Congressman Alan Grayson Accuses MSNBC's Martin Bashir of Collaborating With the Tea Party
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) this week sent out a fundraising email equating Tea Party members to the Ku Klux Klan.
On Friday, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir actually called Grayson out for doing this only to have the Congressman accuse him of collaborating with the Tea Party (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MARTIN BASHIR, HOST: How can you possibly compare racist epithets with the racist actions of the KKK which actually led to racist murders?
CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRAYSON (D-Fla.): Well, today, Martin, the home of discrimination and bigotry in our country and our political system is the Tea Party in the same way that the home of bigotry and discrimination generations ago was the Ku Klux Klan. I'm pleased that we haven't gone so far as to see those murders, but the analogy holds to that degree. In fact, we saw it on your show last week when Larry Klayman exhibited gross racism. We saw it last week when a Confederate flag was waived in front of the White House by Tea Party fanatics.
BASHIR: Sure. No, I accept what you're saying, sir, but I have to ask you: on the night of June 21st, 1964, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were lynched by the KKK near Philadelphia, Mississippi. How many young black and white civil rights workers has the Tea Party lynched?
GRAYSON: Martin, I have given a reproduction of the painting of that incident to our local African-American History Museum. I am well aware of what you're describing. Sometimes analogies are imperfect. But the fact remains…
BASHIR: So do you accept…
GRAYSON: Let me finish, Martin.
BASHIR: …that that may have been an inappropriate analogy?
GRAYSON: No, and I'll tell you why. Because the modern-day torch bearers for the civil rights movement, the NAACP, three years ago implored the Tea Party to remove the racists from their midst and they failed to do so. And two years ago, another African-American Congressman said specifically, "You and me, they’d like us hanged from a tree." And yet still, even after that, the racism continues.
GRAYSON: So no, I think the point is valid, and in fact what needs to be done is for the Tea Party to expunge the racists from their midst.
BASHIR: Okay, now look, the GOP civil war is due in large part because it cannot prevent and often will not condemn some of its most hateful members from making the most, you know, incendiary and discriminatory comments. Don't you yourself thereby debase your own party by arguing on their level?
GRAYSON: [Laughs] Martin, do you think that racism is the same as calling out racism? Do you think that my effort to end racism in America is somehow analogous to racism itself? That's ridiculous.
BASHIR: No, no. What I'm saying to you sir, though, is that you have heard your colleague, John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) say that he felt that wasn't the best analogy, that using that kind of example is inappropriate. And doesn't it actually denude the very evil of the KKK, who did perpetrate such horrific murders upon people? I mean, let's be honest, the Tea Party has not done that.
GRAYSON: I imagine that John Yarmuth does not have e-mails from Tea Party members going to him saying, “Go to hell, Jew boy,” or “I wish it were you on that cross.” So maybe John Yarmuth does see it differently from the way I do.
BASHIR: Mr. Grayson, I receive e-mails from people regularly describing me in the most inappropriate terms and asking that I be murdered and shot and hung. I accept that that happens. The point I'm simply making to you is that is it appropriate to use such heinous crimes and to analogize them when describing the Tea Party when you and I know members of the Tea Party have not perpetrated murders or lynchings?
GRAYSON: And the point I'm making to you, Martin, is that if you don't speak out against it, then in effect, you're collaborating with it. And, in fact, if you give someone like me a hard time for speaking out against it, then maybe you're collaborating with it.
BASHIR: I am not collaborating with it, but Representative Alan Grayson we’ve run out of time. Thank you, sir, for joining us.
GRAYSON: Thank you, Martin.
I of course don't agree with Bashir's depiction of Limbaugh, Palin, or the Tea Party.
However, it was nice to see someone - especially on MSNBC - call out Grayson for his absurdity.
Maybe the rest of Bashir's colleagues as well as all liberal media members will realize that Grayson is actually the most extreme member of Congress - not members of the Tea Party - and therefore should be ignored.