Ed Schultz Decries 'Age of Overzealous Law Enforcement,' Guest Calls Gates 'Rosa Parks' of Profiling

On Thursday night’s edition of The Ed Show on MSNBC, host Ed Schultz covered the Henry Louis Gates arrest controversy not by just insulting cops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but police all across America: "I think we live in an age where we have a lot of overzealous law enforcement, I really do. Now if the law enforcement officials know the community, they should have known that this guy lived there."

Leftist professor Michael Eric Dyson was a Schultz guest. (He also appeared Thursday morning on Today "balanced" with radio host Michael Smerconish, who insisted on reminding the audience that he voted for Obama.) On MSNBC, Dyson called Gates "the Rosa Parks of racial profiling." Even if you believe racial profiling is a huge problem, isn’t Gates a little late in our history to be the Rosa Parks? Wouldn’t he nominate Rodney King or someone from a few decades back? Here’s what Dyson said:

I think it was great of him, Ed, to use his bully pulpit to shine a spotlight on this essential and critical social matter that many people are not familiar with and not aware of, because it doesn’t affect them. The fact that it affected the most prominent and powerful scholar in the history of America for African-American studies shows that he`s, if you will, the Rosa Parks of racial profiling.

Here’s a guy who doesn’t stir up trouble. He doesn’t go around fomenting controversy. He’s very balanced. He’s as at ease, you know, in white America as he is in black America. Yet he was subjected to arbitrary forms of police, in his estimation and what we may think -- police profiling. It was unfortunate, but it also has helped us understand and grapple with an issue that affects millions of other African-American and Latino men.

The saddest thing of both of Dyson's appearances is no one brought up the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of shooting police officer Daniel Faulkner. How is Henry Louis Gates victimized in any way like Faulkner was? But Dyson is a great advocate for getting Abu-Jamal out of prison. Ten years ago, a correspondent for the Revolutionary Communist Party quoted Dyson on his sympathy for the cop-killer at a forum organized by Academics for Mumia Abu-Jamal:

So for me, then, the Mumia Abu-Jamal case is about the person who is able to articulate the interests of minority people not only in terms of color, but in terms of ideology. Because we know what the real deal here is also about. It is about the repression of left-wing, progressive, insightful cultural criticism and political and moral critique aimed at the dominant hegemonic processes of American capitalism and the American state as evidenced in its racist, imperialist and now we might add homophobic and certainly its patriarchal practices.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis