WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza is supposed to be a real reporter. As in, an objective observer of politics at the RNC and DNC this week and last.
But on Monday night Cillizza trashed that concept by being “incredibly moved” by the speech delivered by Anastasia Somoza, the disabled woman speaking on stage at the DNC in Philadelphia. She was personally invited to the convention to speak by Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s top aides. The phone call came from Abedin, with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton in the background.
“They were standing there and wanted to know if I’d speak at the convention,” Somoza told CNN’s Don Lemon late night Tuesday after the speeches had been delivered. “I said ‘yes, yes, yes.'”
Cillizza wasn’t exactly being mindful of the fact that Democrats and Republicans read WaPo. The decision to have her speak might have seemed crass to at least some of his audience that she was being politicized and used for her disability.
Somoza’s speech sounded like a perfectly effective ad against Trump. “Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me and he definitely doesn’t speak for me,” she said in her speech. “…I actually feel bad for someone with that much hate in his heart.”
It’s fine if Cillizza or any other reporter is “incredibly moved” by anything that happens at these political carnivals. But it is not appropriate that he declares this as the campaign exploits a disabled woman just to go after Donald Trump. The whole thing stemmed from a November rally in South Carolina in which Trump allegedly made fun of a New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. Hillary Clinton is already running an ad about it with real children watching Trump’s theatrics.
Cillizza isn’t alone in his fandom.
The New Yorker‘s staff writer Philip Gourevitch was equally beside himself. So was Slate‘s Jordan Weissman, who took a moment away from being a reporter to be “earnest.”
Commentary‘s John Podhoretz didn’t pimp himself out for a so-called touching moment that turned the young woman into a campaign pawn. Instead, he made fun of her name. A strange thing for him to say, but I give him points for not applauding the exploitation of a young woman with a disability.
WaPo‘s Sarah Parnass was also moved.
To be sure, the young woman with Cerebral Palsy would not have been on stage at the DNC if Trump had never allegedly ridiculed the reporter by physically imitating him. To this day, Trump claims he wasn’t making fun of the reporter’s disability. Kovaleski has a muscular disability that limits movement in his arms.
Here’s a reporter actually behaving like a reporter.
Imagine that phone call? Hey, we need you to attack Donald Trump because you’re disabled, too.