Oops: CNN Guest Who Accused SCOTUS of Using the N-Word Tries to Run From His Words

As NewsBusters reported yesterday, CNN guest Tim Wise accused the Supreme Court of racism, saying they "basically called 40 million black folks that [N-word] without saying it" through their rulings on the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action.

Then on Tuesday night, Wise tried to sidestep his words and claim he didn't "exactly" say that, although he did "exactly" say that. "That was what a lot of white conservatives were attacking me for today, basically saying that I had, you know, essentially accused John Roberts of calling 40 million black folks the N-word. That's not exactly what I said," Wise argued on Tuesday's OutFront.

Wise did "exactly" say that on Monday's OutFront:

"I mean, the reality is, we have a Supreme Court that in the last ten days has just basically called 40 million black folks that [N-word] without saying it by restricting or limiting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and basically ending for all intent and purpose or, at least, limiting in many ways, affirmative action."

Wise's ultimate point, that he made again on Tuesday, was the Court did more to advance racism than Paula Deen did:

"What I said was the Supreme Court, by its actions, and certain members of Congress, by their inaction to fix what the Supreme Court has done, are going to, in effect, create a bigger problem institutionally with racism than Paula Deen or anyone using that [N-word] ever could."

Wise may be correct that his larger argument was overshadowed by his N-word accusation, but he can't run from his words. He shamefully accused the Court's majority in the two cases of "basically calling" black people the N-word, and instead of owning up to his words he tried to shift away from them, blaming "white conservatives" for misreading him. Is this the type of guest CNN wishes to host to discuss racial issues?

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Erin Burnett OutFront on July 2 at 7:51 p.m. EDT:

TIM WISE: If I could point out, I think one of the things that I noticed in the reaction to my comments, other than there were people of color who felt bad about the fact, not angry at me but at the fact as a white man, I'm given so much more credibility for the things I say about race than folks of color.

Some of the white folks who are critical I think were most critical -- I'm talking now conservative whites – were most critical of the larger point I was trying to make at the beginning of the segment which was, yeah, the N-word is obviously a problem and racial slurs, but I was – I said  last night, I was more concerned and am more concerned about, as Safiya said, the treatment, let's say the Supreme Court decision that is going to limit the Voting Rights Act and make it easier for states to restrict voting access for people of color, whether on purpose or just by effect. To me that's a form of institutional bias. That's a much bigger issue, right, than the use of the N-word.

That was what a lot of white conservatives were attacking me for today, basically saying that I had, you know, essentially accused John Roberts of calling 40 million black folks the N-word. That's not exactly what I said. What I said was the Supreme Court, by its actions, and certain members of Congress, by their inaction to fix what the Supreme Court has done, are going to, in effect, create a bigger problem institutionally with racism than Paula Deen or anyone using that word ever could.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: And it may be apples and oranges, and it may not be, but so many people say look, words matter and words can lead to action, and action can create words. But it's a chicken and the egg problem. I think that words are critical as well as action.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014