CNN’s Cillizza criticized over tweet calling out Trump's use of the word 'riots'

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Chris Cillizza, an editor-at-large for CNN, was criticized on social media over a tweet calling out President Trump’s use of the word “riots” when describing the continued unrest in major cities across the U.S.

CNN has been taken to task in recent days over its coverage of the protests. The network was most recently panned over an on-air graphic describing one protest as “fiery but mostly peaceful."

Cillizza’s own tweet calling out Trump's use of the word "riots" was mocked online because it was accompanied by an image that showed what appeared to be law enforcement officers standing in front of a building completely engulfed in flames.

“Trump’s efforts to label what is happening in major cities as “riots” speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking, at the moment,” Cillizza tweeted.

Cillizza tries to make his point in his newsletter by pointing to recent comments from Trump at a rally in New Hampshire and the Republican National Convention. Trump said his party, “condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence” in cities like Portland, Minneapolis and Chicago, Cillizza pointed out.

He wrote that Trump likely senses that “the race is slipping from him” and has to cling on to the “events following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha earlier this month as a sign not of peaceful protests but of radical leftists rioting and destroying cities.”

He pointed to Trump’s planned trip to Kenosha later this week — against the wishes of Wisconsin's governor – and said that the president will make sure “people view what is happening in the  country as “riots” rather than “protests” because it is a key part of Trump’s “comeback strategy.”

For many on social media, Cillizza’s analysis did not pass the smell test and they questioned if the writer even followed the news out of these cities.

There have been questions in the media if the Portland Police Department used the term “riot” too arbitrarily, but KATU reported earlier this month that in the span of 80 days, police declared a riot 13 times. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran a headline Sunday that read, in part, “Between Riots and COVID, Allure of Downtown Minneapolis Tested." The Washington Post earlier this month, after another police-involved shooting, ran a headline, “Looters Smash Business Windows Along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile After Police-Involved Shooting.”

Cillizza's own network was accused of all but skipping over the news about looting out of Chicago. Anderson Cooper, the network's anchor, had a two-hour program the following night and dedicated about two minutes and 36 seconds to the unrest, despite the fact that there were more than 100 arrests and 13 injured police officers.

David Brown, the Chicago Police superintendent, said, “This was not an organized protest,  rather, this was an incident of pure criminality."

Cillizza did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News for comment. For weeks, Trump has been referring to himself as the “law and order” choice in 2020, and has hinted that a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for more anarchy.

Trump took to Twitter late Sunday and asked when "Slow Joe Biden" was going to criticize "the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA?"

Trump said Biden cannot come out against the violent protests because he would lose the "Crazy Bernie Super Liberal" vote, referring to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfshon contributed to this report

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