Once again, MSNBC shows it has no sense of decency when it comes to its political contributors making extreme statements on its network. The latest example comes from contributor Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com, who asserted that attendees of the annual CPAC conference sympathized with pro-segregationist comments made by one extreme individual attending the three-day conference.
At issue is video that has emerged from a CPAC panel discussion called “Trump the Race Card” hosted by K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans. After Smith commented that, “[Frederick] Douglass escaped from slavery. He writes a letter to his former slave master and says, I forgive you for all things you did for me,” an attendee of the panel named Scott Terry then interjected, “For giving him shelter and food?” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Hardball on March 18, Ms. Reid disgustingly claimed that:
A woman stood up and said, wait a minute, we shouldn't be talking about slavery in referencing that. She's the one who got booed. Most people came out of the Tea Party session saying the woman arguing with the segregationist guy she was the problem. People didn't see the black guy saying let's go back to Frederick Douglass or the white guy saying go back to segregation. They weren’t the problem to most of the attendees at that event. That is what it wrong with the Republican Party.
Had Reid bothered to watch the full 2-minute segment which the liberal website Think Progress provided, she clearly would have seen the overwhelming majority of the room gasping and laughing at Mr. Scott’s disgusting comments, with one isolated individual supporting him.
Instead, Ms. Reid ridiculously claims that the majority of the audience in the room believed that, “the woman arguing with the segregationist guy was the problem.”
Nowhere in her insulting rant did Ms. Reid offer any evidence for her claims, and host Chris Matthews failed to challenge her either, instead agreeing with her: “Well said.”
Ironically, on the program that precedes Hardball, host Martin Bashir -- who never misses an opportunity to bash conservatives -- actually corrected a rant by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart on the same subject. In a similar tone to that of Reid, Capehart groused:
But the fact that no one around there sort of challenged the guy or shushed him or did something to challenge his facts, to me, is quite stunning and just shows just how far the republican party has to go to make itself even remotely hospitable to African-Americans and people in color in general.
For his part, Bashir briefly corrected Capehart by pointing out that, “Jon, I think there was an attempt to challenge him, actually.”
Unlike Matthews who gleefully supported Reid’s comments, Bashir did his job and called out Capehart for his disgusting slander of CPAC attendees.
See relevant transcripts below.
Hardball w/ Chris Matthews
March 18, 2013
5:10 p.m. EDT
CHRIS MATTHEWS: On Friday, CPAC did feature a breakout session, they call it. And it was entitled, you got it right, Trump, the race card– or "Trump the Race card." No comma there. "Are you sick and tired of being called a racist when you're not one?" It sounds like the redneck thing. Anyway, according to a reporter from the website Talking Points Memo reporter who was present at the event, an audience member popped up, took offense at the moderator's comments about slavery, believe it or not. Take a look at what happened when the moderator praised Frederick Douglass. Listen to this. There is no middle road in this crowd.
K CARL SMITH: Douglass escaped from slavery. He writes a letter to his former slave master and says, I forgive you for all things you did for me.
SCOTT TERRY: For giving him shelter and food?
[Gasps, laughter and one person clapping.]
MATTHEWS: That white guy with the beard stands up at that event and openly makes a case for slavery saying they got three squares a day, basically. What are they complaining about? Governor?
JOY REID: Exactly.
MATTHEWS: Joy, you pick it up. There should be shame admitting fondness or nostalgia for the antebellum days in the south. I mean, this guy didn't see Django, obviously. Just guessing.
JOY REID: The whole spectacle encapsulates what's wrong with the Republican Party on race. Black Republicans say, hey the way to make people not call you a racist is to reference Frederick Douglass who lived hundreds of years ago. Go back to the Republican Party the way it was under Lincoln. And then you've got this other guy who comes out and says we want to be Booker T. Washington Republicans. You know, one hand, but as separate as five fingers. Why can't we go back to segregation? And then a woman stood up and said, wait a minute, we shouldn't be talking about slavery in referencing that. She's the one who got booed. Moth people came out of the tea party session saying the woman arguing with the segregationist guy she was the problem. People didn't see the black guy saying let's go back to Frederick Douglass or the white guy saying go back to segregation. They weren’t the problem to most of the attendees at that event. That is what it wrong with the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: Well said.
ED RENDELL: And the harm that this does, Chris, is not just with African-American voters. It's with those independent voters in the Philadelphia suburbs.
RENDELL: They listen to this stuff and they say these guys are nuts.
MATTHEWS: They said I signed on to the party of Lincoln and these guys signed off from the party of Lincoln.
REID: Exactly. They're the opposite now.
MATTHEWS: I know just what you're talking about. I go back to my point, white people generally don't like to be thought of as racist. Because a lot of them aren't and some are trying to get over it over the years. But to be in a party that’s happy with somebody standing up and saying things like, let's go back to before the emancipation proclamation is wacky.
March 18, 2013
4:33 p.m. EDT
MARTIN BASHIR: Jonathan, one of the biggest stories coming out of the weekend and CPAC was a forum on race that descended into racism. The forum was led by k. Carl smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans and he got into a heated debate with one of the attendees about race and diversity. Take a listen.
K. CARL SMITH: When Douglass escaped from slavery, I think 10 years or 20 years after he escaped from slavery, he writes a letter to his former slave master and said, I forgive you for all the things you did to me.
SCOTT TERRY: For giving him shelter and food?
BASHIR: Just to repeat that, Jon, the attendee said slave owners don't need to be forgiven because they gave slaves food and shelter. This may be an isolated incident, but does it not speak to a larger problem for republicans?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: You think? I mean, the idea—
BASHIR: I'm only asking.
CAPEHART: That slavery was some beneficial program to help these poor wayward Africans who were stolen from another place and brought here to help build this country? It's ridiculous and it is emblematic of the problem that the Republican Party has. Now, look that was one person at one event at a sliver or a sizable faction of the Republican Party. But the fact that no one around there sort of challenged the guy or shushed him or did something to challenge his facts, to me, is quite stunning and just shows just how far the Republican Party has to go to make itself even remotely hospitable to African-Americans and people of color in general.
BASHIR: Jon, I think there was an attempt to challenge him, actually. But Angela [Rye], moving on--