People Lost Their Shit Because CNN Accurately Quoted the President of the United States

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Anytime something slightly controversial happens on television, one thing is for sure. Some pearl-clutching viewer out there who perhaps considers light twerking to be an assault on the institution of marriage, will take the time and effort to lodge a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (also known as the people who killed net neutrality) about it. FCC complaints are most entertaining when in response to events like, say, the Super Bowl half-time show, but with Donald Trump as president, things have taken a turn.


Back in January, at least 162 complaints were filed regarding President Trump’s infamous “shithole” comments, according to Politico, but here’s the thing: the complaints were not directed at Trump himself, but at outlets like CNN, for airing the word “shithole” uncensored. Incredible.

In case you missed it, back in January, President Trump reportedly demonstrated once again that the hellmouth is actually just his mouth when he referred to Haiti and a number of African nations as “shithole countries.” The remarks played out across media for what seemed like ages, which makes sense given their heinous and bigoted nature. And while Trump later denied having used the word “shithole,” multiple witnesses insisted he did use the word.


For the most part, CNN is not under the jurisdiction of the FCC because it is a cable channel, but that did not stop viewers from complaining about the channel repeatedly airing the word “shithole.” It did not matter that CNN was simply reporting on what the president said, and it definitely did not matter that Trump was using abhorrent language to express his own racism. Apparently, the real controversy was that CNN was using the president’s own words because it’s biased and just wants to take the president down. A sampling of some of the complaints, via Politico:

“They intentionally broadcast the word over 30 times to paint the President as a bigoted racist,” one person from Portland, Ore., complained two days after The Washington Post first reported that Trump said the word in a private meeting with lawmakers.

So close and yet so very far. The complaint continues:

“CNN is out of control and is attempting to completely undermine the President of the United States. CNN has overstepped their 1st Amendment rights and needs to be punished.”

One suggested most members of the media hate Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is “responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart.”

“i don’t care what the president said behind closed doors, he didn’t say it on my tv while kids were watching,” added another parent from Escondido, Calif. “The networks and news channels all did and should be fined.”

“I do not care if Jesus Himself dropped an F bomb in a CLOSED MEETING.”

There you have it. Jesus can say all the racist stuff he wants to so long as it’s in a closed meeting and no one else has to hear about it. Trump can also say all the racist stuff he wants to, but the moment CNN reports on it, it doesn’t count.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.

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