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CNN Tonight

Biden Plans to Announce Bid for Second Term Next Week; What's Going on With All the Wrong-Place Wrong-Time Shootings; How Do We Get America Back on Track. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 20, 2023 - 22:00   ET




PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: A busy night of news and good conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota starts right now. Hi, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Pam. We'll keep that going. Thank you very much.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.

Sources tell CNN that Joe Biden will formally announce that he's running for a second term next week. Team Biden will reportedly put out a video on Tuesday, which happens to be the four-year anniversary of his 2020 campaign launch.

His announcement will come a week after a spate of young people getting shot for innocent mistakes. Today, it's a basketball rolling into the wrong yard. They got a six-year-old and her parent shot in North Carolina. In the past week, there's been a 16-year-old shot for ringing the wrong doorbell, a 20-year-old shot and killed for pulling into the wrong driveway and two cheerleaders shot for opening the wrong car door. Is this uncontrolled anger or widespread fear? Author and Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson is going to be on our panel to share what she thinks is at the root of this sickness.

Also, I sit down with a group of dedicated Fox viewers who share their thoughts on Fox's historic $787 million payout for spreading falsehoods about Dominion Voting Systems.


RYAN LOUCKS, FOX NEWS VIEWER: The audience is not looking to be lied to. It's looking to give context to something that we know is true from a certain perspective, and that's got a value. But there is a line not to cross. And once you know that something is not true, you need to let them know.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Okay. But let's start with President Biden's announcement. We have on our panel, Alencia Johnson, who was a senior adviser to the Biden 2020 campaign, also Doug Heye, former RNC Communications Director, my on again, off again work husband L.Z. Granderson and legal eagle Elie Honig.


DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGST: Yes, you could say it about Elie as well.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I agree. You're also -- I am a work bigamist. So, I'm what, bulimist (ph), actually.


CAMEROTA: Yes, thank you. All right, Alencia, what should we expect on Tuesday? What is President Biden going to say in this announcement?

ALENCIA JOHNSON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: Listen, I was the adviser on the 2020 campaign.

CAMEROTA: But you know him well enough to know what he'll say.

JOHNSON: I think he's going to talk about the policies that have been working. He's going to give a great speech. He's also going to give a stark contrast of what we will see on the Republican side and what they are not doing for the American people and how they are chipping away at democracy and on the wrong side of these issues, like abortion, gun control, all of these issues that so many young people, people of color, women, the base of the Democratic Party, the rising majority are for. And so you'll see that in his speech.

CAMEROTA: Doug, as a Republican hand for a long time, what do you think he needs to say and what do you think his weaknesses.

HEYE: Well, it's a very nice way to call me old. But the timing on this is very interesting because he's also -- the subtext is going to be four years ago today that I launched the campaign that got Donald Trump out of the White House. So that's going to be a unifying message for Democrats.

Clearly, he's going to make distinctions with Republicans but we don't know if he's going to do it on really the number one issue that he's facing right now with Republicans, and that's the debt ceiling. And he needs to address this not only in a video but also moving forward with a lot of unknowns.

And it goes to what his campaigns about, the uncertainty around the debt ceiling and what that's going to create and tying in that the fact that even though the economy is in a better place and inflation is falling, voters aren't feeling that way is numbers are in the tank when it comes to his handling of the economy, and that's going to be as big driver for his re-election.

CAMEROTA: But aren't Republicans also responsible for this debt ceiling hold up?

HEYE: Sure, but there's only one president. There's only one person who can be elected president. He's trying to make that distinction right now between House Republicans who will try and throw Mitch McConnell's name around there as well. But we have to find out what's going to happen in this. And we're still in such a period of unknowns on this. And even the known unknowns are still unknown at this point. So, there are problems here for this, politically, both sides. It's a risky business.

CAMEROTA: L.Z., here's his President Biden's approval ratings that there -- the latest that we have. I think, 42 percent overall, 57 percent disapproving of the job he's doing. What do you think he needs to say?

