MSNBC's Hayes Derides FNC 'Obsession' with 'Knockout Game' That Targets Whites

On Monday's All In with Chris Hayes, host Hayes for a second time griped over Fox News giving attention to reports of primarily black teens playing a "knockout game" in which they target white victims for violence, suggesting that the game does not really exist.

As he awarded his choice for the "over-covered" and "under-covered" news stories for the year, Hayes began:

Over-covered is the Fox News/Drudge obsession with the so-called "Knockout Game," which this is a flavor of what that, and this has been on Fox all the time.

After playing several clips from various FNC shows, the MSNBC host added:

You get a sense of the racial politics and subtext, or not even subtext, text of that.

On Wednesday, November 27, during a pre-Thanksgiving special designed to advise viewers on how to deal with conservative relatives at Thanksgiving Day gatherings, Hayes had first tried to cast doubt on Fox News attention to the "Knockout Game." He teased the segment:

Have you heard of the "Knockout Game"? If your relatives watch Fox News, I guarantee they've heard of it. What it is and why it's not actually a thing, next.

Even while conceding that NBC's Today show had also mentioned the "Knockout Game," Hayes still managed to pick on Fox News. After several clips from FNC shows, the MSNBC host added:

If you don't watch Fox, it's possible you haven't heard of this supposed trend called the "Knockout Game." It has appeared on the Today show, so it has been in more mainstream outlets.

After declaring that "teenagers shouldn't beat people up," he recalled:

But I remember this strikes so much. I remember I grew up in New York City in the 90s, and we had very high rates of crime. There was a woman in Central Park who was raped. There were accounts that said teenagers were singing Wild Thing, "wilding." And there were covers of the New York papers about the new trend of "wilding." Teen "Park Marauders call it "wilding." And this was a thing that was going on. And there never was such a thing.

He then tried to discredit the existence of the "Knockout Game":

And I see no evidence. And I want to read this from the NYPD in response to the "Knockout." This is the New York City Police Department saying, "There is particular concern within the department that widespread coverage could create the atmosphere where such a game could take hold in New York."

You basically have Ray Kelly, who is not necessarily like Mr. Bleeding heart liberal, saying, "I don't really see evidence this is a real thing, and I am concerned that the press is going to make it a real thing."

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Monday, December 23, and the Wednesday, November 27, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

#From December 23:

CHRIS HAYES: All right, quickly, my over-covered, under-covered. Over-covered is the Fox News/Drudge obsession with the so-called "Knockout Game," which this is a flavor of what that, and this has been on Fox all the time. Take a listen.

BILL O'REILLY, FNC: "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, another example of young black Americans committing senseless crimes.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, FNC: The horrifying and deadly new trend sweeping the country called the "Knockout Game."

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FNC: The game? Well, young teens try to knock out a random victim with one brutal punch.

SEAN HANNITY, FNC: Young men involved reportedly just do it, quote, "for the fun of it." Pretty sick, pretty disturbing.

BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE, ON FNC: It's being suppressed by the news media. The liberal news media doesn't want to say exactly what it is. It's gangs of black youths attacking whites.

HAYES: You get a sense of the racial politics and subtext, or not even subtext, text of that.

And my under-covered story, this year we passed a landmark, 400 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. You might think to yourself, 400 parts per million, what the heck does that mean?

Okay, look at this. This is the past 800,000 years, and that's carbon in the atmosphere. And what you see is that it bounces between 200 parts per million and 300 parts per million for 800,000 years. And this year, it crossed 400 parts per million.

A lot of people think the safest level we can have is 350 parts per million, hence the name of the group, 350.org. We are headed towards 450, and after that, Lord knows what, and that got zero, zero coverage. And the other thing that didn't get coverage is this headline from The Guardian about the billion dollars that conservative groups have been spending to combat action on climate change.

#From November 27:

CHRIS HAYES: All right. Have you heard of the "Knockout Game"? If your relatives watch Fox News, I guarantee they've heard of it. What it is and why it's not actually a thing, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BILL O'REILLY, FNC: Another example of young black Americans committing senseless crimes.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, FNC: The horrifying and deadly new trend sweeping the country called the "Knockout Game."

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FNC: The game? Well, young teens try to knock out a random victim with one brutal punch.

SEAN HANNITY, FNC: Young men involved reportedly just do it, quote, "For the fun of it."

BO DIETL, FNC CONTRIBUTOR: The liberal news media doesn't want to say exactly what it is. It's gangs of black youths attacking whites.

O'REILLY: It is a troubling situation, and it all goes back to an alienation of young black men in this country for a number of reasons but primarily because they're angry they didn't have a family and their father abandoned them and all of that.

HAYES (LAUGHING): That is all stuff that's been airing on Fox recently. I'm here with Sam Seder, Nancy Giles, Josh Barro and Lizz Winstead. If you don't watch Fox, it's possible you haven't heard of this supposed trend called the "Knockout Game." It has appeared on the Today show, so it has been in more mainstream outlets.

LIZZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR OF THE DAILY SHOW: So it's real?

HAYES: Yeah, yes.

NANCY GILES, CBS CONTRIBUTOR: Has the ??? come up with a theme song and a font to go with it.

HAYES: No. No, but it did appear there and it appeared in a few other outlets. And, it is basically a, it is video of teenagers beating people up. Now, teenagers beating people up is horrible. Teenagers shouldn't beat people up. If they do, they should be punished for it. They should be prosecuted.

GILES: Absolutely.

HAYES: But I remember this strikes so much. I remember I grew up in the New York City in the 90s, and we had very high rates of crime. There was a woman in Central Park who was raped. There was accounts that said teenagers were singing "Wild Thing," "wilding." And there were covers of the New York papers about the new trend of wilding. Teen "Park Marauders call it "wilding." And this was a thing that was going on. And there never was such a thing.

And I see no evidence. And I want to read this from the NYPD in response to the "Knockout." This is the New York City Police Department saying, "There is particular concern within the department that widespread coverage could create the atmosphere where such a game could take hold in New York."

You basically have Ray Kelly who is not necessarily like Mr. Bleeding heart liberal saying, "I don't really see evidence this is a real thing, and I am concerned that the press is going to make it a real thing."

WINSTEAD: Just like the Koran burner in Florida, exactly like that.

HAYES: Yes, that's exactly-

WINSTEAD: Exactly that guy.

HAYES: That's exactly, that's a perfect example.

WINSTEAD: You know, that's the, that happens constantly. If you people-

HAYES: If a Koran burns in the forest and there's no one there hear it

GILES: Then nobody is going to react to it.

SEDER: There are two things that are operating here. One is the fact that it's on video.

HAYES: Yes.

SAM SEDER, HUFFINGTON POST: If this was not on video, they could be walking around with ice picks and attacking everyone and we would hear nothing out of it.

HAYES: Yes.

SEDER: And the other part is it just seems like the war on Christmas is just not getting off the ground.

(GILES AND HAYES LAUGH)

HAYES: Yes, that's totally a thousand percent true.

SEDER: I am willing to bet that we will see a lot of war on Christmas because congress is not in session, and we're going to see, war on Christmas is going to take off-

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.