At CNN, maybe all conservatives look alike.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has made himself one of the most visible of House Republicans lately — an outspoken opponent of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and one of the most high-profile opponents of President Joe Biden’s administration and its minions.
But as CNN anchor and “senior political correspondent” Abby Phillip learned the hard way on Friday night, that doesn’t mean he’s a stand-in for every other conservative in the House.
The moment came as Phillip was interviewing Gaetz and prefaced a question by claiming that Gaetz had voted against a defense appropriations bill on a procedural motion known as a “rule.”
Gaetz had done no such thing and called out Phillips immediately.
Check it out here. It was not her finest moment on the air.
Matt Gaetz fact checks a liar on CNN pic.twitter.com/H6hhOUS5wU
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 23, 2023
“Abby, this is going to be a very embarrassing moment when the internet corrects you on this,” Gaetz said. “I voted for the defense rule both times.”
And he had, as was documented by no less a liberal news outlet than Politico, which published a piece on Gaetz on Friday titled “How Matt Gaetz seized the House.”
It’s true, of course, that other Republicans who are critical of McCarthy who had voted against the rule when it came up on Tuesday and Thursday.
For the record, in Tuesday’s vote they were Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Ken Buck of Colorado, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
On Thursday, Buck and Norman changed their minds and supported the rule, but Reps. Marjory Taylor Greene of Georgia and Eli Crane of Arizona had switched sides to vote against, according to Politico.
All of them share Gaetz’s political party. They also share membership in the House Freedom Caucus. And Rosendale even shares Gaetz’s first name.
But they are not Matt Gaetz — even if CNN’s “senior political correspondent” can’t tell the difference.
And Gaetz was right, it was an embarrassing moment for Phillip when the correction made the rounds on the internet.
— Donna Marie (@sabback) September 23, 2023
ouch that hurts…
— DJRUFFCUTS (@DJRUFFCUTS) September 23, 2023
I wish I could see the moment between Abby and her producer off-air.
— Maple Leaf Motif (@LeafsRag) September 23, 2023
Now, to be fair, anyone can make a mistake. And most workers in journalism — reporters and editors, for instance, or writers of commentary pieces making fun of CNN anchors — are lucky enough that their mistakes aren’t committed on national television (using the term “national television” very generously in CNN’s case). So CNN bashers should keep some humility in mind.
But what’s really interesting about the mistake Phillip made was that she clearly did it while teeing up another question. Whatever that question was, it was apparently undone by the fact that the basic premise was wrong.
What was Phillip about to ask Gaetz? A hard-hitting question about why conservatives don’t support the troops, maybe? Something to push the laughable idea that Democrats care more about the country’s defenses than Republicans do? (While the Democratic president and his partisans in Congress ignore or actively facilitate the invasion of the United States by millions of illegal aliens coming over the southern border.)
Whatever it was, it was almost certainly geared toward embarrassing Republicans, embarrassing conservatives, and boosting the Democratic narrative.
Whatever it was, she cut it off the moment Gaetz corrected her. Clearly flustered, she apologized and ended the interview.
So, the dwindling number of Americans watching CNN never got to hear the zinger Phillip no doubt was ready to fire Gaetz’s way — aimed not only at the Florida Republican but at every member of Congress taking a stand against runaway spending.
But Phillip was way off target. Maybe next time, she’ll remember who she’s talking to.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.