GRANDERSON: Well, it's not a say thing at this point, it's a do thing, right? And I think the important thing for him to do is just say what he's done, you know, list the accomplishments, remind Americans where you were four years ago where you are today, and if you want that same sort of stability, then you may want to continue on with the same person in the White House. And if you want to go back to where you were four years ago, then you consider the other side.


I think that's a very powerful argument. You consider the chaos that's around everything, but also it's smart for him to announce because a lot of oxygen have been sucked up by Trump because of the indictment. And they're beginning to see Republicans rally around him and build momentum behind him. This is a good way, make this announcement so that you have Democrats now in your circuits, being able to talk about your presidency and the things to accomplish that you get back from that momentum that seems to be going towards Trump.

HONIG: Yes. And it's interesting, if I can pick up on that. If I may ask some questions because these are political experts.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

HONIG: I'm actually curious if both of you as Democratic strategist and Republican strategist, just in terms of winning, do you want -- in an ideal world, would you want Biden as the nominee? And, Doug, would you want to face Biden as the nominee?

JOHNSON: Look, President Biden, he was the president that ushered in what, you know, I say it was a dehydrated red wave in 2022, right? Like his policies and his agenda that is winning for a lot of these voters, and that's what they want to see.

And so, you know, I think sometimes when we talk about our politics, folks are used to the Obama-type of candidate. That's a once in a generation. Get somebody in the office that you can agree with on certain issues, you know, you can push on certain issues, and a lot of people see that in President Biden. He's also got Vice President Harris out there on a lot of these issues. She's really strong on voting rights, abortion rights, this whole week she's been talking about it. And so, yes, look, I want him as my candidate.

HEYE: Yes. I'm going to give you the honest answer. I don't know at this point, and there are the two reasons for that. One, Biden's argument is I can beat Trump because I'm the only one who has is both true and unprovable. And so for Republicans, they're trying to figure that out. They certainly like where his poll numbers are, want to keep them there. But the question then is also who do they have that's going against Donald Trump. So, with Biden's core argument, I can beat Trump because I've beaten Trump, if the nominee is Trump, well, Republicans are still concerned regardless of where Trump is in the polls right now in the primary.

CAMEROTA: Alencia, one of the weaknesses that keeps coming up in polls when you ask Americans is his age. And what he has said is watch me. Watch what I do, and you tell me that you don't think that, you know, I have the energy for this job. So, does he need to say more about that? Does he need to address that in a different way?

JOHNSON: I don't think so. I mean, he literally said it, let's take it head on. He said it's a legitimate question. So, just watch me I can show you better than I can tell you. And he's out here again, telling people about the policies that his administration has put forward, talking about who's blocking other policies that would help the American people. He's talking to labor unions about the economy. You know, the Republicans are talking to Wall Street executives. And so, you know, I think the age conversation, if and when Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, you kind of can't really have that conversation anymore, right?

GRANDERSON: I can understand why the age or his age is a constant conversation, obviously, if Trump is the nominee, his age as well. But I'm more interested in the age that we're in, right? There are conversations that we're having now that no other president has had to deal with before starting with artificial intelligence. So, I think a lot of younger voters are going to be asking themselves which of these candidates can actually navigate through some of those trickier things, some of the technology issues, not just the culture wars, but climate change is real. And more and more young people are talking about, not in a hypothetical but in a definitive sort of way, the way that we talk about the weather.

HONIG: Yes, you're totally right. I mean, I teach college undergrads, and they're doing presentations on existential threats to us and climate change is one of them.

Speaking of conversations that we've never had to have before, we're going to have a major party candidate or potentially front runner who's under indictment, as you mentioned. And I thought it was so interesting before, L.Z. talked about it as almost a political asset, right? You're saying Biden is smart to get out now because people are coalescing around Trump. I mean, I wonder how that will play.

I mean, I can give you all you want on the legal nuances of the indictment, you probably heard enough from me on that, but I'm curious how you all think that will play politically. JOHNSON: You know, I think it helps the Biden campaign. It's going to help Democrats because, again, we know who the enemy is, and not just Trump, but the Trump MAGA Republicans. It's not just him doing the bidding. It's the DeSantises of the world, it's the McCarthys of the world, it's all these people.

In addition to that, he's an indicted, crooked criminal who is running for office. And this is just one case that we've seen in New York. There are others that we're waiting to hear how they're going to address it as well.

CAMEROTA: Isn't it strange if it helps Biden and it helps Trump? Americans really get engaged when there's an indictment.

HEYE: He's indicted and he's crooked. He's not a criminal, yet. That's up to obviously a --

HONIG: It's a good bumper sticker.

HEYE: Yes, it might work. But this is -- the interesting thing is with Trump, it's -- there's a long-term and a short-term. The short- term, it's been a big benefit for him. We saw the money that he raised. We saw the party coalesce around him. But if there were more indictments, that long-term problem is bad for him in the general and in the primary.

In the primary, if we see more and more indictments, it's easy for a DeSantis or any of the other candidates say, there's too much drama.


Hey, Donald Trump, he was a great president but we have to move on, and that might have some --

GRANDERSON: If it was easy, though, not to cut you off, but you're making a sinus of all you need is proof that he's not electable. He's been already impeached twice, and they're still afraid to say his name.

JOHNSON: But I think these indictments actually -- his base coalesces around him but these indictments so riled up a base of folks. Back to your earlier question of whether or not they want Biden as the candidate, they just don't want Trump. And the more that we reveal about Trump, the more that these indictments come down, that's going to rile up a whole base to vote against him.

HEYE: I just think there's a difference between this indictment that we've seen that does have politics attached to it in a way that, say, Georgia and potentially DOJ wouldn't. Even a lot of Democrats have said this is not the indictment that we want under Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: Well, we're keeping an eye on what's going to happen next with the indictments. Thank you, friends, very much, I really appreciate that conversation.

Up next, Democratic Presidential Candidate and Author Marianne Williamson is going to join our panel with her thoughts and her plans on how to heal the problems and the soul of America. There she comes. Welcome. Hi, great to have you.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nice to see you, Alisyn, nice to see you again.



CAMEROTA: The suspect in the latest, senseless shooting, Robert Singletary surrendered tonight after being accused of shooting a six- year-old and her parents because a basketball rolled into his yard in North Carolina, yet another insane shooting of a young person this week, leaving all Americans grasping for answers to this epidemic of fear and violence.

My panel is back with me, and joining us is Marianne Williamson, Democratic Presidential Candidate and bestselling author. It's so great to have you here.

WILLIAMSON: It's always good to see you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You too. We have you booked for many weeks, and it's just perfect that you're here tonight.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: So, I mean, I'll just run through every night this week. We have reported on yet another, I mean, truly insane shooting, for ringing the wrong doorbell, for pulling into the wrong driveway, for a ball, a child's ball rolling into the wrong yard. How do you explain what's happening in America? And, obviously, as a candidate, what can we do about this?

WILLIAMSON: Well, there's no rational explanation for such an explosion of that which is not reasonable. But I think that the possibility of something good here is that so many Americans on both left and right recognize that something has gone too far. I do think -- I think something people are -- that's what I'm sensing in the country, people realize that something has gone too far.

I think we're ready to go beyond the quite sophomore debate of is it culture or is it policy. It is so clearly both. Our policies are definitely on the side of wanting an assault weapon ban, of wanting stronger red flag laws, federal flag red flag laws, the bump stocks, the high-capacity magazines and so forth.

But it's also true. We have to ask ourselves what is happening in our culture. Our culture has lost any sense of reverence. Our culture is not centered around humanitarian values any longer. We are centered around economic values. Short-term profit maximization for huge corporate entities has become our governing principle.

This has been going on for decades. It's like left so many people in economic despair, economic anxiety, and this is what's not being addressed on the level of cause. It's not being addressed on the level of policy or of attention and focus. And I think all of us have our part to play in doing what we can both in our own hearts and in our own relationships and in our own communities and taking care of one another.

CAMEROTA: And on that, what can you do? What can we do? What are some easy things to do or policy things?

