CNN's Chris Cillizza turns president's al-Baghdadi announcement into 'Trump-bashing opportunity,' critics say

CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza managed to find a whopping 41 “shocking” lines from President Trump’s announcement that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself as U.S. troops approached – but critics feel the feigned outrage is further proof that CNN will attack the president at all costs.

“President Trump just ordered the successful elimination of the world’s most wanted terrorist. Cillizza and his colleagues at CNN can’t even celebrate this victory for humanity over barbarism without trying to smear Trump,” conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News. “History will not look kindly on this new low for CNN.”

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As U.S. troops bore down on al-Baghdadi, he fled into a "dead-end" tunnel with three of his children, Trump said, and detonated a suicide vest. Cillizza’s column, “The 41 most shocking lines from Donald Trump’s Baghdadi announcement,” picks apart every word of the national address.

A current CNN personality told Fox News that Cillizza has the wrong title at the liberal network.

“While I find Chris Cillizza to be very funny -- a razor-sharp satirist -- the idea that we promote him as an ‘editor’ and an ‘analyst’ is just dishonest. He’s a blatantly anti-Trump advocate. If we want to do journalism, he should be paired on TV with a pro-Trump partisan for fairness."

— CNN on-air personality

“While I find Chris Cillizza to be very funny -- a razor-sharp satirist -- the idea that we promote him as an ‘editor’ and an ‘analyst’ is just dishonest. He’s a blatantly anti-Trump advocate. If we want to do journalism, he should be paired on TV with a pro-Trump partisan for fairness,” the on-air personality said.

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CNN's Chris Cillizza once published a fictional article about Trump refusing to leave office after a 2020 defeat.

CNN's Chris Cillizza once published a fictional article about Trump refusing to leave office after a 2020 defeat.

Cillizza found problems with the way Trump described al-Baghdadi when making the announcement and criticized the president for painting the terror leader “as a fearful wimp in his last moments” and informing Americans that al-Baghdadi “was no hero.” The CNN analyst also attempted to lampoon Trump for declaring al-Baghdadi “died like a dog” and complained that he thanked Russia and Turkey for helping with the raid.

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"It’s feigned outrage because outrage is the CNN response to anything Trump does, particularly anything he does well. It's not 'shocking' to describe a terrorist mastermind, someone who killed, tortured, and raped for pleasure, as the whimpering coward he was when confronted by U.S. troops,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News.

“What's truly 'shocking' is that CNN chose to take what should have been a unifying national moment, when a brutal terrorist was killed, and turned it into another Trump-bashing opportunity," Jacobson added.

Cillizza’s column included astute analysis such as “OK, got it,” “Uh, OK. So, uh, well, OK” and sarcastically noting “great third-person here by Trump." The CNN pundit highlighted Trump calling the ISIS leader an “animal” but couldn’t find the words to take another jab, simply writing “this feels like as good a place as any to end.”

Dan Gainor, vice president of Media Research Center, told Fox News that journalists “always seem to care about the sensitivities of people who want to kill us” and pointed out that CNN wasn’t the only liberal news organization to criticize Trump’s announcement.

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“Not only was CNN bad, but The Washington Post's Greg Sargent called the president's comments ‘the deeply sick and twisted aspects of Trump's announcement,’” Gainor said. “Given how the Post headlined Baghdadi's death, it's safe to assume they really don't want Trump to have any victories -- even if America also has the victories.”

The Washington Post was widely mocked for initially referring to al-Baghdadi an "austere religious scholar" in the headline announcing his death. The paper admitted it “should never have read that way” and eventually changed it, whereas CNN continued to promote Cillizza’s piece prominently on its website 24 hours after Trump’s announcement.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.