CNN Criticized for Allowing 'Hands Up' on the Air

By Albert Lin

CNN is facing criticism from some corners of the Internet for allowing four if its commentators to show support during a Saturday broadcast for demonstrators protesting against the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand-jury decisions.

After running photos and videos of demonstrators in New York City and Washington, D.C., Sally Kohn said, “We want you to know that our hearts are out there marching with them.” Then she and cohosts Mel Robbins and Margaret Hoover put their hands upin the familiar Hands Up, Don’t Shoot posewhile their fourth cohost, Sunny Hostin, held up a sign that read “I CAN’T BREATHE.”

The criticism seems to stem from the fact that the show aired as part of CNN Newsroom, which usually delivers straight news rather than opinion. Joe Concha of Mediaite was particularly perturbed that the talking-heads segment, which made its debut on Nov. 1, is unnamed, leading viewers to believe that it is a news program.

“CNN needs to stop confusing its viewers by not specifically naming the program and billing it as editorial,” Concha wrote. “As a result of the show not labeling itself correctly, Twitter is now aflutter with tweets around “CNN standing with the protesters” that is compelling the aforementioned reactions both positive and negativeand, in the process, painting the stance as one that represents CNN as a whole.”

Scott Jones of FTVLive took issue with the four women sharing their point of view. “No longer can CNN claim themselves as a down the middle newscast with no bias,” he wrote. “When someone pointed out on Twitter that the move was in ‘poor taste,’ CNN contributor Margaret Hoover tweeted back that it was her idea to do the hands up pose. Now, at what point did’contributors’ at CNN start producing the show This was nothing short of an embarrassment for CNN and the network bosses should take action, unless of course the goal is to become the next MSNBC.”

Not everyone objected, however. Adam Mordecai of Upworthy wrote, “Seeing a group of opinionated pundits from both sides of the aisle taking an actual shared position on issues that aren’t often covered in a way that shows sympathy to victims is awesome. Having pundits behave like actual humans and not like walking talking points for political parties is also awesome. We should reward good behavior.”

And the group had its share of supporters on Twitter, some well known.

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