Juan Williams on Saturday said when it comes to news stories about race, America's media always make black people the victims and white people the perpetrators.
As the discussion on "Fox News Watch" turned to last week's murders at a Hartford, Connecticut, beer distributor, host Jon Scott read clippings from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press all claiming the killer had been responding to years of racist treatment.
When done, he said incredulously, "Juan, the guy was caught on camera stealing beer and the media turned it into a racial story."
Williams responded in a fashion that likely shocked many viewers (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JON SCOTT, HOST: Those murders in Connecticut last week at a beer distributor near Hartford. This week the business reopened eight days after a guy named Omar Thornton killed eight and wounded two moments after he lost his job for stealing beer. Omar was black, his victims were white, and this is how the coverage went. August 3rd, the New York Times headline read "Troubles Preceded Connecticut Workplace Killing." And in the second paragraph the Times reported, "He might also have had cause to be angry. He had complained to his girlfriend of being racially harassed at work." Here is the Associated Press report from August 7th, four days after the murders. It was reprinted in the Washington Post and other places. "To those closest to him, Omar Thornton was caring, quiet and soft spoken. But underneath, Thornton seized with a sense of racial injustice for years that culminated in a shooting rampage." On August 7th, 2010, the Washington Post headline read "Beer Warehouse Shooter Long Complained of Racism." Juan, the guy was caught on camera stealing beer and the media turned it into a racial story.
JUAN WILLIAMS, NPR: They don't have to turn it. I mean, this is the way the media treats all race stories in this country, Jon. It's always that black people are the victims, white people are the perpetrators. You know, it's white guilt, black victimhood and it's constant, it's in every area, not just this, but in terms of our political discussions about race that to me are always one-side and twisted and prevent us from having the honest kind of dialog that is so important. In this story, I don't have any objection to people saying, "What was the cause of this man committing the act?" But the way that they then back peddle and say. You know what, the unions don't have any record of this. The employer has no record of this is to me evidence that in fact, this was a racial attack on whites. Subsequently we've seen other attacks on blacks in this country. But let's have an honest discussion.
Indeed, Juan. Let's have an honest discussion.
Unfortunately, that has seemed far less likely since the inauguration of Barack Obama despite America being sold on the notion that all of our race problems would go away with the election of our first black President.
Quite the contrary, things have seemed to go backwards, especially for media members that have become even less colorblind than they were before.
Why might that be?