What Happens When a Well-Known Advocate Says Something Unexpected

What Happens When a Well-Known Advocate Says Something Unexpected

Alan Dershowitz, a professor-emeritus at Harvard Law School, is a well-known liberal advocate for a variety of causes, defense counsel for O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, and others, and a strong backer of Hillary Clinton for President. Last year he became a vocal critic of the American Civil Liberties Union, saying:

The Director of the American Civil Liberties Union has now acknowledged what should have been obvious to everybody over the past several years: that the ACLU. is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties; it has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group. The final nail in its coffin was the announcement that for the first time in its history the ACLU would become involved in partisan electoral politics, supporting candidates, referenda and other agenda-driven political goals. …

“The move of the ACLU to the hard-left reflects an even more dangerous and more general trend in the United States: the right is moving further right; the left is moving father left; and the center is shrinking… America has always thrived at the center and has always suffered when extremes gain power. The ACLU’s move from the neutral protector of civil liberties to a partisan advocate of hard-left politics is both a symptom and consequence of this change.”

Dershowitz has long been a fixture on Cable News Network, but apparently CNN has decided that the “new” Dershowitz is too hot for it to handle. The specific impetus? Dershowitz’s vocal defense of President Trump against the special counsel’s “collusion” inquiry led by Robert Mueller. As Dershowitz writes:

In our hyperpartisan world, in which so many people watch only media that will give them news with which they agree, CNN viewers understandably expected the Mueller report to find overwhelming evidence that President Trump colluded, conspired with and is beholden to Russia. After all, that is what they have been hearing for many months. 

During the first several months of the investigation, CNN viewers also heard my more nuanced, more centrist views. As a liberal Democrat who strongly supported Hillary Clinton, I had some credibility when I raised questions about the certainty with which other CNN guests had declared Trump guilty. I introduced constitutional analysis regarding the allegations of obstruction of justice, arguing that — regardless of Trump’s intentions — he could not be charged with obstruction based exclusively on exercising his constitutional authority under Article II. …

CNN viewers benefited from evaluating my viewpoints against those of other guests and hosts.

But then, suddenly, I was banned from CNN.

Over the past half year or so, I have never once been asked to appear on a CNN program. Initially I wondered why, and I asked some of my friends at the network. They were evasive and studiously avoided any direct answer to my question.

Then I received off-the-record information that an order had come from the very top: CNN executive Jeff Zucker didn’t want me on CNN any more. My centrist, nuanced perspective was anathema to CNN’s emerging brand as the anti-Trump network.