The tragic events that took place on three consecutive nights, leading to the deaths of two African-American men and five Dallas law enforcement officers has sparked subsequent protests and bitter comments from both sides of the political aisle. One of the more heated verbal confrontations took place on July 10 during the CNN weekly program, “Reliable Sources.”
The show featured a debate between conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, who hosts a show on Glenn Beck’s media outlet, The Blaze, and David Zurawik, media critic for the Baltimore Sun. At issue was a tweet that Lahren had posted in the immediate aftermath of the Dallas shootings before then quickly deleting it.
Lahren’s tweet compared the controversial group Black Lives Matter (BLM) to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), writing that BLM’s stated quest for equality was misleading. Her implication was that the group was more interested in causing the type of violence that the KKK has been notorious for throughout its lengthy history.
When asked about her opinion of BLM on the show, Lahren began by saying that the group’s original intentions were good. However, subsequent actions in the wake of the riots that took place in Ferguson are in direct contrast to that message.
Zurawik then followed by saying that the changing media landscape now means that the standards that once prevented unsubstantiated information from being published have been eliminated, specifically citing social media.
Lahren then took issue with the idea that individuals who make controversial remarks should not be allowed to defend themselves. The basis for that comment was a reference to former congressman Joe Walsh’s controversial tweet that was perceived by many people as a threat against President Obama. Walsh had been interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon on July 8 in response to that tweet.
After indicating that she had requested similar treatment from outlets that had criticized her for her BLM tweet, Lahren then engaged in her conflict with Zurawik, who accused her of going too far with her remark.
Lahren shot back by saying that was only Zurawik’s opinion, which then caused him to criticize The Blaze for not addressing the issue, saying that the comment was “reckless.” He also criticized the tweet from a journalistic perspective.
Clarifying that she was a commentator, not a journalist, Lahren noted that honest commentary tends to strike a nerve with most people. However, after acknowledging that her tweet was forged from her anger toward the deaths of the law enforcement officials, she stated that she was that she was entitled to the same First Amendment rights as every other American.
Zurawik’s closing comment indicated that he was unswayed by such beliefs and that such individuals shouldn’t be given a platform to express such opinions.
The opinions of the 23-year-old Lahren since she began making appearances on a variety of media outlets have often sparked controversy. In July 2015, while working for conservative cable news channel, One America News Network, Lahren’s angry response to a mass shooting in Chattanooga eventually led her to being hiring by The Blaze last November.
Much like this most recent situation, Lahren’s anger at racial issues has also been the source of discussion in the media. In February, she attacked Beyonce for her controversial halftime performance at Super Bowl L that many found to have an anti-police message.
In late June, Lahren severely criticized actor Jesse Williams for his comments at the BET Awards, in which attacked whites for appropriating African-American culture. Lahren commented that such remarks helped reinforce the belief that African-Americans were victims.