WILLIAMSON: Well, policy things, I think people recognize this. The issue centers a lot around the easy access to guns. We know we have more guns than people in the society. Also, there's a lot of conversation, as you've already covered here tonight, about how there are people on television making a lot of money breeding fear. We have a culture where people are actually making money breeding fear. And it's not just gun manufacturers. It's journalists and journalistic corporations.

We need to come back from the brink here in terms of what all of us can do as individuals. I think everybody in their own life can ask, who am I not forgiving, who am I not loving, where am I not showing up kindly. How many times when we see something like these young men, for instance, and others who have who have committed these mass shootings and you ask yourself, what happened in this person's life. What one person might have made a difference.

And I'll tell you something, we have the sociological experts who have explained that to us, but our lawmakers are not listening. Too many people in America are falling through the cracks. Too many children are falling through the cracks. We have children who are traumatized before preschool now. We have elementary school students on suicide watch. We have millions of American children who whose daily life is a level of post-traumatic stress.

So, until we are ready to get down and recognize the level of irreverence that is at the center of how we are organizing our society today, all of us need to get off our smug high horses and stop pointing the finger at other people and asking in our own lives and in our own attitudes, where both politically and personally we might become more harmless, more loving, more compassionate.

And don't leave politics out of that either, because when you neglect a child you are adding to the Petri dish of societal dysfunction. You think we have a mental health crisis now, Alisyn? Look at what we're going to have 10 or 15 years from now, having raised a generation of children praying every morning, I won't be shot at school today. Not only that, but little children who know that the adults aren't doing anything about it.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

WILLIAMSON: Why, because of multibillion dollar profits for gun manufacturers.

CAMEROTA: I mean, even those who have it, the amount of kids who have lived through or somehow a school shooting has touched their lives is incredible. And even those who haven't, they still do active shooter drills.

WILLIAMSON: The active shooter drills.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. So, Doug, what do you agree with? What do you disagree with?

HEYE: Well, I think there's a lot that can be done but we can't do everything at once. And part of that is the fractures that we have in Washington but also in state capitols.


And there are things that do give me hope. I've been involved with some of the efforts in Tennessee right now, and Tennessee Republican governor, Republican House, Republican Senate, but there's a possibility that they can get gun legislation through. Governor Lee supports it. You have the former -- the two previous former governors, a Republican and Democrat, have written op-eds on it.

CAMEROTA: Because of the latest school shooting, that's what's galvanized them?

HEYE: Because of this, and the polling --

WILLIAMSON: After Louisville.

HEYE: The polling in Nashville, the Covenant School, shooting the polling shows -- the poll came out yesterday that voices for a safer Tennessee put out from Donald Trump's pollster, Fabrizio Lee, that show that gun owners and Trump voters, as well as Democrats and independents, support things like safe locks for guns, support things like extreme risk, a 70-hour waiting notice.

If you had told me three weeks ago that we would see 70 percent of gun owners in Tennessee say that, I'd say you're crazy, but we're seeing that now. We're not going to be able to do everything. But if we can do the small things, if politics is the art of the possible, doing what's possible now will go a long way into preventing some of these tragedies.


GRANDERSON: You know, I grew up in Detroit. And so my relationship to gun violence might be a little bit different than, you know, some other people. Because I don't want to say that I'm used to these crazy shootings, but drive by shootings don't make sense either, and that's what I grew up in, you know, where little kids would be outside playing and someone would drive by and just spray bullets because someone they think is standing near the child is there.

So, I grew up in gun violence and seeing senselessness and deaths for no reason almost my entire life. And I can tell you, because my therapist has told me I'm not okay, like that has an effect on people. And so I believe it 1,000 percent correct that the toll of gun violence, not just on children but the parents and the family members who -- the friends who didn't get shot but survive having survivor's remorse. We're just beginning to talk about the mental weight of what gun violence is doing to us as a nation and even compound the fact that, come on, we haven't begun to flesh out what 2020 did to us in terms of the isolation from COVID.

So, when I look at those two things added in with the economic stress, added in with the racism and the hate that's coming up, I can see why it feels as if the world is falling apart. But I do believe that once we get to a point in which Democrats and Republicans are saying enough is enough that we can get past this as a nation because we've been here before time and time again, and we worked our way through it.

