MSNBC's Hayes: FNC and Conservatives Treating Black Americans Like Zimmerman Treated Trayvon Martin

On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained of a "right-wing trope about the specter of racial violence" if George Zimmerman is acquitted, and suggested that FNC hosts like Bill O'Reilly are trying to manipulate their audience by frightening them, cracking that "a good Fox News audience is a fearful Fox News audience."

As he interviewed University of Connecticut Professor Jelani Cobb, the MSNBC host complained that conservatives are treating black Americans similarly to Zimmerman's treatment of Trayvon Martin. Hayes:

So here's what frustrates, angers me genuinely about this, is, what conservatives are doing to black people at large is precisely what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin.

As he plugged the segment before a commercial break, the MSNBC host suggested that O'Reilly was trying to frighten audience members to boost ratings:

Coming up, a good Fox News audience is a fearful Fox News audience, which must be why Bill O'Reilly and others keep raising the awful specter of racial violence as the trial of George Zimmerman nears an end. We'll look at that next.

After recounting the latest news on the trial, Hayes continued:

Outside the courtroom, another narrative has been developing, a right-wing trope about the specter of racial violence. Here's part of Bill O'Reilly's talking points memo from last night.

After clips of O'Reilly discussing the "racial animus" that would likely result from an acquittal, the MSNBC host responded:

That's a pernicious planting of the expectation of racial violence, just as the right-wing Web site, Breitbart.com, blared a headline, "Broward County sheriff's Office Prepares Zimmerman Verdict Riot Plan," based upon what would commonly be considered responsible preparations for a high-profile, televised trial.

As Professor Cobb complained that conservatives were exploiting fear, Hayes added:

That's right. It's the same fear that, it's so clear. I mean, we see it every day on Fox. You see it on the Drudge Report. It's this preternatural ability  to reach into the deepest brainstem activity of the fear impulse, and it's the same thing that drives the NRA. It's this kind of paranoid vision, particularly of the moment  when racial violence happens, when Nat Turner is at your door, right?

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, July 10, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes. Tonight on All In, The fear factor as the defense rests in the trial of George Zimmerman, closing arguments set to begin tomorrow. Already, Bill O'Reilly and others on the right are raising the specter of racial violence. That is coming up.

(...)

HAYES: Coming up, a good Fox News audience is a fearful Fox News audience, which must be why Bill O'Reilly and others keep raising the awful specter of racial violence as the trial of George Zimmerman nears an end. We'll look at that next.

(...)

HAYES: Outside the courtroom, another narrative has been developing, a right-wing trope about the specter of racial violence. Here's part of Bill O'Reilly's talking points memo from last night.

BILL O'REILLY, FNC, CLIP #1: Even among African-Americans themselves, blacks come out as the top racist group. Thirty-one percent of black Americans say their own race heads the list.

O'REILLY CLIP #2: The only thing the American press will embrace is the specter of oppression. That is, if a white American kills a black American, or any other minority, then the story gets covered.

O'REILLY CLIP #3: There's no question the Zimmerman trial is now a racial deal rather than a justice deal. And if George Zimmerman is acquitted by a jury of five white women and a Hispanic lady, there will be racial animus.

HAYES: That's a pernicious planting of the expectation of racial violence, just as the right-wing Web site, Breitbart.com, blared a headline, "Broward County sheriff's Office Prepares Zimmerman Verdict Riot Plan," based upon what would commonly be considered responsible preparations for a high-profile, televised trial. Joining me now is Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history, director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. ... So here's what frustrates, angers me genuinely about this, is, what conservatives are doing to black people at large is precisely what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin.

PROFESSOR JELANI COBB, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT: That's right.

HAYES: It is that they are suspected of being disposed to violence in some kind of preternatural way more than other races. They are judged guilty before they do anything.

COBB: Yeah, I think it would be a marvelous bit of irony if they were that clever. And also I should say very quickly about the, you know, the graphic about 1 percent of African-Americans believing that our own group is the most racist, that poll was brought to you, done by the same people who brought you President Romney.

HAYES: Right, yes, that's right.

COBB: So that tells you the reliability of this. But I think that they are trafficking in the same idea. And I think in some ways, it makes perfect sense because we wouldn't be here were it not for the laws, and some of the laws that really have predicated upon this sense of fear of criminals and specifically black and brown people.

HAYES: What do you mean by that?

COBB: And so when we look at, you know, you know, Mr. Zimmerman, who's been the obviously the emphasis that people have had here for good reason, but he, how do we get to this situation. This is a product, in the same way that maybe Newtown is a product of these liberalizing gun laws-

HAYES: Right.

COBB: -we don't get to the situation with Trayvon Martin without "Stand Your Ground."

HAYES: Right.

COBB: It's a natural byproduct of having laws that really make  proactive self-defense. And so when we're looking at how we got here and say, well, the NRA created this culture of fear, tapped into this culture of fear, and now, we don't know whether or not it`s actually legal to-

HAYES: That's right. It's the same fear that, it's so clear. I mean, we see it every day on Fox. You see it on the Drudge Report. It's this preternatural ability  to reach into the deepest brainstem activity of the fear impulse, and it's the same thing that drives the NRA. It's this kind of paranoid vision, particularly of the moment  when racial violence happens, when Nat Turner is at your door, right? That that is the thing that is being tapped into, even in preparation,  even though the fact that George Zimmerman is on trial is the product of an incredibly disciplined, totally nonviolent protest movement that happened down in Florida.

COBB: Yeah, absolutely, and, you know, the specter of violence is even more, you know, shocking considering the fact that people, when they first saw this, there were 44 days in which people didn't believe there would be any arrest.

HAYES: And there was no specter of justice.

COBB: There was, there's no belief, and, you know, the other thing here is that riots and unrest tend to happen when people expect one outcome and they get something else. I don't think people expect, you know, for there to be a conviction in this case, or people are at least prepared to accept the idea or recognize the idea that there may well be an acquittal.

HAYES: I think people have kind of priced that in as it were. Jelani Cobb from the University of Connecticut, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.