CNN's Piers Morgan and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder had a heated debate Wednesday about the George Zimmerman trial and the prosecution's star witness Rachel Jeantel.
At one point during the exchange, Elder said to Morgan, "If she's one smart cookie, why don't you hire her as a co-host? (video follows with transcribed highlights via CNN.com and commentary):
The fireworks started early:
PIERS MORGAN: You've been pretty scathing about my interview with Rachel Jeantel. Why?
LARRY ELDER: I was because you weren't doing her any favors by condescendingly trying to convince her that she's a victim. This is a young lady who didn't apply herself, a 19-year-old who is still in high school. Instead of saying young lady, take this as an opportunity to take stock of your life. You're treating her like she was a victim.
And that's how you're doing this whole thing about race and racism. Seven thousand murders last year, Piers, of black people, almost all of those were committed by black people. Since Trayvon Martin had his unfortunate death there have been 480 blacks killed in Chicago alone, 75 percent of those crimes have been unsolved. Where are the cameras? Where are the shows? It's outrageous to act as if --
MORGAN: Well, hang on.
ELDER: -- Black America --
MORGAN: OK. Larry --
ELDER: Black America should fear some non-black guy stalking some black kid at night. The likelihood of a black person being killed by a non-black person is extremely remote which is why this became a big national issue in the first place, Piers.
As Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara said, if this had been another black-on-black crime, there never would have been a trial and the media including Morgan wouldn't have batted an eye.
But have an incident that allows the left and their media minions to stoke racial tensions in the nation, and it's game on.
Fortunately for viewers, that was just the beginning:
ELDER: I'm quite calm. I'm just bothered by how you're handling all of this.
MORGAN: Larry. Let me speak, Larry.
ELDER: Making black people as if they're (INAUDIBLE). It's nonsense. It's nonsense.
MORGAN: Larry, I --
ELDER: You're a liberal guy, bleeding heart liberal person. You think you're doing something for black people. You're not. You're making black people feel as if they're under siege. It is not true. It's an outrage.
Indeed it is.
Sadly, Morgan isn't alone for this is what his colleagues throughout the media have done since this incident happened.
But there were still more fireworks:
MORGAN: Let's get back to my interview with Rachel Jeantel because you tweeted some ridiculous things. You tweeted at one stage, would I like Rachel Jeantel to fly my plane? Why would you say that?
ELDER: I'll tell you why I said that, Piers. I'll tell you why I said that because after you interviewed her you condescendingly went on television the next morning and called her one smart cookie. Bull. Why don't you hire her as a nanny? Let's see how smart she is. It's a condescending kind of thing that a lot of white people say --
MORGAN: Do you think she's stupid, Larry?
ELDER: -- to black people. I think you're stupid for saying that kind of thing to try to get black people against --
MORGAN: That wasn't my question.
ELDER: Race and racism is the --
MORGAN: Do you think Rachel Jeantel --
ELDER: When it doesn't.
MORGAN: Do you think she's stupid, Larry?
ELDER: Racism is not a major problem in America anymore, Piers. Racism is not a major problem in America anymore. The number one problem facing black people are the large number of black people born outside of wedlock, 75 percent. In 1960, 5 percent of all people in this country were born outside of wedlock. Fast forward, Piers, the number now is 43 percent.
You look at that for crime, dropouts, all that kind of stuff, it's connected. The other big problem facing black America, Piers, is the economy. One in two black men does not have a job and one of the heads of the commercial black caucus once said if a white person were in the White House we would be marching on the place because of the high unemployment, but we're talking about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman as if it's the number one problem facing black America? It is a remotely on the top 10 list, Piers.
And a few minutes later:
MORGAN: OK, Larry. Larry. I do feel sorry for some people. That is true. I wasn't aware that was a terrible offense. But let me get back to Rachel Jeantel again because you were scathing -- you were scathing --
ELDER: It's a very offensive thing if you recommend the wrong things to do, Piers.
MORGAN: Larry, let me speak. Larry.
ELDER: If you tell people, I feel sorry for you.
ELDER: This person is a bigot. This person shouldn't have cross- examined you the way he did. Then all you're doing is creating a victim. You're telling Rachel Jeantel that she shouldn't have to work hard, she shouldn't have to work on her diction, she shouldn't have to improve her grammar, just have her wave the flag of victimhood and she'll be perfectly OK. It is an outrage that the left has done to black people and you are part of this parade.
MORGAN: Thank you, Larry. Just out of interest, how many languages do you speak?
ELDER: I don't speak Ebonics as well as Rachel, if that's what you mean.
MORGAN: No, how many languages do you speak, was the question.
ELDER: And the relevance of that is what?
MORGAN: You don't think she's a smart cookie. She speaks three languages fluently, how many do you speak?
Yes, despite Jeantel having obvious problems with English, Morgan actually said "she speaks three languages fluently."
You can't make this stuff up!
ELDER: Oh, really? You think she's a smart cookie.
ELDER: So you want to bring it back to Rachel. That's not what we're talking about here.
MORGAN: I think you're being -- I want to bring it back to Rachel because she was why I booked you, Larry.
ELDER: How you treated black people like children to whom the truth cannot be told. Rachel Jeantel needs to get her act together. If my mother were alive she would say, how dare she speak like that?
MORGAN: Do you know her educational background, Larry?
ELDER: I know how she presented herself on the jury.
MORGAN: Larry, do you know her educational background or not?
ELDER: People evaluate you the way -- based on the way you express yourself.
MORGAN: Larry, do you know her educational background.
ELDER: No, I don't.
MORGAN: This woman -- this young 19-year-old black woman that you are eviscerating for her lack of intelligence, do you have any idea about her background?
ELDER: Why don't you hire her if she's so sharp as a co-host, Piers?
MORGAN: No, no. That wasn't the question, Larry.
ELDER: If she's one smart cookie, why don't you hire her as a co-host?
All of these people in the media championing Jeantel ought to hire her to some important position within their organization to prove just how smart a cookie she is.
Somehow I doubt CNN will be doing that anytime soon.
Elder had the last word:
MORGAN: Why would you -- why would you be so scathing about Rachel Jeantel and so patronizing to a young woman who's clearly been through an appalling ordeal and who when I interviewed I found to be a smart cookie like I said. I found her to be fun, warm, engaging, street smart, and clearly from her educational background nowhere near as stupid as you'd like to think she is.
ELDER: Once again, I never used the word stupid. You did. She was the most important witness in a murder trial. It was -- she was standing between George Zimmerman and 30 years in jail and for you to act as if she was somehow abused by Don West whose job was to make sure his client didn't go to jail is outrageous.
And as far as education is concerned, I applaud Mr. Joyner. He's done a lot of work in the black community for education. And I would recommend, Piers, that we do something about the 50 percent dropout rate in the inner city and about the fact that President Obama opposes allowing parents to use vouchers to get their kids out of bad government schools and into a better school so they can have a possibility to get to the middle class.
That's what we've got to be talking about here instead of some abhorrent situation like George Zimmerman going to somebody that he thinks is suspicious and they have an exchange and there's an unfortunate death as if somehow that some sort of indictment of America and black people should look over their shoulders every night and act as if some white guy is going to jump out of a bush and get them.
It is outrageous. Hard work wins. Get an education. Don't pay attention to the negative people and stay focused and you'll be OK in America. That's why most of the people in the world want to come here. That's why you want to come here, Piers.
Nicely said, Larry. Bravo!
*****Update: As a result of this interview, Twitter exploded Wednesday evening with a barrage of vulgar racial epithets towards Elder.