But I think right now, we're just in a dark place right now because everyone is under a lot of stress for a lot of different reasons, and mental health is just beginning to be taken seriously by this nation culturally.

CAMEROTA: I want to believe that's going to pass.

HONIG: Well, I agree with all three of you that it's about culture and it's about policy. And one of the things that I think gets overlooked, policy, we talked about red flag laws and limits on semiautomatics, but there's also a legal element of this, which is a lot of these shootings are happening in driveways and on streets and on yards, you hear people say stand your ground laws.

Can I please make a public service announcement? I mean, because I think there is a vast misunderstanding of what these laws do and do not mean. Stand your ground laws do not mean you get to shoot anyone. They do not mean that even if you're in your own home and someone is on your property, you get to open fire. That is not what they mean in all circumstances. You can only use lethal force, shoot a weapon if you have a reasonable belief that somebody is about to kill or maim you or somebody else and a basketball or pulling into a driveway or pulling open a screen door does not get you there.

WILLIAMSON: Then I have a question for you. Why was Trayvon Martin's shooter not convicted?

HONIG: So, that that was based on the totality of those circumstances. But you're right, that's a great example, where stand your law -- the main difference that stand your ground law makes is you do not have a duty to retreat, so understates that don't have those laws, if you can get away safely, you have to do that. In Florida, where Trayvon Martin happened, they do have standard ground laws, which enabled Robert Zimmerman to say, I don't have a duty to retreat. So, it does change the calculus, but it does not mean it's open season to just start shooting.

CAMEROTA: That's really helpful. Yes, it's really good to know that.

So, beyond gun violence, what do you want to say? What are your priorities for running for president?

WILLIAMSON: Well, I think that one of the things we've talked about here already is that things are not okay. We have 39 percent of Americans who now report, 44 percent of millennials that they have skipped meals in order to pay their rent. We have one in four Americans who live with medical debt. We have 64 percent of Americans who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, 60 percent of Americans who could not absorb $400 unexpected expenditure.

Look at those facets that I just talked to you about, and you talked to me about mental health. We talk about the mental health crisis. We need to talk about what's at the root of that, and to talk about how much of that comes from chronic economic anxiety.


We have a political class. We have a political class that is not planning any fundamental economic reform.

And I'm running for president, I'm running as a Democrat because incremental change is not enough. When you have a lack of universal healthcare, although we have it in every other country, when we -- in every other advanced democracy, every other advanced democracy has tuition free college, you know, which we had until the 1960s.

You know, I'm old enough, Alisyn. There was a time in this far away land called the 1970s, when the average American, there was a thriving middle class. The average American worker had decent benefits, could afford a home, could afford a car, could afford a yearly vacation, could afford to send one parent to -- to keep one parent could stay home if they wished, and they could afford to send their kids to college.

So, no, people are not okay. And I'm running for president because we need a fundamental economic U-turn not just incremental change. People need to have health care in this country, need to be able to go to college, people need the bandwidth to thrive. And if all a politician can say is, I will help you survive an unjust system in the richest country in the world, something is wrong. We need someone from outside that system to say the system should not be unjust. We need an economic U-turn and that's what I will do if I'm elected president.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you very much for this great conversation.

Okay, next, are you offended by the word ladies? Our next guest says he lost a great job offer as a school superintendent because, he said, ladies. He's here to explain next.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, HOST: A candidate for school superintendent in Easthampton , Massachusetts says his job offer was rescinded because he used the word "ladies" in an email. The man is Vito Perrone. He joins us now with his attorney James Winston. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. Notice what I just did there? I said gentlemen and sometimes I actually say ladies and so Mr. Perrone, is it really true that you lost this job offer because you addressed the board chair and her executive assistant as "ladies" in an email. We have that email. Let me just pull it up. You said, "ladies", Good Morning and then you went out to spell some of your requests in this job negotiation. So what it really the "ladies" part of was it what you were demanding in the job negotiation that -- that lost you the job offer?

