CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said in a lengthy commentary that violent leftists Antifa — who gather in masked black-clad mobs and carry out beatings, riots, and property destruction — are "on the side of right" because their behavior, although criminal, is done in the name of stamping out hate.
Cuomo's message Monday came on the heels of violent Antifa demonstrations over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia — including attacks on police and journalists — marking the one-year anniversary of deadly riots there.
(Content warning: profanity):
“Fu** you, snitch ass news bitch. Fu** you”. #Charlotsville https://t.co/JPl3480FUG— Cal Perry (@Cal Perry)1534037535.0
There also was a counterprotest to the "Unite the Right" rally in Washington, D.C., which drew so few white supremacists that Antifa members again attacked police and journalists instead, the Washington Post reported.
(Content warning: profanity):
Members of Antifa clashed with police Sunday as the group marched in downtown D.C. [Warning: There is some profanit… https://t.co/YaPeG9MVY2— NBCWashington (@NBCWashington)1534117300.0
Cuomo said Antifa's violence was "wrong" legally — but not "morally." Then noting the "spin" he's seen on the issue that's become "kind of sickening" to him, Cuomo gave his audience what could be argued was his own spin on Antifa.
"When you use your hands in a violent way, you are a rioter ... a thug, a criminal," he said. "You attack cops, you slap the media, you are in the wrong, period."
But alas, his "period" — that punctuation mark ending a thought, and here supposedly sealing up objective truth — was short lived.
'All punches are not equal, morally'
You see, Cuomo added another sentence: "But I argue to you tonight all punches are not equal, morally."
"In the eyes of the law, yes," he continued. "But in the eyes of good and evil, here’s the argument: If you’re a punk that comes to start trouble in a mask and hurt people, you’re not about any virtuous cause. You’re just somebody who's gonna be held to the standard of doing something wrong."
Then — parroting Antifa's oft-stated cause — Cuomo threw down: "But when someone comes to call out bigots, and it gets hot, even physical, are they equally wrong as the bigot they are fighting? I argue no. Fighting against hate matters. Now, how you fight matters, too, there’s no question about that. But drawing a moral equivalency between those espousing hate and those fighting it because they both resort to violence emboldens hate, legitimizes hateful belief, and elevates what should be stamped out."
He added that Antifa "is also wrong to hit, but fighting hate is right. And in a clash between hate and who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”
Cuomo also ripped President Donald Trump over his reaction to the deadly Charlottesville riots last year, saying it's "wrong to create a moral equivalency" between white supremacists and Antifa.
'What you are about is wrong, and fighting you is right'
That's why people who show up to fight against bigots are not to be judged the same as the bigots. Even if they do resort to the same kinds of petty violence. The law will take care of that. How you disagree matters. We should be our best. But I am arguing that Trump was wrong to create a moral equivalency between bigots and those who oppose them, making them equal wrongs. Those hateful few who take solace and encouragement from the president’s efforts, my message to you is simple: Be aware: There are many more of us who see you as unequal, as less than. And you will be opposed at every turn. Because what you are about is wrong, and fighting you is right.
This writer's perspective
Among his missteps, Cuomo conveniently ignored the glaring elephant in the room: If Antifa members actually came to D.C. and Charlottesville over the weekend to fight fascism, to fight hate — if their core value is silencing white supremacists — then what were they doing attacking police officers and journalists?
Could it be that Antifa — at its core — is actually about something not so virtuous? And that its members aren't guided by some beatific code of honor that Cuomo tried to prop up with his emotional treatise?
It's also telling that in a time when news organizations are screaming to the rafters that Trump has put journalists' lives in danger by calling out their biases, Cuomo glossed over actual, physical violence Antifa carried out against his colleagues over the weekend.
Furthermore, it could be argued that Cuomo's commentary just emboldened Antifa and their brazen violence and lawlessness. Not that it matters — as long as the right people get pummeled.
What exactly is your morality, Chris? You talk about good fighting evil — but according to whose definition? Yours?
Oh, if any of this isn't enough, The Hill astutely reminded us that Cuomo last year likened Antifa to the allies who landed in Normandy on D-Day to fight Nazis:
Let's not forget https://t.co/q5wjVmZylR— Christopher C. Cuomo (@Christopher C. Cuomo)1502891953.0
It's curious that Cuomo has no problem establishing a moral equivalency between Antifa and the allies — he should try that out on some families of World War II veterans — but has a huge problem with a moral equivalency between Antifa and white supremacists.
Could it be that Antifa is about hate, too, Chris? If you don't think so, by all means get out there and interview them next time they start a riot on a street near you.