MSNBC Continues Its Assault on Rand Paul's Policies; Connects Civil War, Terrorism of the Klan

MSNBC continued its attack on senatorial candidate Rand Paul on Friday. News Live host Lynn Berry brought on the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim to smear the Republican's libertarian leanings as possibly leading towards bigotry. At no time did Berry mention to her audience that the Huffington Post is an extremely left-wing website.

Instead, Grim was allowed to give a rambling diatribe in which he suggested that Paul's philosophy could be linked to racism and the post-Civil War Ku Klux Klan. (The Kentucky politician was questioned, Wednesday, by Rachel Maddow about the effectiveness of parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.)

Grim theorized, "And this thread goes all the way back to the Civil War." He continued, "Now, there was a campaign of terrorism and it was nothing more, nothing less than terrorism, by the Klan." After describing the effects of the end of Reconstruction, Grim opined, "And when that federal protection left, we had an experiment of what will happen if there's no federal protection against discrimination."

Berry never questioned Grim's leaps in logic. Instead, she responded, "Ryan, you bring up a good point." At one point, she wondered, "Is this sort of the end of it or is this just the beginning?"

Clearly, if MSNBC has anything to say, this is just the beginning of the journalistic assault on Rand Paul.

On Thursday, MSNBC devoted eight segments over 37 minutes to the story.

A transcript of the May 21 segment, which aired at 2:30pm EDT, follows:

LYNN BERRY: Well, Rand Paul is answering his critics today, clarifying his position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul, who won Kentucky's Republican senate nominee [sic], Tuesday is now saying that he supports that legislation. That's despite earlier comments that put that into question. Here's what Paul said this morning.

RAND PAUL [From GMA]: And when they say I'm for repealing the Civil Rights Act, it's absolutely false, never been my position and something that I think is basically just politics.

BERRY: Well, Ryan Grim is with the Huffington Post. Ryan, thanks for being with us. Where does this go from here? While he's clarified his position on whether or not he would have voted for the act, he still hasn't really positioned himself, as far as private businesses and what their rights should be. Is this sort of the end of it or is this just the beginning?

RYAN GRIM: This is just the beginning because this election is going to hinge on the question whether or not somebody who has a political philosophy like Rand Paul's belongs in the Senate. It is very important to think back to what he said earlier about BP. You didn't play that clip. But, he said it's un-American to challenge BP because BP is a corporation that has the freedom to operate in the United States and should, you know, business, it's all part of his- the free enterprise that he was talking about, which also goes back to, uh- which all goes back to his point that, uh, a business owner should be able to discriminate.

BERRY: These are- Go ahead, Ryan.

GRIM: These are both basically two strands of the same thread. And this thread goes all the way back to the Civil War. Right after the Civil War, the reconstruction Congress passed several constitutional amendments and Reconstruction state houses, which included African-American legislators and African-American governors, passed a lot of reform laws. Now there was a campaign of terrorism and it was nothing more, nothing less than terrorism, by the Klan. And it was partly supported the Democratic Party at that time. And it succeeded in driving out the federal government from the south. And the occupation of the south ended. And when that federal protection left, we had an experiment of what will happen if there's no federal protection against discrimination. So, the freedom to discriminate led to more discrimination, not less. And, so, it took 80 years until the '60s until they were able to push that back.

BERRY: Ryan, you bring up a good point. You said the word philosophy, and he's been pretty diligent about saying this is not about race, this is about my philosophy and the question is how will this play out in November? Will Republicans be asked by their constituents, do you support that philosophy, this big government is bad, that purist philosophy, it seems like his colleagues aren't coming to his defense. So, how is this play out in November?

GRIM: They don't want to come to his defense, because once you take it one step further, it becomes abhorrent But, you don't have to disagree with all of libertarians tenets to know that what Rand Paul is saying is wrong. Let's think about it this way. A libertarian will say that you don't have the freedom to punch somebody in the face. They will least grant that. Well, what's worse, getting punched in the face or going to a lunch counter and being told you can't sit there because of the color of your skin? Now, I have never had that experience, but I would imagine that that's worse than getting punched in the face. So, you know, Rand Paul's philosophy is going to be questioned throughout this election. And he's either going to have to do a lot move thinking about his implications or else he's not going to make it.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org