WSJ’s Jason Riley Tears Into Obama, Sharpton on Race Relations; ‘No Interest in Being Post-Racial’

On the most recent edition of Fox News Sunday, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley blasted President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and activist/MSNBC host Al Sharpton for having “a vested interest in pushing a false narrative, which is that racism is an all-purpose explanation of what drives what's wrong in black America.”

When asked by host Chris Wallace to explain why there remains a debate in the U.S. over race and the criminal justice system, Riley pointed out that the “the left has no interest in being post-racial” despite pretending to be in favor of it. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Instead, Riley stated that the left seeks to “divvy us up by race and gender and sexual orientation and then making specific appeals based on those characteristics.”

In reference to the “false narrative” he spoke of earlier, Riley elaborated: 

The problem is not police shooting black men. That is not what is driving the homicide rate in this country. It is non-police shootings of black men that is driving the homicide rate, yet we have protesters all over this country pushing a false narrative and everyone from the President on down refusing to simply correct the record here. 

A few minutes later in the show, the black conservative columnist had another chance to address the issue of how African-Americans commit a large share of the murders and property crimes in America:

Clearly, there is excess force used by police in some of the instances, but that's not producing this high black body count in this country. Tension between the black community and the police department stems from black criminality in this country, high black crime rates. Blacks are about 13 percent of the population but commit more than half of all murders in this country. Blacks are arrested at two to three times their number in the population for all manner of violent crime, all manner of property crime. 

While the issue should and needs to be resolved, Riley opined that the President, Attorney General, and their ally in Sharpton show no interest in seeing tensions subside:

If we want to address perceptions, negative perceptions of young black men, we have to address the behavior that is driving those perceptions, and that is not a conversation President Obama or Eric Holder or Al Sharpton or all the rest want to have because they have a vested interest in pushing a false narrative, which is that racism is an all-purpose explanation of what drives what's wrong in black America.

The relevant portions of the transcript from Fox News Sunday on December 28 can be found below.

Fox News Sunday
December 28, 2014
9:16 a.m. Eastern

CHRIS WALLACE: Jason, how do you explain it? With an African-American president in a country that some people said was post-racial, how do you explain the fact that we're having this debate over race and the criminal justice system and it's still so raw? 

JASON RILEY: Well, part of it is the left has no interest in being post-racial. I think they pretend to want to be post-racial, but they practice identity politics, which is to divvy us up by race and gender and sexual orientation and then making specific appeals based on those characteristics. So, I think the whole notion that the left wants to be post-racial is false and this is, I think, demonstrates that, what we see with this false narrative being pushed in the wake of the Garner and the Ferguson incidents. The problem is not police shooting black men. That is not what is driving the homicide rate in this country. It is non-police shootings of black men that is driving the homicide rate, yet we have protesters all over this country pushing a false narrative and everyone from the President on down refusing to simply correct the record here. 

(....)

9:21 a.m. Eastern

RILEY: But the problem is when we take exceptions and pretend that they're the norm. Clearly, there is excess force used by police in some of the instances, but that's not producing this high black body count in this country. Tension between the black community and the police department stems from black criminality in this country, high black crime rates. Blacks are about 13 percent of the population but commit more than half of all murders in this country. Blacks are arrested at two to three times their number in the population for all manner of violent crime, all manner of property crime. Until that ends, you are going to have tensions between the police and the black community. You are going to have young black men viewed suspiciously. If we want to address perceptions, negative perceptions of young black men, we have to address the behavior that is driving those perceptions, and that is not a conversation President Obama or Eric Holder or Al Sharpton or all the rest want to have because they have a vested interest in pushing a false narrative, which is that racism is an all-purpose explanation of what drives what's wrong in black America.

(....)

9:25 a.m. Eastern

RILEY: Well, I think there are facts, not causes. We had a camera in the Garner case, but that's not all the evidence that case and only the grand jury has seen all of the evidence in that case, and I’m reluctant to second guess a group of people that has seen all of the evidence when we’ve seen just this snippet. So, I'd be hesitant. Both the prosecutor in New York and in St. Louis have successfully prosecuted other cops in the past. So, the idea that they can't do this properly again is something I'm not going to assume.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center