Judy Woodruff sat down for a cordial conversation with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday’s PBS NewsHour, and the veteran anchor was not afraid to play up partisan and racial politics. For her final question, Woodruff asked Reid for his reaction to President Obama’s remarks last week on the Trayvon Martin saga and the plight of black men in America, but she added a second part to the question.
“[W]hat does it say that there’s not a single African-American Democratic member of the U.S. Senate?” Woodruff wondered. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's been nearly two weeks since George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, but the verdict continues to draw heated reaction from across the country.
One of the latest responses came from Shawn Carter -- a rapper better known by his stage name of Jay-Z -- who declared that everyone knows the verdict “was wrong,” and it left him “really angry” because the racism in America is “so blatant.”
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN's New Day used Rep. Steve King's controversial remarks on illegal immigrants to paddle the GOP and hint that bigotry is partly behind opposition to the immigration bill. King had said that for every "valedictorian" illegal immigrant, 100 more are drug smugglers.
"But it's important that he [King] said it, because this is what it's about on some level," said New Day co-host Chris Cuomo on Thursday, as if to expose some Republicans as closet bigots. "There are people who believe this and that's something they have to deal with because they keep making up reasons why they don't like the bill." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
When a CNN guest made an unsubstantiated claim that George Zimmerman called Trayvon Martin a racial slur, CNN's Erin Burnett wouldn't call her on it.
On the July 16 Erin Burnett OutFront, the 2008 Miss Black Massachusetts Safiya Songhai said, "So, I mean the idea that race played a role in the case – yes, it played a role in the case. He [Zimmerman] is on the tape saying "F-ing coons." Automatically it got racial." After she finished speaking, Burnett turned to fellow guest Stephanie Miller, without correcting Songhai's unsubstantiated accusation. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes attacked FNC's Bill O'Reilly for what he called a "super racist rant" because of a commentary the FNC host gave on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor about racial issues.
Hayes charged that such commentary from O'Reilly gives a "cheap, crack-like high" to FNC's "old, fearful white audience." Hayes:
President Obama rarely misses an opportunity to insert himself into an issue. Last Friday, he appeared in the White House pressroom to comment on the George Zimmerman verdict. The president said he could have been Trayvon Martin. Not likely, given his private schooling and the way he was fast-tracked to success.
The president said the history of African-Americans partially explains the way many black people view the case. He spoke of blacks hearing car doors lock as they cross the street and of white women who clutch their purses tightly when a black person enters an elevator.
Appearing on Monday's The Last Word, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor called Rush Limbaugh "dangerous," and accused him of "pimping his audience" in response to the conservative talk radio host's reaction to President Obama's statement on the George Zimmerman verdict. After a clip of Limbaugh, Taylor responded:
On his program last night, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly applauded President Obama for speaking out about the George Zimmerman verdict but argued that Obama, and the self-proclaimed civil rights leadership have been avoiding the larger issues facing black Americans.
Instead of just focusing on how people felt about Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin, O'Reilly urged Obama to talk about illegitimacy, drugs, and how the violent "gangsta" culture encourages young black men to committ crimes.
During his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. declared that he wanted people to “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Almost 50 years later, that dream is still a long way off, judging from the clash on Saturday in which CNN Newsroom's black host Don Lemon told conservative white guest Ben Ferguson that because he doesn't “live as a black man,” he can't understand what people of that race are experiencing. Doesn't that also mean that non-conservatives cannot fully understand and be fair to conservatives? Read on for more.
CNN anchor Don Lemon lectured conservative radio host Ben Ferguson for being quick to pan President Obama's Friday address on race, during Saturday's 4 p.m. ET hour of Newsroom.
Lemon -- who has played the race card by twice comparing traditional marriage supporters to segregationists -- told Ferguson that since he's white, he has a "place of privilege" that minorities don't have and therefore can't fully understand the plight of black people in America. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry made multiple appearances on Friday's MSNBC evening shows to discuss President Obama's surprise statement on the George Zimmerman acquittal, the MSNBC host declared that, after Obama became President, "every move that he made became where he ended up carrying the burden of race," during her appearance on All in with Chris Hayes.
A couple of hours earlier, as she appeared on PoliticsNation, Harris-Perry drew a parallel to the views of former confederates in the 1870s and those in modern times who dismiss liberal preocupation with racial issues. Harris-Perry:
It seems to me that almost every time President Obama talks publicly about race, he stirs things up rather than calms them down. Whether intentional or not, it's unfortunate — and damaging.
It's difficult to express opinions on race that don't conform to the politically correct narrative, because race baiters are always lying in wait to denounce as a bigot anyone who dissents from their assessment. Indeed, many leftists who call for a national dialogue on race routinely brand conservatives as racists — merely because they are conservative — even when they remain silent on racially sensitive issues.
The July 19 broadcast of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” at first seemed to be devoid of any racial themes that usually plague the overly-contrived ABC "News" show. Yet, they needed to insert a racial element to see if bystanders would stop a would-be thief in broad daylight. A man named Uvall is an actor playing your everyday American commuting to work. He parks his car along the front of New York Panini in Huntington, New York. His car has over $10,000 in valuables, which Kevin, another actor who happens to be a white guy will try to steal. He’s mostly successful. Yet, he’s stopped by a naval officer -- a real person, not an actor -- and placed under a citizen’s arrest. Nevertheless, ABC had to play the race game to see if there’s more to Kevin’s success.
During the second go-around in this scenario, Gabriel replaces Kevin. He’s another actor, and he happens to be black. He’s caught every time, and also placed under citizen’s arrest. Yet, is this racism, or more perceptive bystanders, the folks at ABC ask?
