On Wednesday, during interviews with NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today show actually rejected the findings of FBI investigation that concluded no hate crime was committed against the sport’s only full-time black driver. Instead, both broadcasts decided to keep pushing the debunked narrative that Wallace was targeted with a “noose” – which turned out to be a garage door pull rope.
After spending days hyping the false story without bothering to wait for the facts, rather than be relieved that such a crime had not been committed, the CBS and NBC morning shows were so invested in their own shoddy reporting that they couldn’t bring themselves to accept reality. Instead, hosts claimed that they “still don’t really know what happened here” and even suggested the FBI inquiry didn’t “pass the smell test.”
“Do you think that you were the target of a hate crime? I know what the federal investigators are saying. What do you think happened here?,” co-host Gayle King asked Wallace on CBS This Morning. Even though he replied, “No, I don’t – I don’t think I was,” minutes later, King still talked as if the issue was in doubt: “I really hope, Bubba, that this wasn’t a hate crime directed at you. That would be very good news.”
She further insisted that Wallace seemed “a little down, a little frustrated” at the FBI conclusion and assured him: “...you have a lot of support from people who are cheering you on, who don’t appreciate what you’ve been through. Who don’t appreciate now that people are trying to change the narrative of this story.”
So in King’s mind, rational people accepting the facts of an FBI investigation equals “Trying to change the narrative.” It’s also called telling the truth and not lying to your viewers.
Discussing the interview in a separate segment minutes later, King fretted that Wallace “seems very defeated” and had the gall to scold anyone adhering to the facts: “And so now, for anybody to question it and say it’s not a noose, it was a rope pull, whatever it is, to say it’s not a hate crime – I still don’t really know what happened here.”
The idea that a supposed “journalist” would feign ignorance in the face of clear evidence that no hate crime was committed is just stunning. Of course that’s because King is not a journalist, she’s a Democratic donor, personal friend of the Obamas, and pal of Oprah Winfrey.
Talking to Wallace on NBC’s Today show, co-host Craig Melvin pushed the idea that the FBI investigation couldn’t be trusted:
Bubba, to be clear here, it sounds like you don’t think that this passes the smell test. It sounds like you’re still fairly convinced that what was in that garage stall wasn’t a rope pull, but it was a noose, and it was designed to intimidate or make a statement. Is that what you still believe?
It’s beyond irresponsible for any news network to actively seek to undermine the legitimacy of any criminal investigation, let alone one which deals with such a serious issue. By doing so, reporters like King and Melvin are complicit in stoking racial tensions just to protect their “narrative” that has now been proven false.
Sponsors Colgate and Toyota brought viewers the coverage on CBS This Morning. The coverage on NBC’s Today show was sponsored by Amazon and GEICO. (Company contact info is linked, let them know what you think about them sponsoring such content)
Here is a transcript of King’s June 24 interview with Wallace:
8:04 AM ET
GAYLE KING: Bubba Wallace joins us now to discuss this latest turn of events. Bubba, it’s really good to see you. I want to start with the federal investigators’ conclusion no crime was committed. Therefore, they say, there will be no federal charges. How are you processing this latest turn of events?
BUBBA WALLACE: Yeah, it was relief that, you know, I wasn’t targeted or anything. But yeah, you know, I was delivered the information when it all went down Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening. And was just kind of following set there, knowing that it was in NASCAR’s hands. And that I didn’t report it, I was just delivered the information.
KING: No, you were told by the head of NASCAR, you said, he came to you in a very emotional state saying that this had happened. How could something – this is what I don’t get, Bubba – how could it have been there for nine months and no one noticed it before? I don’t understand that.
WALLACE: Yeah, I’m not sure either. You know, I guess we’re all kind of hypersensitive to what’s going on in the world right now. And my crew member just looked over and seen, you know, what was in the shape of a noose. And it, in fact, was a noose, I’ve seen the footage or the video, or I’m sorry, the picture of the – of the garage pull, as we want to call it, to make everybody happy here. That you know, it was, in fact, the shape of a noose. The FBI backed that up 100%. Never thought I’d be talking to the FBI. But they said it absolutely is a noose, not a functioning noose, but it is a noose. And they were curious on why that was even hanging, as well.
KING: And didn’t you say, Bubba, that it was hanging over your car? Didn’t you say it was hanging over your specific car, your area?
WALLACE: It was in my garage bay. I’d never seen it personally. I never, you know, walked up and seen it. Yeah, I never seen it.
KING: Do you think that you were the target of a hate crime? I know what the federal investigators are saying. What do you think happened here?
WALLACE: No, I don’t – I don’t think I was. You know, when I heard the news, I wasn’t immediately, you know, scared or afraid of whatever it was. So I still – I don’t feel that way. I mean, yeah, we’re all entitled to our opinions and, you know, a lot of people were unhappy with the removal of the confederate flag at NASCAR events. And some have taken it like we’re getting rid of that out of their personal lives. So I don’t really understand that logic on thinking. But you can’t help some people in today’s world. But we’ll just keep moving on. We’ll keep pushing the needle and fighting for what’s right in this sport. And I’ll continue to stand proudly where I am.
KING: I really hope, Bubba, that this wasn’t a hate crime directed at you. That would be very good news.
ANTHONY MASON: What’s frustrating you right now? What’s frustrating you the most right now?
WALLACE: I think that’s obvious to everybody, of how they want to turn it into a hoax when I was just rational thoughts off the factual information that I was given.
KING: Yeah. Yeah, Bubba, I have to say you do seem a little down, a little frustrated. I’m wondering how you’re gonna move forward. Because listen, you have a lot of support – you have a lot of support from people who are cheering you on, who don’t appreciate what you’ve been through. Who don’t appreciate now that people are trying to change the narrative of this story. And I hope that you will hang on to that. But it is concerning to me, you do seem a little down and upset by this.
ANTHONY MASON: We were talking in the interview – I mean, in the break – about the interview with Bubba Wallace. And basically the contrast between how exuberant he was a couple of days ago and how down he seems now.
KING: No, we’re both still sitting here still very unsettled by it. Because you can see he feels – he seems very defeated. And it’s so unfortunate, Anthony, to have the word “hoax” associated with this. Number one, he didn’t call attention to this.
MASON: No, he didn’t.
KING: It was brought to his attention.
MASON: By NASCAR.
KING: By NASCAR. And so now, for anybody to question it and say it’s not a noose, it was a rope pull, whatever it is, to say it’s not a hate crime – I still don’t really know what happened here. But it’s very painful to see how personally he’s taking it. He says he’s fine, but you can look at him and see that he’s not fine. I’m very unsettled by that conversation.
MASON: Yeah, it was a very unsettling interview. And the thing is, he’s been incredibly courageous over the last week and more.
KING: Yes. And he has a lot of support. Please let’s not, people, forget that. A lot of people –
MASON: As the drivers showed the other day.
KING: Yes, are cheering for him.
MASON: When they walked by his car.
KING: Very upsetting.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Yeah. No, I think you guys are right. And if you supported him yesterday, I think you should continue to support him today, with this change of events. And clearly he's looking for that support or could use it. And cheer him on Saturday.
Here is a transcript of Melvin’s interview with Wallace from the same day:
7:35 AM ET
CRAIG MELVIN: Bubba Wallace joins us now. Bubba, good to see you again, sir. Thanks for your time this morning.
BUBBA WALLACE: Good morning, how are you?
MELVIN: I’m well. I’m well. NASCAR describing it as a garage door pull that was fashioned like a noose. The FBI saying you were not the target of a hate crime, and that it had been there at least since last October. When you found that out on Tuesday, Bubba, what was your initial reaction?
WALLACE: Yeah, I was relieved, just like – just like many others, to know that it wasn’t targeted towards me, but it’s still frustrating to know that, you know, people are always going to test you, and always just going to try to debunk you, and that’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around now, from you know, saying I’m a fake and all this stuff, and that I reported it, when it was news that was brought to me, it was information that was brought to me that was already reported, and so I was just kind of following suit, but all in all, it’s another day.
MELVIN: I mean, you never saw the rope for yourself.
MELVIN: As Sam [Brock] pointed out, you didn’t report it yourself either. Is there anything that you would have done different?
WALLACE: No, because when I did find out, I was very adamant on searching all the garages and making sure that this wasn’t a garage pull and it ended up being one. But the photo evidence that I’ve seen and that I have in my possession of what was in our garage is exactly a garage pull. It is, that is a noose. So it’s – you know, I don’t know when we’ll get to the point to release that image, but it’s – anybody sees it, then it’s alerting and it makes you, makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, for sure. But all in all, like NASCAR says, you know, it’s a thing that I wouldn’t change a thing. I would alert the NASCAR officials and let them kind of take care of it. If I had seen it in person, let them know about it and let them take care of it.
MELVIN: Bubba, to be clear here, it sounds like you don’t think that this passes the smell test. It sounds like you’re still fairly convinced that what was in that garage stall wasn’t a rope pull, but it was a noose, and it was designed to intimidate or make a statement. Is that what you still believe?
WALLACE: It was a rope pull for the garage door, it was attached. The image you see of where it was cut, that’s exactly what it was. But it was definitely in the shape of a noose. Wasn’t a functioning noose. I talked to the FBI. The two conversations I had with the FBI – which I never thought I’d talk to the FBI in my lifetime, so hey, there's always something new – they said the first one was right after the race and they said they’re going to do everything in their power to figure it out and they’ll be in contact. And then the second conversation was the final one, to where they gave me the lowdown of all the investigation research they have completed and found out that it was a garage pull, but it in fact was a noose, it was not a functioning noose, but it was a noose.
And whoever had the time to create that and tie it up like that, just they were skeptical about it. And you know, when the FBI says those types of things – and I told them I had questioned my team members, are we sure that this isn’t something that we’re kind of taking out of context? And they backed my team up and reiterated that if you were to see this at this time, you would stand with your team right now, of why they were so alerted. So it is what it is. So I know there’s – I know how the information was brought to me and how it was prosecuted and how I was just kind of on the sidelines.