On Thursday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, substitute host Cenk Uygur -- also of the Young Turks -- blamed conservative opposition to the Ground Zero mosque for acts of violence against Muslims, and charged that the Republican party is the "party of hate." He soon added: "Then there's the vitriolic fight against immigrants, undocumented ones and in Arizona just people who happen to look undocumented. And, of course, there's the grand daddy of all prejudice, fear and hatred stoked up against Muslims in this country. Now, it's gotten so bad that a young man stabbed a cabbie in the neck and face Tuesday after finding out that he was Muslim."
He eventually asked: "What black person, gay guy or girl, immigrant or Muslim-American in their right mind would vote for the Republican party? They might as well hang a sign around their neck saying I hate myself."
Uygur also recited a list of violent events from the past couple of years, while also running clips of conservatives like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Bill O’Reilly in an attempt to prove that they were responsible for inciting specific violent incidents. At one point, he even used edited clips of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann in such a way as to suggest that they had encouraged people to shoot Muslims or other minorities.
After recounting recent episodes of violence against Muslims, he tied in Palin and Bachmann:
CENK UYGUR: If the manufactured rage against minorities and Muslims in particular was not bad enough, Republicans across the country have added an element of violent imagery to top it off.
SARAH PALIN, AT PODIUM, UNDATED: It`s not a time to retreat. It`s a time to reload.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN) AUDIO DATED MARCH 2009: I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue.
UYGUR: And it hasn't been just Muslim-Americans who've been on the receiving end of this violence.
Palin first used this phrase after the passage of ObamaCare, while the clip in question comes from an event in Nevada from March 27 of this year. And Bachmann's quote was in reference to a Democratic energy tax proposal.
The MSNBC host did not mention that President Barack Obama himself once made a much more direct metaphor about using a gun to fight political opposition as he reassured attendees of a fund-raiser in Philadelphia in June 2008: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I've seen Eagles fans."
More of the context of Palin's words from the March 27 event, in which she clarified that her words were meant to inspire people to peacefully vote and take part in politics:
If we stick to our principles, we're going to be just fine. Now, when I talk about it's not a time to retreat it's a time to reload, what I'm talking about, now, media, try to get this right, okay? That's not inciting violence. What that is doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. It's telling people that their arms are their vote. It's not inciting violence. It's telling people, don't ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans. You stand up and you stand tall. And we're just going to be fine.
And more of the context of Bachmann's statement: "And I'm going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing."
Uygur also never relayed to viewers that the suspect in the stabbing case, Michael Enright, was involved with a liberal, pro-Muslim organization that supports building a mosque near Ground Zero, or that, according to Wednesday's World News on ABC, anti-Muslim hate crimes are "not on the rise." ABC News correspondent Jeremy Hubbard: "Most recent FBI crime stats show in 2008, there were 123 anti-Islam bias crimes nationwide a number that paled in comparison to at least one other religion [1,055 against Jews]. And even in New York, police say crimes against Muslims are not on the rise."
Instead of informing MSNBC viewers of any holes in his anti-conservative theory, Uygur brought in Mark Potok of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to agree with his indictment of Ground Zero mosque opponents. Potok: "I think it's about as clear as it could be that this comes right out of the really rancid debate around the whole Ground Zero Islamic Center."
He soon added: "And that kind of demonization, as you've suggested, is precisely what's leading to what seems to be a real spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 26, The Ed Show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
CENK UYGUR, ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody and welcome to The Ed Show. I`m Cenk Uygur in for Ed Schultz. These stories are hot tonight.
The right wing has spent weeks stoking hate on the Muslim community center near Ground Zero. Now that hate-filled rhetoric is turning into real violence and they pretend to be surprised. My commentary on that in just a moment. ...
Tonight, we start with the party of hate. The Republican party in this country has been running on hate and division for the last 50 years. First, it was the Southern Strategy meant to discriminate against African-Americans in order to gain white Southern votes. That worked in capturing the South for a generation or more, but they lost the entire African-American vote for even longer.
That's what happens when you slap someone across the face. Then, once that well started to run dry, they apologized. In 2005, Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman told the NAACP he was sorry: Quote, "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I'm here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."
And then they unapologetically picked their next target, gay Americans. They ran campaigns all across America, premised on taking away rights from gays in this country. Now, one of the architects of that plan, Ken Mehlman, who ran George W. Bush's campaign in '04 and was the RNC chair in '06, has come out and said he's gay. Again, our bad, our mistake, not that they're stopping attacks on that front, I'll have more on that later.
