MSNBC's Karen Finney Smears: Racism of Limbaugh Had 'Lethal Consequences' in Killing of Trayvon

MSNBC analyst and Democratic strategist Karen Finney disgustingly smeared Rush Limbaugh and several Republican presidential candidates on Thursday, charging that the racist hate of these conservatives had "lethal consequences" in the case of Trayvon Martin, an African American teen shot in Florida.

After decrying "bigotry and stereotypes tak[ing] over our better judgment," Finney sneeringly insisted that when "Rush Limbaugh calls a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, a magic negro...In the case of Trayvon, those festering stereotypes had lethal consequences." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Since MSNBC chose a Democratic operative to guest host the Martin Bashir show, it shouldn't be surprising that Finney completely misrepresented the facts. Limbaugh did not create the term "magic negro." David Ehrenstein did in the Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2007. He wrote of the then-candidate:

But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."

Limbaugh repeated the words and used the phrase in a skit on his radio show.

Finney also blamed Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney for the shooting:

So, when Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that, quote, "really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash, unless it's illegal," or Rick Santorum says, "I don't want to make black people's lives easier," or Rush Limbaugh calls a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama a magic negro, or Mitt Romney says nothing at all, the effect is dangerous.

This isn't the first time the Martin Bashir show linked horrible acts of violence to conservatives. On January 6, 2012, Bashir highlighted the story of a murdered British teen and ordered Gingrich to "cut out the food stamps rhetoric right now before things get any worse."

A transcript of the March 22 segment, which aired at 3:58pm EDT,


KAREN FINNEY: It's time now to clear the air. When I was a little girl my father and I were pulled over one night on a highway in Virginia. We were headed back to New York after visiting family in Martinsville. I wasn't scared until I heard the police officer order my father out of the car like a criminal, and he said "Boy, you got some ID?" I'd never heard anyone talk to my dad like that. As he got out of the car, he told me not to worry but I have to say the way he said it only frightened me more. My father's offense wasn't speeding.

My father's offense was that he was a black man driving a nice car. To the officer, this seemed out of place, just as a young, black man in a hoodie wrongly seemed out of place to George Zimmerman the night he shot and killed Travvon Martin. Left unchecked or unchallenged our biases, bigotry and stereotypes take over our better judgment. People, in Trayvon Martin's case, a teenager walking home from the store, are dehumanized into some form of other, unworthy of respect and it's justified as a way to make people some kind of separate and unequal status.

So, when Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that, quote, "really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash, unless it's illegal," or Rick Santorum says, "I don't want to make black people's lives easier," or Rush Limbaugh calls a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama a magic negro, or Mitt Romney says nothing at all, the effect is dangerous, because they reinforce and validate old stereotypes that associate the poor and welfare as criminal behavior with African-Americans and people of color, calling us lazy, undeserving recipients of public assistance. In the case of Trayvon, those festering stereotypes had lethal consequences.

You know, early this month, I joined civil rights hero John Lewis in retracing the steps of the civil rights movement through Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. It was very painful of the hate that they endured and had to absorb. But, it was also inspiring to be reminded of the courage that people from all backgrounds, black, white, gay, straight, men, women, conservative, liberal. They refused to let their silence endorse the evil around them. They stood up against the hate, against the racism, and against prejudice.

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