MSNBC's Johnson Defends Antifa, Lumps Cops in With White Nationalists

August 14th, 2018 9:21 AM

Over the past several days, during discussions of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville from a year ago, MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson went off the rails again as he not only defended the far-left group Antifa's hostility to cops, but he even suggested that police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, responding to the 2014 riots could be likened to white nationalists attacking blacks.

Appearing live from Charlottesville at 3:50 p.m. Eastern on Saturday afternoon, Johnson -- who is also politics editor of The Root -- recalled his visits to other areas of the country that have seen violence:

I've been to, unfortunately, too many places in this country over the last couple of years that have been victims of white nationalist attacks -- either individually like the young man, Richard Collins, who was killed at University of Maryland College Park ... or Ferguson, Missouri, where sort of militarized police attacked peaceful protesters -- and I wanted to see if there was substantive change happening here.

He then suggested that Charlottesville residents may only be showing concern about the white supremacist violence because a white protester, Heather Heyer, was killed there last year, as the liberal MSNBC contributor added:

And I must admit, at least in the time that I've been here, the level of self-reflection that I've seen in this community is much better than I've seen in a lot of other places. They seem legitimately concerned here about not having these problems continue. Maybe it's because it was white nationalists -- maybe it's because of the race of the vicim -- but either way, it seems like Charlottesville is making some changes.

MSNBC host David Gura did not ask what he meant by seeming to count police officers as if they were part of the white nationalist movement.

A couple of days later, on MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle, the show took the time to discuss reports of left-wing protesters attacking journalists and harassing police officers over the weekend, leading Johnson to rationalize Antifa hostility to police officers:

There were a lot of activists who were, like: "Why are you in riot gear? We don't see no riot here." There is a belief -- I'm not saying it's always correct -- but there is a belief by many activists, including Antifa, that the police tacitly support this kind of violence.

When host Ruhle injected to ask if they believe police "are there to protect white nationalists," Johnson continued:

When you look at how the police respond to white nationalists as opposed to Black Lives Matter protesters, yes, you do. When you consider the number of police departments where people have been caught with white nationalist tattoos and the emails and everything else like that that's there.

Look, I never like the idea of journalists getting attacked, but no one has a reason to believe -- even when you look at how the police responded last year -- when you look at the fact that they shut down the Metro in D.C. to let these guys go in, people have reason to doubt the police's dedication to eradicating racism.

After MSNBC contributor Bret Stephens then injected, "Yeah, but thuggishness is thuggishness, wherever it comes from politically, and we should be the first to call it out," Johnson responded: "I disagree."

Host Ruhle was mostly speechless as she concluded the show.