Scott D. Pierce: Mia Love and CNN are a perfect match

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Former Rep. Mia Love — now a CNN contributor — refused to say whether she believes Donald Trump's tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came" was racist.

In Mia Love, CNN got exactly what it wanted — a conservative that other contributors can bash. And Love has made it easy for them.

In an appearance on Monday, Love refused to weigh in on whether Donald Trump’s tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” was racist.

Asked that question directly, Love deflected and obfuscated, offering a mealy-mouthed non-answer.

“You know, I. Racist is a very. I take that word incredibly seriously,” she hemmed and hawed. “I don’t. I’m not in the president’s head. I do not think that these comments help. I am not going to, uh, get into whether, whether he is racist. Uh, I don’t think that the comments help him. I don’t think that the comments help his narrative.”

Bingo! Exactly what CNN was hoping for — a comment (or, rather, a non-comment) that other panelists could attack. And attack they did.

“Let’s stop dancing around this issue,” said Bianna Golodryga, a CNN contributor and former co-anchor on “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning.” “It’s a racist comment. ... There’s no other way to define it than racist.”

Frank Bruni of the New York Times was even more direct: “All due respect, I have no idea why [Love is] dancing around calling these comments racist. She’s no longer in Congress and she still seems unwilling to call out the president’s behavior for what it is. Those were racist comments.”

(Maybe Love is going to run for the seat she lost to Ben McAdams last year and she doesn’t want to draw Trump’s ire?)

An indignant Love fired back: “I’m sorry, don’t tell me how I should feel about what somebody says about me because I have grown up as a black woman in America my entire life. I have been taught, I do not let anyone make me a victim. So I call it like it is.”

Except that she didn’t. Love never answered the question about Trump’s tweet. So much for her vow, when she took the CNN job, that she would give viewers “a different, principled and unleashed perspective.”

Oddly enough, when asked directly on CNN in January 2018 whether Trump’s comments about “s---hole countries” was racist, she eventually said, “Yes.” So ... maybe she is going to run for Congress again and doesn’t want to cross Trump?

It’s also worth pointing out that, after she lost her reelection bid, Love didn’t hesitate to say Democrats “targeted me because I am a black female Republican,” while defending Trump against charges of racism.

This past Monday on CNN, after being asked repeatedly, Love eventually said that Trump’s tweet could be interpreted as racist, but she wasn’t going to make that call.

“I did not run away from it,” she said, running from it as fast as she could.

Her non-answers didn’t stop there. Asked if, as a woman of color, she’d ever been told to go back where she came from, Love played dumb. “Oh, gosh,” she said. “The country I came from was the United States, the country I was born in.”

We knew that. That’s why you were asked the question. Which you didn’t answer.

Most of us who aren’t politicians would lose our jobs if we were this non-responsive. Particularly if we’d been hired to express our opinions.

But the only thing that would have worked better for CNN is if Love had answered “no” to the is-the-tweet-racist question. The end result would have been the same, although it might have been louder.

That’s the CNN formula — a few minutes of news followed by a panel talking about it, expressing opinions and arguing with each other.

CNN thinks it’s great TV; I find it unwatchable. That’s why I tend to change the channel whenever one of those panels appears.