One would think that a lawyer like Joe Scarborough would refrain himself from making irresponsible statements surrounding the Trayvon Martin case. Unfortunately, it appears as though MSNBC’s pseudo-conservative is incapable of being reasonable, suggesting that in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, white potheads are fair game for murder.
Appearing on the July 22 Morning Joe, Scarborough ranted against what he called, “really racially intolerant comments that we've been hearing from across the political spectrum” which to most rational people would bring to mind Scarborough's colleague Al Sharpton. Instead, Scarborough was referring to Sean Hannity. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Update, July 24: In audio found here at my home blog, Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara, in a Tuesday discussion with New York talk show host Steve Malzberg, confirmed the accuracy of the "iced tea myth"-related details in this post and in Bill Whittle's video.
Among the more outrageous aspects of the press's negligent coverage of the circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman confrontation is its insistence on describing Martin as having bought "Skittles and iced tea" at a convenience store roughly 40 minutes before Zimmerman, as a neighborhood watch volunteer, spotted him.
The drink was not "iced tea." It has been known that the drink wasn't iced tea for well over a year. Yet at least seven press reports since the verdict, up to and including coverage of this past weekend's demonstrations (examples here and here, at the Associated Press the day after the verdict; here; here; here; here; and here), identified "iced tea" as what Martin purchased. The actual identity of the non-caffeinated drink, AriZona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail -- which appears not to contain a single drop of tea, and which the company has in its "juice drinks" category -- is extremely significant, as will be explained after the jump.
The TalkLeft blog noted last night that the American Civil Liberties Union, after encouraging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman the day after he was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, reversed course just four days later.
Though it's no longer available at its national web site, the Associated Press ran the organization's press release. Various searches at the AP's national web site indicate that there has been no coverage of the organization's reversal. Several center-right blogs have noted the reversal, but no one in the establishment press besides Josh Gerstein at the Politico, where stories the rest of the establishment press would prefer to ignore tend to go and all too often die, has noted it. So did the organization have a change of heart? Or did it attempt to manipulate its media exposure with a politically correct initial press release followed by a legally and constitutionally correct reversal it hopes few will notice?
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Obama-loving media's gushing and fawning over the President's address Friday concerning race and the George Zimmerman verdict has been nothing less than sick-making.
Potentially the most vomitous remark yet came from New York Times columnist David Brooks who actually said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday - with a straight face, no less! - it "was a symphony" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Unlike most of the Obama-loving media, PBS's Tavis Smiley has been deeply critical of the President's comments Friday regarding race and the George Zimmerman verdict.
Smiley continued his criticism on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday saying, "I don't know how he argues he can't lead us in a conversation on this, but he can on gay marriage?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin during their concert at Yankee Stadium Friday night.
In a video captured by a member of the audience, as the couple began their last song of the evening - "Forever Young" - Jay-Z yelled to the crowd, "Everybody put a cell phone and light it up. Let's light the sky for Trayvon Martin tonight in here":
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan had some harsh words for Barack Obama’s address Friday concerning race and the George Zimmerman verdict.
Appearing on PBS’s McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said Obama’s comments were “insidious” adding, “The President has taken sides in what is becoming unfortunately a pretty nasty racial dispute in this country.”
Imagine that FDR, in his first inaugural, instead of rallying Americans with the notion that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," had stoked the nation's unease by harping on how bad the Depression was. If Mike Allen had been around in 1933, perhaps he would have defended FDR by writing "there was plenty of unease before the speech, so it's hard to blame the President."
For that is the same approach that the Politico's Allen took in his Playbook this morning in defending President Obama's divisive remarks of yesterday on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial. Wrote Allen [emphasis added]: "Many conservatives are complaining that the remarks will stoke division and dissension. But there was plenty of that before, so it's hard to blame POTUS." Some might accuse Allen of the soft bigotry of low expectations. More after the jump.
MSNBC's Steve Kornacki took to the air on Sunday morning's edition of Up with a panel comprised exclusively of liberal African Americanshe panel, which was composed of exclusively African-American liberals, all in agreement regarding their disdain for the not-guilty verdict reached in the Zimmerman trial on Saturday. [Link to the audio here]
But Mychal Denzel Smith of The Nation took his disapproval to an entirely different level when he claimed that the defense “invoked the same justification for the killing of Trayvon Martin that you would during lynching.” He claimed that, in showing the jury a picture of a white woman in the neighborhood who has a victim of a robbery, they were claiming that Zimmerman had to protect, to quote Smith, “white womanhood from this vicious black thug,” Trayvon Martin.
MSNBC's Al Sharpton become a "millionaire celebrity" by "stirring the flames of racial discord," but the "Lean Forward" network won't ever admit that to its viewers, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity on the July 18 edition of his eponymous program. "They won't talk about Al Sharpton's record. They won't talk about Crown Heights and the racial discord that he stirred that led to the death of a young Jewish man," the Media Research Center founder noted.
"I believe that Al Sharpton is a racist" and rather than having him hold forth on the fairness of the George Zimmerman trial, "the question to him should have been, 'Who are you to pass judgment on this trial?'!" [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley made some stunning comments concerning the George Zimmerman trial Thursday.
Appearing on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Barkley not only said that he agreed with the verdict, but also that when it comes to race, “I don’t think the media has a pure heart…A lot of these people have a hidden agenda” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot is tantamount to an "assault on black America" that is "unforgettable, and, you could say, unforgivable."
At least according to MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, who opted to close out his July 17 program -- and lead into veteran race-baiter Al Sharpton's PoliticsNation -- with a screed against his native Pennsylvania's voter ID law, the constitutionality of which is being challenged in a state court (video and transcript follow the page break):