Liberal news anchor Thomas Roberts is known for using advocacy journalism to promote liberal policies on his daily MSNBC show. For example, Roberts, who himself is openly gay, will run pro-gay marriage puff pieces on a regular basis.
On May 8 however, Roberts’ liberal puffery reached new heights as he introduced a new segment entitled "The Agenda" which features only "reporters who cover progressive issues."
In other words, this is a newfound way to flaunt all-liberal journalist panels and dress them up as analysis, even though they are, well, agenda pushers. In doing so, Roberts has taken it upon himself to double-down on MSNBC’s image as the network of the left.
The topics on hand for Roberts's first "Agenda" segment were perfect for the lefties at MSNBC: race and gay marriage. The first issue Roberts dealt with whether Charles Ramsey, the concerned citizen who helped rescue three women held captive in Cleveland, Ohio for 10 years, "has gotten just due in the public sphere about how people are reacting to him" because he happens to be black. Yes, seriously, you cannot make this up.
That gave an opportunity to Cheryl Contee of the liberal blog Jack and Jill Politics to lament about the supposed poor treatment Ramsey has received on Twitter, with folks "making fun of someone who is of a different race or different class in some respects."
Neither Roberts or Contee provided actual evidence of any prominent individuals mocking Ramsey, but used an outlier on Twitter to claim that race is a factor in how the rescuers are being treated. Contee’s only legitimate point was that the Cleveland Police had missed numerous opportunities to arrest the perpetrator years ago, having visited the house several times, "I would like to see law enforcement apply the law equally no matter what neighborhood you live in."
Yes, the Cleveland police department's competence, or lack thereof, is what everyone is talking about today, not one or two random jerks on Twitter mocking Charles Ramsey. No wonder you need a "progressive" panel to explore that angle.
Roberts then moved on to his favorite topic, gay marriage, and groaned that, "it doesn't seem like it is being recognized in Washington, D.C. when we talk about the larger issue of immigration reform."
At issue is an amendment to an immigration reform bill being proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would allow same-sex partners of illegal immigrants to obtain a green card, which has experienced major opposition from the Senate "Gang of Eight." Roberts tagged Leahy’s amendment a "stroke of genius," prompting MSNBC senior reporter Zachary Roth to rail against Republicans for opposing the amendment:
I think it is probably more to think of it as Republicans either finding excuses frankly to hop off the train on this for their own reasons or just not being able to bring along their very extreme base that is not willing to go along with this.
This seems to fit in nicely with the rebranding of the MSNBC.com website, which NewsBusters documented is being staffed with numerous liberals, the better to more aggressively push their "Lean Forward" liberal agenda on a daily basis.
See relevant transcript below.
May 8, 2013
11:19 a.m. EST
THOMAS ROBERTS: So race and class, were they a factor in the search for the three missing women in Cleveland and how the rescuers are being treated. And on a different note. While more states are voting in favor of marriage equality, could it sink the bipartisan immigration bill? Those are the hot topics flagged by our panel of reporters who cover progressive issues today. And joining me now Cheryl Contee co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics blog, Chris Geidner senior political and legal reporter for Buzz Feed and Zachary Roth senior reporter for MSNBC.com. It's great to have you all here. And again, we will break away if we do see Amanda Berry come out. So I just want to give you forewarning on that. But Cheryl, I want to start with you because this was something that you flagged us on talking about Charles Ramsey and whether or not he has gotten just due in the public sphere about how people are reacting to him. I know that we have one article talking about exactly people making fun of him and the memes that have come out of this. What is your reaction to how people are saying and questioning are we laughing at Charles Ramsey?
CHERYL CONTEE: Yes I think it's of concern that there are people out there particularly on Twitter where he is being auto tuned where people are asking where his missing teeth are and so forth, making fun of someone who is of a different race or different class in some respects. At the same time, there are some rescuers that we are not hearing from. Angel Cordero who speaks only Spanish, was apparently the first on the scene has been interviewed by local media. And yet it speaks to an even darker under class of people who are just unseen and unheard even when they perform heroic acts.
ROBERTS: And speaking of heroic acts it certainly is in a lot of estimations what Ramsey did is heroic. But when he hear him recount what he has done he doesn't consider himself in that vein, take a listen.
CHARLES RAMSEY: When they keep saying I'm a hero Let me tell you something, I'm American and I'm a human being. I am just like you. I work for a living. There was a woman in distress. So why turn your back on that?
ROBERTS: Cheryl the other thing that I’m amazed by is when asked about whether or not he wants the reward or any type of reward money he is like you can give it to the victims. I like that.
CONTEE: Yeah I like that, too. And I think that Charles Ramsey is American and how we define American is changing in America. And when you look at cases like the Anthony Sowell case, a Cleveland serial killer who was also in a poor neighborhood whose 11 murders went on for years, You know I would like to see law enforcement apply the law equally no matter what neighborhood you live in.
ROBERTS: Yeah it really is interesting when we talk about what is truly defining America these days. And again we wait for Amanda Berry to come out. But we want to shift gears and talk about how America is shifting certainly socially speaking. Zach I want to start with you about this. We want to show a full screen about what’s taking place in this country. A big week when it comes to marriage equality as we’ve seen with Rhode Island and now will Delaware saying that they will now recognize same sex marriage coming up July 1. First this is a big shift again But the governor in Delaware signing this bill into law just yesterday. Rhode Island became the tenth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed as well. They are going to go into affect later this summer. But this is a big political shift. And it doesn't seem like it is being recognized in Washington, D.C. when we talk about the larger issue of immigration reform.
ZACHARY ROTH: Well it doesn't and the way these two issues are colliding and the way this is being framed is often sort of Harry Reid and Democrats are threatening to kind of torpedo the immigration reform bill by inserting these provisions protecting gay couples, as if it is some kind of special interest provision that they are just throwing in there. In fact, this is consistent with the national view on this topic. And so there is a push to make sure that gay couples are included in that So I think it is probably more to think of it as Republicans either finding excuses frankly to hop off the train on this for their own reasons or just not being able to bring along their very extreme base that is not willing to go along with this.
ROBERTS: And Chris when we look down at the state level, Illinois in and of itself was a state that looked like it was going to get marriage equality well before maybe a Rhode Island or well before maybe a Delaware. But there’s been a big shake up with Pat Brady who was the GOP chair who stepped aside because of his support for marriage equality. But you point out what is taking place on the national scene and just wrote a great piece about Senator Leahy and what he’s been able to do and it’s being described as a master stroke of genius when it comes to amendments in the immigration reform bill.
CHRIS GEIDNER: Yeah Thomas. The original proposal that’s been talked about for years would create what's called a permanent partnership to allow same sex couples who are banned by the Defense of Marriage Act from sponsoring their foreign partner for purposes of a green card, would allow them to create what is called a permanent partnership. What senator Leahy did and announced in an amendment he filed to the immigration bill yesterday would actually simply recognize those legal marriages that same sex couples are already in in any of the states that allow same sex marriage or traveled to them or other countries. And would recognize those people for purposes of green cards which is a much more narrow scope and also something that fits with a lot of the federalism arguments that people like Senator Rubio, Senator Portman and Senator Feinstein has talked about.
ROBERTS: That will be really interesting as we see this move forward. Leahy offers the amendments in committee where Democrats hold a 10 to 8 majority. We’ll see where it goes. My thanks to all three of you.