MSNBC Fill-In Host: Conservative Liberal Media Claims Based On Racism

Cenk Uygur, host of the left-wing internet talk show 'The Young Turks,' filled in for MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan during the 4PM ET hour on Wednesday and decried the nation's "shift to the Right." He lamented: "...when I started out I was a liberal Republican. No such thing exists anymore." [Audio available here]

He wondered why the media hadn't reported on the supposed radical shift in American politics and quickly came up with this explanation: "Why the media didn't challenge it is because they [conservatives] kept calling them the liberal media, and why did they call them that? Because during civil rights, they [the media] said 'yeah, black people and white people are the same' and the conservatives at the time said 'damn liberal media,' and, you know, that intimidated the media into not recognizing this trend."

Uygur's liberal guests, author Linda Monk and Wesleyen University professor Claire Potter did not disagree. In fact, Monk made sure to criticize President Eisenhower for his views on civil rights: "...let's not be too celebratory of Eisenhower. He did stand up for the desegregation decisions. He did his job as president. But privately he was known for saying that racial desegregation was social disintegration, so he perhaps wasn't as progressive on the race issue as some would interpret his actions to be."

Here is a transcript of the July 7 exchange:
4:43PM

CENK UYGUR: And Claire, why do you think the spectrum has shifted so much, and another question is why is the media apparently not noticed it at all?

CLAIRE POTTER [PROFESSOR, WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY]: Well, I think one of the things you have to look at is the context. A figure like Eisenhower, for example, was a politician during a period in which the Republicans and the Democrats had a horror of extremism. I think in the 15 or 20 years after World War II, there was a kind of centrist consensus that both extremes were to be avoided and that cooperation should be the norm. Now the only place that didn't really work is race, until the Johnson administration. But for-

LINDA MONK [AUTHOR, THE WORDS WE LIVE BY]: I think you've got McCarthy, though, coming along in the Eisenhower time, and certainly that was within the Republican Party, and that was a strong ideological bent, so I hear what you're saying about there's a concern about extremism, but certainly it had a place during the Republican Party at that time.

POTTER: Sure. I mean, I don't think you're wrong about that, but I think one of the things that you see between 1948 and 1970 is a seismic shift in relation to who is a Democrat and who is a Republican.

MONK: Right.

POTTER: So that there is an enormous liberal block in the Republican Party the Democratic northern liberals are working with.

MONK: Right.

POTTER: And that southern Democrats, who are conservatives and can be brought along with a variety of Democratic initiatives, eventually moved to the Republican Party.

MONK: Right.

POTTER: Over desegregation and busing.

UYGUR: Linda and Claire, I agree with both of you, and by the end of it, you know, I remember, even in my lifetime, when I started out I was a liberal Republican. No such thing exists anymore.

POTTER: You and Nelson Rockefeller.

UYGUR: Yeah. That's wiped off the face of the earth, and so we see how – and part of the movement I think is because – and why the media didn't challenge it – is because they kept calling them the liberal media, and why did they call them that? Because during civil rights, they said 'yeah, black people and white people are the same' and the conservatives at the time said 'damn liberal media,' and, you know, that intimidated the media into not recognizing this trend, I think.

MONK: Well, and let's not – let's not be too celebratory of Eisenhower. He did stand up for the desegregation decisions. He did his job as president. But privately he was known for saying that racial desegregation was social disintegration, so he perhaps wasn't as progressive on the race issue as some would interpret his actions to be.

POTTER: Well-

UYGUR: That's a very fair point. We got to wrap it up right there. Linda and Claire, thank you, both of you, for joining us. Really appreciate it.

MONK: Thanks, Cenk.

POTTER: Thank you.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC