CNN blasted for 'analysis' defending Biden extension of evictions moratorium, despite admitted illegality
CNN White House reporter says Biden 'had to do something,' but critics say excusing his maneuver is rank hypocrisy
In a widely panned "analysis" piece, a CNN White House reporter defended and even praised President Joe Biden Wednesday for finding an admittedly legally dubious way to extend a federal eviction moratorium.
Stephen Collinson, who fumed at what he called President Donald Trump's "degradation of the rule of law" in another piece last year, noted that not even Biden knows if his administration's overture to renters during the pandemic will pass muster in courts, but claimed Biden had "no choice but to take a chance."
The moratorium expired on July 31, so the White House engineered what Collinson called "a classic Washington fudge -- not unfamiliar in an era of Capitol Hill gridlock -- in which presidents, especially Democrats, have improvised with executive power to shield constituencies from consequences of a malfunctioning political system."
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a new eviction moratorium to protect tenants in counties with "substantial and high levels of transmission" of COVID-19, which amounted to almost the entire country. The Supreme Court stipulated last year, though, that the CDC could only be extended if given authority by Congress; Justice Brett Kavanaugh specifically argued unilateral extension by the CDC would be unconstitutional while siding with keeping it in place through its July expiration.
Biden admitted to reporters Tuesday that the "bulk of constitutional scholars" said it wasn't legal and it was simply a ploy to buy time to allocate monies to renters and leasers. While the Washington Post''s Aaron Blake cringed at Biden's logic – "a heck of a way to do the country’s business" – Collins said Biden had "averted a humanitarian crisis."
"Politically, the spectacle of potentially millions of Americans being turned out of their homes would be an impossible one for any White House, let alone a Democratic administration built on the principle of using government power to alleviate the plight of poorer Americans. So, Biden had to do something," he wrote.
He added it was a "viable political strategy" to pass blame onto Republicans if citizens were eventually booted out of their apartments and complained that the Supreme Court was "specifically constructed to counter the aspirations of an activist liberal government."
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Last year, Collinson fumed that Trump had put "the degradation of the rule of law" at the center of his re-election campaign, which wasn't lost on critics of his latest piece online. In another article last year, he fretted over Trump's "assault on constitutional norms."
Critics lit into CNN for Collinson's piece that seemingly excused Biden breaking the law because he agreed with the end result.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a frequent corporate media critic, tweeted, "Four straight years of corporate media and liberal politicians (excuse the redundancy) pretending to care so deeply about the rule of law above all else -- including those who served in past lawless administrations -- only to now have headlines like this one above."
"I don't think the tone here would be so restrained" if the piece had been about Trump, author Daniel Darling tweeted.
"Bold and decisive lawlessness," quipped Commentary's Noah Rothman.
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Collinson penned another piece in March saying an infrastructure bill was a "window into Biden's soul." Another "analysis" praised Biden's "moderate radicalism" ahead of his April address to Congress.