During the panel discussion on the January 8 episode of Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams claimed that last week's torture of a mentally handicapped white man by four black adults "stirs up racial tensions already hot from the campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump," and that "white nationalists" would see this as an excuse to "legitimize acts of white racism."
After the panel spent a couple of minutes dealing with a viewer's question about a perceived overemphasis on the "politics" of this crime instead of the fact that it was "a racial hate crime," Laura Ingraham circled back to criticize Williams's comment as "completely off base."
First, we'll see Chris Wallace's introduction of the panel segment, followed by some video from the horrific crime originally broadcast live on Facebook, and then by Williams's comments:
Transcript of Williams's comments (beginning at 0:24 mark; full program transcript is here):
CHRIS WALLACE: Juan, I’m — I was thinking about this yesterday. I’m not sure what to ask you except, how on earth can this happen?
JUAN WILLIAMS: Right. It’s just shocking. And it’s primitive. It’s savage. And, you know, on a very emotional level for me, it scares me that people can behave in this manner to each other and then put it on tape for broadcast.
WALLACE: Not taped, live.
WILLIAMS: Yeah. Well, I mean to —
WILLIAMS: What I mean was broadcasted out. Right. So I think, to me, it — it — it stirs up racial tensions already hot from the campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump about the Mexicans and the women and all the rest. And we live in a society now where immediately the response, the strong response online was to tie this somehow into Black Lives Matter. And you see this from the white nationalists who seem excited by Trump’s election, to say, now, this is evidence of black racism, as if that would therefore legitimize acts of white racism.
It just — it becomes perverse. You know, everything, conversations about Dylann Roof, about a disabled black kid that was tortured, not on tape or live, as you describe it, so we didn’t know about that. But, clearly there’s something happening in the society that is deeply troubling on the level of race and difference. And the key here is, I think as — you know, as responsible people, including our president-elect, to act, to speak out and to say very clearly, this is unacceptable.
Here is Ingraham's later response:
Transcript (up to where Wallace finishes his move to a break):
LAURA INGRAHAM: I think there’s a, there’s a great point to be made about the aggravating factors of, of the hate crime.
But, Juan, in — in answering the question — we’re all horrified by this. It’s evil, depraved. But you mentioned white nationalists excited about Trump, and you mentioned Trump’s comments about Mexicans.
This is just an evil act. I think to throw in Obama — I — I would agree with you even. The whole Black Lives Matter conversation, who knows what — if that might have had an effect on it. But to, to mention Trump in the, in the, in the conversation about what they did, to me just is — is completely off base.
WILLIAMS: They mentioned — they mentioned Trump, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Right, they mentioned Trump negatively. You’re also mentioning Trump negatively, which is —
WILLIAMS: I don’t think there’s any question that there’s racial tension around the comments that Donald Trump has made in his campaign.
INGRAHAM: That’s — and — and none of it had — had — was affected at all by what Barack Obama has done for false comments?
WALLACE: Look, you’re stealing time from yourself in the next segment and we need — we need to get to it.
INGRAHAM: "Hands up, don’t shoot."
Ingraham's point, not fully effective because of time constraints, is that if someone is going to irresponsibly go after Donald Trump's alleged "campaign rhetoric" as Williams did, then it's fair game to criticize those who have made irresponsible and ultimately disproven claims of racism, or have indulged those who have, as President Obama himself clearly did in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases.
Obama also insists that the U.S. has "by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and colonialism and racism," as if that is somehow still supremely more relevant than welfare system-induced broken homes, the racist rap culture, or the bogus, George Soros-funded racial grievance industry.
I would also add, as Ingraham did not, that if you're going to drag an imaginary horde of "white nationalists" into the discussion, as Williams first did — a group whose number are at most in the low thousands in a nation of 320 million people, and none of whose members have to my knowledge called for retaliation — then it's more than fair to posit the potential influence of the much larger Black Lives Matter movement, particularly the Chicago chapter, which, as Heather MacDonald has detailed in her latest City Journal column, has been especially hateful and racist.
Williams appears to have decided ahead of time that he would bring up Donald Trump and "white nationalism" in a discussion where neither were even remotely relevant. So in that sense, despite enduring the criticism he richly deserves, he may believe that he accomplished his self-assigned mission.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.