Liberal 'Young Turks' Co-host: Santorum Didn't Slam Black People in Speech

While various liberal media outlets have been busy trying to smear former senator Rick Santorum as a racist for supposedly saying, "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," at a campaign event, other intellectually honest liberals have rendered a different verdict.

One of them, Mediaite writer Tommy Christopher, noted today how "Young Turks" co-host Jayar Jackson thinks the Santorum is unfairly being criticized for what, in context, seems to have been a candidate tripping over a verbal tic (emphases mine):


On Monday, we reported on Rick Santorum‘s supposed use of the words “black people” during a campaign event in Iowa Sunday, and I was apparently the only person in the non-conservative world who thought he hadn’t said it. I faced a fair amount of pushback on the issue, which was, thankfully, mostly polite. I discussed the issue on Twitter with Salon‘s Joan Walsh, who asked, in good faith, if anyone else agreed with me. Few did.

Since then, I’ve been joined on this lonely island by The Plumline‘s Greg Sargent, and now, The Young Turks‘ Jayar Jackson, who explained, last night, that he didn’t think Santorum said “black people,” but more importantly, that the issue is somewhat moot. Host Cenk Uygur, for his part, still wasn’t buying it.

“I remember…when this first came out, it seemed like it was a bit of a stumble,” Jayar said, adding, “I feel like you didn’t hear the full word.”

“You’re crazy, man, you’re crazy!” Cenk exclaimed. “You just saw the tape!”

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On Monday, we reported on Rick Santorum‘s supposed use of the words “black people” during a campaign event in Iowa Sunday, and I was apparently the only person in the non-conservative world who thought he hadn’t said it. I faced a fair amount of pushback on the issue, which was, thankfully, mostly polite. I discussed the issue on Twitter with Salon‘s Joan Walsh, who asked, in good faith, if anyone else agreed with me. Few did.

Since then, I’ve been joined on this lonely island by The Plumline‘s Greg Sargent, and now, The Young Turks‘ Jayar Jackson, who explained, last night, that he didn’t think Santorum said “black people,” but more importantly, that the issue is somewhat moot. Host Cenk Uygur, for his part, still wasn’t buying it.

“I remember…when this first came out, it seemed like it was a bit of a stumble,” Jayar said, adding, “I feel like you didn’t hear the full word.”

“You’re crazy, man, you’re crazy!” Cenk exclaimed. “You just saw the tape!”

Now, hopefully, this is the last time I have to get inside Rick Santorum’s head, but it seems clear to me that he did stumble, that he got ahead of himself and started to say “make lives better,” but in mid-word, tried to correct it to “make people’s lives better,” and it came out as “make mmbligh people’s lives better.”

Here’s the TYT clip, which loops Santorum’s remarks together a few times. I’m hearing a long “I” sound, and no hard “K” sound:


It doesn’t really matter how many, or few, people agree with me, I’m either right or I’m wrong. I mention Jayar and Greg Sargent simply as a way to dispel, for anyone who doesn’t know me, the notion that I have any interest in defending Rick Santorum for any reason other than the merits.

By the same token, I don’t think Joan Walsh, or Keith Olbermann, or CBS News and NPR, are acting in bad faith when they report Santorum’s remark as “black people,” because yeah, that’s what it sounds like. Additionally, Santorum really didn’t help matters by waiting three days to explain himself. I contacted his campaign multiple times over that period with a link to the video, and it is fair to ask why, the first few times he was asked about it, he hadn’t seen the clip yet. Most people, upon being asked about a racist comment they might have made, would immediately check the video.

This demonstrates, at best, a disturbing apathy on Santorum’s part, that he didn’t care enough to take 30 seconds to watch the video I sent him four times (and was also forwarded to him by a conservative colleague). Furthermore, I sympathize with liberals who think his days-late explanation sounds like bullshit, exactly because it so closely matches the explanation in the column I sent him four times.

That doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t say “black people,” and the fact that he didn’t say “black people” (as Jayar alludes), doesn’t mean that Santorum isn’t a hateful bigot. It matters because it’s the truth.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters