradiction between Biden’s private thoughts and public statements is dangerous because it erodes public trust in the President, the Office, and the media itself.
Ryan, however, apparently did not understand that she was being mocked, replying, “You hit the nail on the head! This is not good at all.”
folks…I can’t pic.twitter.com/9JaA27rdhV
— Edward Ongweso Jr (@bigblackjacobin) December 11, 2020
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School and self-described “liberal,” also tore into Ryan, calling her reaction to the leaked audio something that “would make a Stalinist propagandist blush.”
“The fact is that Ryan was just stating what has become the approach of many in the media. As we recently discussed, we are moving dangerously close to a de facto state media with the cooperation of Big Tech companies,” Turley wrote. “Ryan believes that it is outrageous to rely on unapproved material if it is critical of Joe Biden (despite her use of such material for the last four years against Trump).”