CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Liberal Guest Team Up to Attack Breitbart Editor Over 'Critical Race Theory'

When Breitbart.com's Joel Pollak went on CNN and connected then-law student Barack Obama to radical Harvard professor Derrick Bell, CNN guest Jay Thomas of Sirius radio began creepily asking Pollak if he was afraid of violence from black people, on Thursday morning's Starting Point.

During the chippy segment, host Soledad O'Brien fiercely defended Bell and insisted that Obama's previous support of him was a non-story. She accused Pollak of "misreading" Bell's critical race theory, even though the professor has clearly espoused radical views in his past, including writing a fictional account of how blacks would be sold to aliens as slaves. O'Brien also failed to disclose that she herself is an admitted admirer of Bell's.

"At every point in his life when he [Obama] could have followed the path of Martin Luther King, he threw in his lot with the Jeremiah Wrights and the Derrick Bells of the world," asserted Pollak. "And it's important not just because of what Obama believes but it's important to vet the media."

Jay Thomas stepped in to bully the conservative editor. "Can I say something as a white person? What are you frightened of?" he pointedly asked.  "Are you frightened that some black people are going to do something to you?"

Then when Pollak explained his case against Obama and the media's cover-up of his support for Bell's critical race theory, Thomas again offered a non sequitur retort. "So, you want him to take it easy on the white supremist [sic] groups?" he posed.

And O'Brien herself was not happy that Pollak attacked the President. After all, she's a fan of Bell's work.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 8 on Newsroom at 8:09 a.m. EST, is as follows:

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Okay. So then let's go back to the clips that I just showed. What part of that was the bombshell? Because I missed it. I don't get it. What was a bombshell?

POLLAK: Well, the bombshell is the revelation of the relationship between Obama and Derrick Bell. Obama didn't just lead a protest –

O'BRIEN: Okay. So he's a Harvard law student and Harvard law professor, yeah?

POLLAK: That's correct. And Derrick Bell is the Jeremiah Wright of academia. He passed away last year, but during his lifetime he developed a theory called critical race theory which holds that the civil rights movement was a sham and that white supremacy is the order and it must be overthrown.

O'BRIEN: So, that is a complete misreading. I'll stop you there for a second. And then I'm going to let you continue. But that is a complete misreading of critical race theory, as you know. That's an actual theory. And you could Google it and someone would give you a good definition of it. So, that's not correct, but keep going.

POLLAK: Well, in what way is it – in what way is it a critical misreading? Can you explain to me? Do you what critical – explain to your readers what critical theory race is. Explain to your viewers.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to ask you to continue on. I'm just going to point out that that is inaccurate. Keep going. Tell me what the bombshell is. I haven't seen it –

POLLAK: Well, wait a minute. You've made a claim – you've made a claim that my characterization of critical race theory is the opposite of Martin Luther King, is inaccurate. You're telling your viewers that. But you're not telling why it is.

O'BRIEN: Critical race theory looks into the intersection of race and politics and the law – and as a legal academic who would study this and write about it, he would advance the theory about what exactly happened when the law was examined in terms of racial politics. There is no white supremacy in that. It is a theory. It's an academic theory. And as one of the leading academics at Harvard Law School, he was one of the people as part of that conversation. So that is a short definition of it.

POLLAK: I'm glad we've got you saying that on tape because that's a complete misrepresentation. Critical race theory is all about white supremacy. Critical race theory holds that civil rights laws are ineffective, that racial equality is impossible because the legal and constitutional system in America is white supremacist –

O'BRIEN: What I just said the intersection of race and politics when it comes to under the law –

POLLAK: You said white supremacy is not part of it.

O'BRIEN: I'm trying to figure out what's the bombshell. Get back on track. What's the bombshell?

(Crosstalk)

POLLAK: No, this is critical. This is critical.

O'BRIEN: It's not critical. What's the bombshell?

