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CNN's news division: Rittenhouse judge insulted Asians with ... a supply-chain joke?

Yes, this comes from CNN’s “news” section, which wants everyone to know that Judge Bruce Schroeder made comments that were “perceived as anti-Asian.” Before taking a lunch break yesterday in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, Schroeder quipped that lunch might take longer than expected, as the Asian food he wanted might be “on one of those boats from Long Beach harbor.”

Here’s the clip:

This dumb joke — at the expense of American shipping and logistics — became a cause celebre yesterday among the tongue-cluckers on social media, which would hardly be worth commentary. Unfortunately, the tongue-clucking extended to professional media, including this at CNN:

Schroeder, the longest-serving active judge in Wisconsin’s trial courts, appeared to be referring to the supply chain backlogs caused by congestion problems in California ports. But his comments were offensive and perceived as anti-Asian by some and as placing blame on Asian people for a large-scale event.

“It harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of micro aggressions as well as actual physical violence,” said John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC.

Yang said it’s clear the judge doesn’t have cultural sensitivity. His remarks were meant to denigrate or minimize Asian Americans and “any Asian American that sees or hears his statement will understand that he is making fun of or mocking our community.”

“This is a great illustration of how Asian Americans are not immune from racial bias and discrimination in our criminal justice system,” Yang said.

Oh, please. This is nothing more than a character assassination of Schroeder, committed by people who are unhappy about the way the Rittenhouse trial has unfolded. The joke here isn’t about the Asian-ness of the food, but about the lengthy wait for any imported goods from overseas in the current supply-chain crisis. That’s clearly what Schroeder mocked, but because Schroeder isn’t playing along with the Left’s fantasies about Rittenhouse (or even those of some on the Right), anything — even a patriotic ring tone on his cell phone — is being used as a means to discredit Schroeder.

This is pretty threadbare, even for a threadbare genre such as this. CNN shopped around for someone to express outrage over the joke as a way to smear Schroeder as a bigot, and then found two sources to quote. One is the leader of an advocacy group that few people would likely recognize, and the other is a Columbia University academic in Asian-American studies:

“All I can say is, Ugh. Old racist stereotypes die hard,” said Mae Ngai, the Lung Family professor of Asian American studies and professor of history at Columbia University.

This “offense” is “news” because a CNN reporter found two activists who took offense at a joke. Did the reporter just happen to pass them in the hallway? Stand in line at the local Aldi’s and overhear their conversation? Or did Nicole Chavez seek out people that would express offense so that CNN could accuse Schroeder of bigotry? It certainly looks a lot like the latter.

This got even sillier late last night in the handoff between Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, which at least is squarely in the opinion portion of CNN’s work:

CUOMO: But I don’t know that it will rise to that level. And for the judge’s demeanor to become the grounds for a mistrial has to be so egregious. But look, there is no question that he is really pissing people off who are watching the trial. What I didn’t like was, pick your spots.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Everything you just mentioned is absolutely a legitimate ground for being upset by what we are seeing. How that I talked about the lunch order, I don’t get it.

LEMON: The Asian joke?

CUOMO: I don’t get it. I don’t know that he even made an Asian joke.

LEMON: Well, he —

CUOMO: I know that I’m not allowed to judge it, because I’m not Asian. I’m just saying that it sounded to me like he said, we are going to be late for lunch, I don’t know how long it is going to take, I hope the Asian food isn’t stuck in the supply chain problem out in California.

LEMON: Something on a boat or something. I forgot —

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Yes, he was talking about the supply chain, you know, the backup at the port in Los Angeles. Now it’s — he said something that was offensive to Asians, the left is going after him, I just feel like the left is setting itself up for the right to have another hammer to hit him with —

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, this is — look, I don’t know if it’s —

CUOMO: — the woke were upset against.

LEMON: Well, I wouldn’t call — necessarily call it that. If you have Asian groups that are find it offensive, then I don’t know, they could be conservative Asians. You never know they, could be Republican Asians.

CUOMO: First of all, they are absolutely allowed —

LEMON: And so —

CUOMO: — to say whether or not —

LEMON: Right. So, I’m not —

CUOMO: — something is found offensive to them. I didn’t see it in his intent but not it’s become part of the analysis.

LEMON: Well, maybe because you don’t know. Maybe he just doesn’t know. And that is ignorant, you can also be bias and bigoted in your ignorance. Isn’t that what bigots — bigot — bigotry is? Bias. It’s ignorance.

CUOMO: It can be, but it could also be straight up hate.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: So, listen. I just —

CUOMO: People can be, you know, bigot —

LEMON: I take, look, I’m not an Asian American. But if someone who is Asian says that they find it offensive —

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Then it’s offensive.

LEMON: — then it is offensive.

That is an absurd standard to apply, and it cuts directly against what CNN does. If only one conservative (for instance) finds Chris Cuomo offensive, is he therefore objectively and undebatably offensive? How about Don Lemon? Because I know more than one or two conservatives who find both of them offensive on a fairly regular basis, and by this standard, CNN should take action on that basis, no?

It’s almost a reductio ad absurdum of a heckler’s veto. A standard by which we have to ensure that not a single person can be offended even by a comment that objectively gives no basis for offense is a standard that produces nothing but silence.

Intent is the metric here, not the objection of partisans. Did Schroeder intend this as a comment about Asians? Of course not. The intent to blow it up into a racial insult is nothing more than an attempt by CNN and others to inject race into a trial where race plays no role at all, just so they can pursue their preferred social-justice narratives. Threadbare, indeed.

By the way, there actually was a story yesterday about a leading figure using offensive terms in public. I guess CNN wasn’t interested in finding people offended by Joe Biden, though. I wonder why.