VITO PERRONE, SUPERINTENDENT CANDIDATE FOR HIRE IN EASTHAMTPON, MASSACHUSSETTS: The -- the -- the reason that was given to me, one is because I used "ladies" as a greeting. It was considered offensive to the chair and she called it a microaggression. We never had an opportunity to really negotiate at all. They voted in -- in an executive session to rescind the offer and that was really where things ended.

CAMEROTA: What did you think when she said that she was offended by "ladies" and it was a microaggression?

PERRONE: Well initially, I -- I was apologetic. Said I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend anyone. It wasn't my intent. You know I grew up in a time when ladies and gentlemen was -- were -- were terms of respect and that is what I meant them as, and I was hopeful that we could, kind of, move forward from there. But unfortunately the chair and the mayor were pretty adamant that the apology didn't matter at that point. They had already voted and they had rescinded the offer for me, and so that's really where things left off.

CAMEROTA: OK. So she has a slightly different explanation now. So the board chair Cynthia Kweicinski says now that the general feeling is that they were too many concerns before we had even begun negotiating the rest of the contract and alarm bells were going off. Each item that I've mentioned by itself would be redeemable but taken together it was becoming clear to most members that we would not be able to come to terms or work together effectively with the applicant. So were -- were there other things that cropped up?

PERRONE: None that they made me aware of in our executive session. The executive session agenda was one item, a negotiation with me. We never got to negotiate. There was never any mention of anything other than the fact that I said "ladies", which was a microaggression. After the fact, it seemed like there was a misrepresentation and there was some communication from the chair saying that those things that I requested were unreasonable. However, asking for four extra days of vacation doesn't seem unreasonable to me, asking for a cost of living increase on my salary for years two and three doesn't seem unreasonable. And starting with the sick bank doesn't seem unreasonable, when I worked in the district for six years and I had over 70 days banked up before I moved on to another placement. So I never intended to use all of that sick bank in a year. It's just -- it gives you a sense of assurance when you start a position if you have a sick bank.

CAMAROTA: Mr. Winston, I only have 30 seconds left but what's the recourse here?

JAMES WINSTON, ATTORNEY FOR VIC PERRONE: Right. Clearly the reasoning they're giving is a pretext. They saw the original firestorm that -- that their reasoning caused and this is nothing more than a pretext. The reason they didn't hire him is the reason they told him because he used the term "ladies". As far as recourse, just less than two weeks ago was the meeting where they actually rescinded the offer. There was a candidate but the offer to that withdrew late last week, this past week. He'd been on vacation. There's another meeting, so this is a right fluid situation. We're concerned of our options, but we're hoping this is a teachable moment for everybody in the community. Dr. Perrone deeply cares about the students and the teachers and the community and he stamped in and we hope that everything works out for all concerned. Then, we want to thank you for having us here.

CAMEROTA: Well thank you both for being on and please keep us posted. Vito Perrone, James Winston, thank you for your time.

PERRONE: Thank you so much.

WINSTON: Thank you.


CAMEROTA: The panel is back with me Marianne Williamson, Doug Heye, LZ Granderson, Elie Honig. Marianne are you offended if somebody calls you lady?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I think what that gentleman said, I just called him a gentleman. We'll err with the sign of respect when I said it, it was a sign of respect I think. I like he said, he grew up in a time, as did I by the way, ladies and gentlemen is a sign of respect. I think today because of the gender issues, I also say ladies and gentlemen and everyone else, you know. That -- that is -- is -- is today's language. But I -- I think his having the offer rescinded because that's considered a microaggression by someone is terrible.

CAMEROTA: One of the things that she had said was that he didn't address her formally with her name. So instead of Ms. Williamson, he said and whoever her executive assistant and her name, he said "ladies".

WILLIAMSON: He had no idea that that was showing any less respect. I believe him because that would be true for me. I could see starting a letter if I was speaking to a couple of men saying gentlemen, this morning we should discuss.

CAMEROTA: Any thoughts?



GRANDERSON: (inaudible) are this, if -- if -- if the employer says this is offensive to the culture, than that's the offensive to the cultural ways apply. Like I -- I don't know if I can, from a distance, decide whether or not someone should be offended of something. So I can certainly see how someone of authority could see that being a little too familiar. I can see that, but I can't see that as being the sole purpose of -- of rescinding an offer.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: So to -- to the gentlemen at the table every use the phrase "ladies"? DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: One, yes. But in-- in Washington,

if you're in Congress and you're -- you -- you will have heard of the female member of Congress is the gentle lady and one of the things that I worry about is we've talked earlier about all these issues that go on. We heard the word microagression so often, and so often in America we focus on the microagressions, when there are a whole lot of macroaggressions that we ought to be paying more attention to --

WILLIAMSON: And it's a cover for naught.

HEYE: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: It's a cover for what?

WILLIAMSON: Well we're talking about the little microaggressions rather than talking about this more serious issues of genuine aggression and oppression. People in our society that are of this more serious issues. This is like a cover.

GRANDERSON: Microagressions though can be serious.

HEYE: They -- they can be.

GRANDERSON: I mean, if -- if they go -- if they go untreated and they happen on a daily basis, the accumulation of that could be just a powerful as one singular major aggression.

CAMEROTA: But don't you have to with the microaggression, I know I'm speaking broadly, but couldn't you just have said, I prefer to address you by my name.

GRANDERSON: I mean, like I said, I wouldn't have gone far nuclear on that but that's again, that's not my culture. I'm not in charge of developing the culture of that work environment.

HONIG: I (inaudible) intent. He's -- he's -- he's not -- if you look at the full email the tiny print, it's pure business. He's not trying to condescend to them. I think we have to be reasonable and ask, what's the entire context here.

CAMEROTA: Yes. It's all -- it is a little old timey I'll grant them that and even when I say "ladies", I know I'm, sort of, harkening back to a different time because I think most women like to be called women but not ladies. But, you don't say, hey women.


WILLIAMSON: I know. That would have been disrespectful.

HONIG: Well it's funny to hear Doug say that, you know, on Congress. It's a good point. You said the gentle lady. One of the conversations we actually said as prosecutors, old timers would address a jury. They would say -- they would say ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Today you will hear -- I didn't like that, it felt maybe a little too old timey for me. So my trick with the jury I would say we. We are going to learn, because then you're part of the jury. CAMEROTA: Oh that's good.

HONIG: A little lawyer trick out there for all the law students but ladies and gentlemen is the formal thing that some people use in Congress and in courts.

HEYE: Ladies and germs still works though. That always works.


WILLIAMSON: I think there's a geographical issue though too, different parts of the country, in the South.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, yes, and -- and -- and in fact that some people say gals, which is very old timey but it's still meant, I think, as a --

HEYE: I say gals a lot actually.

CAMEROTA: Gals, that's old timey. All right friends thank you very much. Be sure to tune in at the top of the hour. Some of our favorite reporters will join me to talk about the big stories that they are covering today, but first I speak with FOX viewers. Will the defamation lawsuit with Dominion stop them from tuning in? Will they see the network differently? I ask those questions and they answer. Next.



CAMEROTA: FOX has to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787 million for making false statements about the voting machines. It was huge story for the past two years in the media world, but very rarely mentioned on FOX. So what do FOX viewers know about what happened? I sat down with a group of them to find out. Here is our "Pulse of the People".


CAMEROTA: Show of hands, how many of you had heard about this two year legal battle between Dominion and FOX before our producer called you? Two of you had heard about it.

IAN WEEKS, FOX VIEWER: I was aware of the claims that it made against Dominion and -- and -- and, you know, the allegations are voter fraud. More broadly, I just wasn't aware that Dominion had filed a -- essentially a defamation suit against FOX.

CAMEROTA: How many of you are surprised by the $787 million settlement that FOX agreed to pay to Dominion for broadcasting false information about the voting systems? None of you. Ragan, your thoughts.

RAGAN PATTISON, FOX VIEWER: It was damning to FOX. So at some point, you have to make a business decision on both ends and I -- I thought, you know, it would probably be in FOX's best interest to settle. WEEKS: Obviously, FOX made those claims in some capacity and Dominion

took issue with it. So, OK, they sued them.


WEEKS: But I came away from the court filing with was, a lot of this is a matter of opinion.

