On his July 20 afternoon program, Dylan Ratigan shouted down the Washington Examiner's J.P. Freire for challenging the MSNBC host's liberal orthodoxy and accusing him of giving more air time to the liberal panelist appearing opposite him.
Eschewing any sense of balanced reporting, Ratigan thundered: "I said I'm in charge of the show. I decide who I'll talk to. I might spend the entire time talking to Jonathan Capehart and not talk to you at all. And then you can choose never to come on my show again."
"I'm sorry, Jonathan was taking up a lot of my time earlier in the segment," explained Freire. "Look at the amount of time he's been talking and the amount of time I was talking."
Discussing institutionalized racism in America, Freire attempted to argue that a "government monopoly on education" hinders the ability of ethnic minorities to succeed, but the liberal agitator was only interested in Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart's liberal spin on the issue and instructed Freire to "please be quiet" before berating him.
"Who's hosts the show, J.P.?" asked Ratigan. "Just because you're on my show doesn't mean you get as much time as you decide you want. Do you understand that?"
Freire fired back: "What I'll do is I'll interrupt if I have something to say."
"Right and I'll tell you to be quiet if someone else is speaking," sputtered Ratigan, who seemed all to eager to assert his authority with a conservative guest while defending the right of the liberal guest to speak freely.
A transcript of the relevant portion of the segment can be found below:
July 20, 2010
4:19 P.M. E.S.T.
DYLAN RATIGAN: I'm not saying there's some grand racist in the sky who is doing that.
J.P. FREIRE, Washington Examiner associate editor: But it's somehow systematic?
RATIGAN: It's systematic in that the way our education resources are distributed, the way our law enforcement practice is distributed, the way our populations are distributed, these things yield themselves out. That is not good for America, period. So how do you deal with that?
FREIRE: Well look, I think that maybe the expectation is that a conservative is going to go on the air and say everything is hunky-dory.
RATIGAN: Hold on, J.P. I like you, I like you, I like you, I'm not jumping to any conclusions about you, I'm taking your words at face value. I expect you'll do the same with me. I want you to pretend you're not on MSNBC; I want you to pretend you're talking to your friends Dylan and Jonathan. Okay, can you do that?
FREIRE: Yeah sure, absolutely. Yo Dylan and John, I was thinking today that the idea that there are so many systems in place that do make it so difficult for people that are underprivileged to succeed in this country is because we constantly put in place more and more systems and that more people are saying "hey, if we fiddle with these systems, maybe it will give us the right output." The best way to allow people to rise up is by getting out of the way. It's not that we've made it easier for white people to get along –
RATIGAN: So how are we getting out of the way if we have 19,000 different school districts, some of which are incredibly well capitalized and can yield the finest education in the history of the world, and the vast majority of which have no money –
FREIRE: Easy, a government monopoly on education.
RATIGAN: Hold on a second. Say that again.
FREIRE: A government monopoly on education is precisely how we make it more difficult for blacks and Latinos and many other ethnic groups and the poor to be able to rise up. I mean, that is how we get in the way. If we really want to –
RATIGAN: So you're saying the fact that rich people can take all of their kids out of the schools in the cities –
FREIRE: Oh, heavens...
RATIGAN: and leave ghetto schools uptown here in New York. No, not "oh heavens" J.P., I've lived in New York for almost twenty years, I have many friends who have children here, I have many friends who have grown up here and I can tell you the rich ones went to private schools and the poor ones didn't and the more, anyway. You get the last word here, Jonathan. How do you view the systematic aspect of this?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, Washington Post: Look, the systematic aspects, you laid them out, your graphics show the wide disparities there. My big concern is we spend a lot of time hurling accusations of racism and things like that and we allow that to get in way of having a really meaningful, deep conversation –
FREIRE: A very difficult conversation.
RATIGAN: J.P. please be quiet.
FREIRE: I'm sorry, Jonathan was taking up a lot of my time earlier in the segment.
RATIGAN: J.P., you know what? I want you to be part of this, I really really do.
FREIRE: No, Jonathan has blockaded my entire part.
RATIGAN: J.P., you're not behaving in a way that's constructive and I don't know why that is but I do appreciate.
FREIRE: Look at the amount of time he's been talking and the amount of time I was talking.
RATIGAN: Who's hosts the show, J.P.?
FREIRE: I'm just saying.
RATIGAN: Who's hosts the show, J.P.?
FREIRE: If you're saying it's equal time, it should be equal time.
RATIGAN: Did I say that? I said I'm in charge of the show. I decide who I'll talk to. I might spend the entire time talking to Jonathan Capehart and not talk to you at all. And then you can choose never to come on my show again.
FREIRE: I would never do that, I love being on your show.
RATIGAN: Just because you're on my show doesn't mean you get as much time as you decide you want. Do you understand that?
FREIRE: What I'll do is I'll interrupt if I have something to say.
RATIGAN: Right and I'll tell you to be quiet if someone else is speaking.
RATIGAN: Coming up, I was concerned that might happen.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.