After rolling footage of demonstrators marching in New York and Washington, CNN commentator Sally Kohn said, "We want you to know that our hearts are out there marching with them," as she and co-hosts Mel Robbins and Margaret Hoover raised their hands up in the air, an apparent nod to the "hands up, don't shoot" chant associated with protests against police violence. Co-host Sunny Hostin also held up a piece of paper with the words "I can't breathe" written across it, a reference to the last words uttered by Staten Island's Eric Garner as he was being choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo.
The segment aired at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday as part of "CNN Newsroom," a straight news program typically devoid of opinion and political bias. While MSNBC and Fox News are often accused of leaning drastically to opposite sides of the aisle -- left and right, respectively -- CNN often bills itself as balanced and impartial. But some critics are saying that by allowing hosts to take sides on such a contentious issue during a straight news hour CNN is confusing its viewers and compromising the network's claims of neutrality.
Mediaite's Joe Concha criticized the network for not "specifically naming the program" and failing to bill it as an opinion show, and Scott Jones at FTVLive wrote that CNN could no longer "claim themselves as a down the middle newscast with no bias."
The Huffington Post has reached out to CNN for additional comment and will update this post if and when the network responds.