SHELBY BUNCH, FOX VIEWER: This has been over a year, correct? So, for them to come to the table with no evidence to back up their claims, that's really frustrating because it's, quite frankly, we've had millions of Americans that have been doing their homework since 2020. It's pretty easy to find some funny stuff.

CAMEROTA: I'm wondering how you feel knowing that one of the things that came out during discovery was how different the hosts felt behind the scenes, than what they were saying on the air. For instance, when Tucker Carlson said behind the scenes, after the election on November 23, 2020. He says, I had to try to make the White House disavow Sidney Powell which they obviously should have done long before. Laura Ingram her text response, no serious lawyer could believe what they were saying.

BUNCH: Well I've lost -- I've lost trust in them prior to that anyway when -- when FOX was calling out the election and I know a lot of people felt this way. They were calling out the election prematurely for Arizona and then after that, you know, there's a been a lot of talking out both sides of their mouth.

RYAN LOUCKS, FOX VIEWER: The audience does not looking to be lied to, it's looking to give context to something that we know is true from a -- a certain perspective and that's-- that's got a value but there is a line not to cross. And once you know that something is not true, you need to let them know because then we can move on, move on and accept that they lost, the conservatives lost this last election. Not because of some nefarious deep state shadowy fix.

WEEKS: So, and Alisyn, you spoke about well certain FOX hosts knew about this but they went forward with it anyway. One, I'm really happy that -- that they have a divergent opinions in private and they -- and they say, gosh, I'm not really sure about this.

LOUCKS: I think they're going to learn a lesson. This lesson actually happened to cost them $787 million which is a number I can't hardly imagine.

CAMEROTA: And what is that lesson Ryan? I mean, but -- but what is that lesson?

LOUCKS: Well I think that lesson is that the news should be based wholly on truth.

WEEKS: There's a certain level of willful blindness that people see what they want to see and that's true on the left and it's true on the right. But I don't look to any of the networks, including FOX as the ultimate arbiter of truth. CAMEROTA: One more question, show of hands. How many of you will

still be devoted FOX watchers?

PATTISON: I'm not sure if it's devoted but I'll partake.

CAMEROTA: So three of you --

BUNCH: I'm used to being the odd man out. That's OK.

CAMEROTA: So guys of the three who are still going to be FOX watchers, Ian will you take what they say with more of a grain of salt now?

WEEKS: As I've stated earlier, I take everyone with a grain of salt.

CAMEROTA: Ragan what about you? Will you be -- will you be listening to FOX through a different lens, taking it more with a grain of salt or --?

PATTISON: You should always look within when something, you know, big like this happens, a big case like this. So yes, I think there's going to be an extra filter on that lens when I watch Tucker.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, will you be watching through a different filter as Ragan said?

LOUCKS: I think I'm going to be expanding my net some more. Alisyn, you might be winning a new future viewer but also, you know, the things that FOX news is showing is not necessarily the things that CNN is showing. And expanding my net will be, I think, helpful so I don't see these -- I don't have these blind spots but like this Dominion case.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our panel there and if you want to comment on it, feel to find me on social media at alisyncamerota. OK, but news tonight for Alec Baldwin. Prosecutors have dropped the charges against him for that fatal shooting of the cinematographer on Rust. We'll tell you why, next.


CAMEROTA: Prosecutors announcing that Alec Baldwin will be cleared of involuntary manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of the -- on the Rust movie set. A source tells CNN the decision was made after new evidence emerged that indicated that the gun used in the shooting had been modified. Helena Hutchinson, the film cinematographer was killed by a live round fired from a prop gun held by Baldwin while rehearsing a scene in 2021. The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, the charges against her remain in place.

Baldwin posting on Instagram after the announcement, thanking his wife and attorney as part of a wrongful death settlement with Hutchinson's husband. Production on Rust has resumed, filming began today at the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana. The church scene where the fatal shooting occurred will be cut from the film. OK. So coming up we have some of our favorite reporters here to talk about the stories that they're working on for tomorrow. They're joining me right now. I'll be talking to them momentarily. That's next