POLLAK: This is critical. You can't derail this, Soledad. White supremacy is the heart of critical race theory and Obama knew it.

And by the time Obama embraced him at Harvard Law School, Derrick Bell had already given a speech in Chicago just two months before that caused a sensation which was about how white supremacy was still the order of the day and that black people were fooling themselves if they thought civil rights and equality were achievable goals. He said this. And one of the people who came to his defense, by the way, was Jeremiah Wright with whom Bell had correspondence over the years. This is a connection that is very important.

O'BRIEN: So your point, you're trying to make the point that Derrick Bell was somehow a serious radical. Is that what you're trying to say, and by connecting President Obama to Derrick Bell, a Harvard law student to a Harvard law professor, the first black tenured professor at Harvard Law School, you're trying to make that connection? Is that the bombshell?

POLLAK: Don't believe me, believe Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who said that Derrick Bell had a blind spot for anti-Semitism. Don't believe me, believe one of Derrick Bell's fellow African-American colleagues at Harvard –

O'BRIEN: There are plenty of people who debated – there are plenty of people who debated that theory. There's no question about it. But if your point – if your bombshell is that Derrick Bell is a radical, is that what you're trying to say? I'm just trying to understand what the bombshell is, because I haven't seen a bombshell yet.

POLLAK: The bombshell – the bombshell is happening right here on this program where we've got a story and you're not interested in telling your viewers who Derrick Bell actually is. You want to come in and obfuscate and tell me that I don't know what critical race theory is, that white supremacy has nothing to do with it, that Barack Obama was just embracing a guy.

This is about Barack Obama's connection to a radical legal theory that he didn't just embrace when he was a student at Harvard. When he was a teacher at the University of Chicago, he forced his students to read Derrick Bell, including some of the most inflammatory readings –

O'BRIEN: A lot of law students read Derrick Bell. It's part of the – you really do not understand critical race theory, number one –

THOMAS: Can I say something as a white person? What are you frightened of?

O'BRIEN: I don't know. I don't get it.

THOMAS: Are you frightened that some black people are going to do something to you? You have a group of individuals – if you and I were black we would be madder than hell, but we're not. And so, we are white people. There are more white people than black people. And so there's a struggle that's been going on and so in a struggle you talk about a lot of things. There's anger. There's resentment.

And so, what are you frightened of? What do you think Barack Obama's going to do? Is there a secret black movement that's going to start killing white people? What are you talking about? As a white guy.

POLLAK: I'm glad that you – I'm glad you played the racism card. You've accused me of being a racist.

THOMAS: White. I've accused you of being white. It's all I've accused you of.

POLLAK: No, you've accused me of being afraid of black people. And it doesn't even deserve a response. But let me respond anyway.

THOMAS: Sure.

POLLAK: No, I'm not afraid that black people are going to be violent and take over the country. What I'm pointing out is that there's a pattern in Barack Obama's associations with Derrick Bell, with Reverend Wright, and it carries over into his governance because his Justice Department won't treat black civil rights violators the same way that it treats white civil rights violators. That there's a racial pattern in which justice is enforced in this country. And it also gives us a sense into how Barack Obama thinks about these issues.

At every point in his life when he could have followed the path of Martin Luther King, he threw in his lot with the Jeremiah Wrights and the Derrick Bells of the world. And it's important not just because of what Obama believes but it's important to vet the media. The mainstream media covered this up –

THOMAS: So, you want him to take it easy on the white supremist [sic] groups?

POLLAK: That's exactly the opposite.

THOMAS: Is that it? I'm just asking. You know, I mean it. I'm just asking.

POLLAK: Yes. Why don't you just ask the question – why don't you ask the question without knowing a thing about me or what I believe. This is typical mainstream media behavior. I'm challenging you –

THOMAS: I'm just looking at your skin. That's all I'm looking at. I'm just talking white guy to white guy.

POLLAK: So you're – oh, you're judging me by the color of my skin.

THOMAS: Yes, I am. I sure am.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center