[There was a video here]

Erin Burnett really tried, bless her heart, to imagine a reason why it might be inappropriate to refer to protesting black Baltimore teenagers as thugs.

The CNN host was interviewing Baltimore city councilman Carl Stokes when she defended Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s categorization of the teens as criminals and thugs—asking Stokes why it wasn’t “the right word?”

Well for one thing they’re kids, Stokes points out.

“But how does that justify what they did? I mean that’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old person’s home, I mean, come on,” Burnett clarifies, uncomprehending.

“Come on? So calling them thugs? Just call them niggers. Just call them niggers,” Stokes replies. “No. We don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that.”

Burnett, to be fair, later promises she “would hope that [she] would call [her] son a thug if he did such a thing.”

Contact the author at gabrielle@gawker.com.