CNN's Burnett Dismisses 'Death to America' as 'Trope,' Not 'Seriously Meant'

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday's Erin Burnett Outfront, CNN host Erin Burnett tried to dismiss the "death to America" chants that Iran has been infamous for as just being a "trope" that is not "seriously meant" as she discussed President Donald Trump's Iran policy with Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner,

As the two discussed President Trump's recent claim that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani had been planning attacks on U.S. embassies, Burnett asked her guest if he had any concerns about Trump divulging classified information with the revelation. In his answer, Congressman Turner brought up the "death to America" chants:

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Even on your network, we've seen the video of the prior attack that's happened in Baghdad. We all watched the flames and the smoke that was boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there. So I don't think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatening, you know, Iran itself continues to have its entire parliament to chant "Death to America." It's not as if it's a surprise that Iran has been coordinating and targeting interests throughout the Middle East.

Burnett then jumped in to suggest the "death to America" chants are not really as a big a deal as they sound like:

BURNETT: I will say -- I will say I was in Tehran when they were chanting "Death to America" once. I was at a rally -- the people couldn't have been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a -- it felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that actually was seriously meant and considered. I understand your point, but, having been there myself, my experience was different.

The CNN host only backed down from her suggestion after her Republican guest pushed back:

REP. TURNER: Erin, your entire life, Iran … has chanted "Death to America." And they have taken actions against Americans, against American interests, in ways that are lethal, killing Americans, giving weaponry to people who have intentions to kill Americans. So it's not just a slogan -- this obviously is something Iran has systematically and continue to do. It's part of their seeking weapons of mass destruction and their claim to want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. These are real threats from the leadership of Iran even though I'm glad you had a safe and a warm response, people on the street may be different than those who are controlling their military.

Burnett then admitted: "And that is true."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, January 9, Erin Burnet Outfront on CNN:

ERIN BURNETT: Do you think that there's any possible negative or risk that comes from him (President Donald Trump) revealing information that obviously is classified about these embassy planned attacks? Do you think In any way that it's inappropriate?

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Even on your network, we've seen the video of the prior attack that's happened in Baghdad. We all watched the flames and the smoke that was boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there. So I don't think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatening, you know, Iran itself continues to have its entire parliament to chant "Death to America." It's not as if it's a surprise that Iran has been coordinating and targeting interests throughout the Middle East.

BURNETT: I will say -- I will say I was in Tehran when they were chanting "Death to America" once. I was at a rally -- the people couldn't have been more friendly to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a -- it felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that actually was seriously meant and considered. I understand your point, but, having been there myself, my experience was different.

REP. TURNER: Erin, your entire life, Iran pretty much your entire life, despite a few years, has chanted "Death to America." And they have taken actions against Americans, against American interests, in ways that are lethal, killing Americans, giving weaponry to people who have intentions to kill Americans. So it's not just a slogan -- this obviously is something Iran has systematically and continue to do. It's part of their seeking weapons of mass destruction and their claim to want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. These are real threats from the leadership of Iran even though I'm glad you had a safe and a warm response, people on the street may be different than those who are controlling their military.

BURNETT: And that is true.

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