MSNBC Contributor Dyson Makes Incoherent Race Rant While Discussing Obama/Holder DOJ's Probe of AP

MSNBC is known for having bizarrely liberal commentators dubbed “political analysts” who hold forth their opinions while others on the panel nod in agreement. One such frequent panelist is Georgetown University's Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

But on Wednesday's Now with Alex Wagner, Dyson went to new bizarre and nonsensical heights in his reaction to the controversy involved the Obama/Holder DOJ secretly subpoenaing the phone records of AP reporters. And yes, before you ask, the "Debating Race" author tossed in some absurd reference to race even though it had absolutely nothing to do with the story. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]

The segment began with host Alex Wagner mocking those who objected to the White House’s investigation in the AP for publishing a story that the Obama Administration believed threatened national security. Seeking to change the storyline to one that bashes conservatives, Wagner, in her typical liberal mentality, commented that:

We wanted to rewind the clock back to last year when there was this hue and cry about leaks, and everyone was sort fanatical about being the White House being more aggressive in its pursuit of leaks. Now, you may disagree with how the White House pursued the leaks, but it seems to me somewhat hypocritical now for everybody to turn around and say this is outrageous that the White House did this.

Following the BBC’s Katty Kay’s defense of the AP over its First Amendment concerns, Prof. Dyson went into a long rant that to the rest of the panel made no sense, not that they called him out on it, of course:

And to Katty's point, obviously don't know the whole story there, but the reality is there has to be some kind of hard and fast distinction made between [sic]’s ability to aggressively pursue knowledge that is in the public's interest to balance that against the national interests. And if the national interest is at stake, I'm glad you replayed this, because the hue and cry, the strum on the drum that was there, my God, in every other Latin and German phrase you can invoke, it was horrible, it’s devastating what are they going to do?

Dyson didn’t stop there, incoherently bringing in the issue of race into the story:

And then when they jump on the other side to say we're going to check out what's going on here, for me the press gets its comeuppance, now you know how that feels, now you're on the other side of that, and given the fact that the media reported that there not that many people of color in this, I just gotta say wow who is really at stake here when it comes to media's oversight of itself. It can't even control the borders and boundaries of propriety within itself.

It’s not quite clear what the lack of black reporters at the AP or members of Congress involved in the scandal has to do with the severity of the story. Dyson has a notorious history of dragging race into every topic of conversation, so it should come as no surprise to the readers of NewsBusters that his latest rant is just as bizarre as his past ones. Apparently this is what counts as “political analysis” at MSNBC.

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

Now w/ Alex Wagner

May 15, 2013

12:03 p.m. Eastern

ALEX WAGNER: The administration now finds itself between a rock and a hard place on the question of national security versus freedom of the press. Their position is even more uncomfortable given this week's assertion by the A.P. that when they published their report on the foiled bomb plot in Yemen, the White House itself was preparing to announce the very same thing. Joining me today "New York Times" Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni, DEMOS Vice President Heather McGee. Katty Kay is the anchor of BBC World America and an MSNBC contributor, and Georgetown University professor and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson. Katty, we wanted to rewind the clock back to last year when there was this hue and cry about leaks, and everyone was sort fanatical about being the White House being more aggressive in its pursuit of leaks. Now, you may disagree with how the White House pursued the leaks, but it seems to me somewhat hypocritical now for everybody to turn around and say this is outrageous that the White House did this.

KATTY KAY: Look, it is the job of journalists to try and find out as much information as they can, and it is the job of the administration and of people on the intelligence committee in the Senate to try to protect national security. And there are going to be times when those two jobs come into conflict and that’s exactly what we’re seeing at the moment. There is a tendency in administrations, and it was true in the Bush administration as well, to cite national security concerns when they are prosecutes leaks as hard as they are doing at the moment. The A.P. says the White House was about to release this story, they had been cooperating with the white house on not releasing this story earlier, and they didn't feel that national security interests where are valid in this particular case. We don't know all the details of how this is going to pan out, but we are journalists, therefore journalists are bound to say they are outraged by this, and there is a certain amount of validity in wanting to make sure that freedom of the press is protected, even when it's inconvenient to the administration

WAGNER: I think we should draw a difference here between the press being outraged and elected representatives being outraged by this Michael Eric Dyson, because it's one thing for congressional Republicans who were pressing for more aggressive pursue of leakers to now say how dare you now aggressively pursue leakers. It's a totally different thing I think for press to say this is an infringement on the First Amendment.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Of course that's right. And to Katty's point, obviously don't know the whole story there, but the reality is there has to be some kind of hard and fast distinction made between [sic]’s ability to aggressively pursue knowledge that is in the public's interest to balance that against the national interests. And if the national interest is at stake, I'm glad you replayed this, because the hue and cry, the strum on the drum that was there, my God, in every other Latin and German phrase you can invoke, it was horrible, it’s devastating what are they going to do? And then when they jump on the other side to say we're going to check out what's going on here, for me the press gets its comeuppance, now you know how that feels, now you're on the other side of that, and given the fact that the media reported that there not that many people of color in this, I just gotta say wow who is really at stake here when it comes to media's oversight of itself. It can't even control the borders and boundaries of propriety within itself. So there's a lot of stuff on the table here, and I just think we have to be careful before wet get outraged at the president and at the same time understand that we need to have our phone records not being invaded by arbitrary reasons of the Department of Justice.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.