Then there's the vitriolic fight against immigrants, undocumented ones and in Arizona just people who happen to look undocumented. And, of course, there's the grand daddy of all prejudice, fear and hatred stoked up against Muslims in this country. Now, it's gotten so bad that a young man stabbed a cabbie in the neck and face Tuesday after finding out that he was Muslim. He yelled, "Asalaam Alaikum, this is your checkpoint." Ironically, "Asalaam Alaikum," means, "Peace be with you."
But Islam has been so twisted by conservative demagogues here that a peaceful greeting has been misinterpreted as a war cry and then used against Muslims.
Then a man yesterday walked into a mosque in Queens and urinated all over their prayer rugs while yelling that all Muslims were terrorists. Gee, I wonder where he got that idea?
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for to us accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.
UYGUR: If the manufactured rage against minorities and Muslims in particular was not bad enough, Republicans across the country have added an element of violent imagery to top it off.
SARAH PALIN, AT PODIUM: It's not a time to retreat. It's a time to reload.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN) AUDIO DATED MARCH 2009: I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue.
UYGUR: And it hasn't been just Muslim-Americans who've been on the receiving end of this violence. There was Scott Roeder who killed abortion provider Dr. Tiller after hearing provocation like this:
BILL O'REILLY, FNC HOST: No matter what you think about the abortion issue, you should be very disturbed by what continues to happen in Kansas. This man, Dr. George Tiller -- known as Tiller, the baby killer -- is performing late-term abortions without defining the specific medical reasons why.
UYGUR: Then there was the guy in Pittsburgh who killed three police officers because he was convinced they were coming for his guns. Gee, I wonder where he got that idea.
GLENN BECK, FNC HOST: He will slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun. He will make them more expensive. He'll tax them out of existence. He will because he has said he would. He will tax your gun or take your gun away one way or another.
UYGUR: Then there was the man in Tennessee who shot people inside what he considered a, quote, "liberal church." He was reading O'Reilly and Hannity's books on how terrible liberals are, and might have heard a rant like this.
BECK: I beg you, look for the words social justice or economic justice on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can.
UYGUR: Look, this is destructive to our country. It rips us all apart. The demagoguery especially based on race or religion is also destructive to the idea of America. That we are all created equal, and are all equally American. But it's also destructive to the Republican party. What black person, gay guy or girl, immigrant or Muslim American in their right mind would vote for the Republican party? They might as well hang a sign around their neck saying I hate myself.
So, in the end, the GOP will be left holding a shrinking part of the U.S. population screaming about how they hate everyone else. That`s a terrible political strategy. Don't get me wrong. Demagoguing does work in the short run. That's why they do it. They've been doing it since McCarthy because it gives them a temporary leg up in the next election, but in the long run, it kills your own brand. You're not going to get a majority of even the white voters you think you're going for by being the party of hate.
They're much better than that. They're Americans. So after a couple more Muslims and others get attacked and the passion has died down, America realizes again that there's no bogeyman coming to get them, the sharia law is not about to be imposed in Des Moines or Sacramento, they will reject this politics of hate. Then where will the Republican party be with even less voters, even more marginalized and probably even more angry? We're witnessing the death pangs of a once great party, the party of Lincoln. That is no more.
If they keep going this way, they're going to go from the Grand Old Party to the sad little party and they'll only have themselves to blame. Now, tell me what you think in our telephone survey the number to dial is 877-ED-msnbc. My question tonight is, do you think the GOP strategy of hate and fear will backfire? Press one for yes, press two for no. I`ll bring you the results later in the show.
Now joining me is Mark Potok, one of America's foremost experts on hate crimes. He's the intelligence project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mark, let's look at what happened today with the cabbie or I should say yesterday getting stabbed. Do you think that's just, oh, random coincidence that a Muslim cabbie happened to get stabbed yesterday or is this related to all the demagoguery about the so-called mosque near Ground Zero?
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, I think it's about as clear as it could be that this comes right out of the really rancid debate around the whole Ground Zero Islamic center. I mean, you named some of the villains. No doubt about it, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and so on, but we also have major outfits like the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee claiming that the Islamic center will be a celebration of the murder of 3,000 people. You know, that kind of language is not only grotesquely false, but it is obviously demonizing. And that kind of demonization, as you've suggested, is precisely what's leading to what seems to be a real spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
UYGUR: Mark, that leads to the obvious next question of what can we do about it because, I mean, you see it. They say, oh, the baby killer, "What are you going to do about it?" they're asking their audience, and then, all of a sudden, somebody kills Dr. Tiller.
You know, you see it with the liberal churches. You just saw the whole list. Now they`re doing it with Muslims, but they have First Amendment rights, so what can you do about it?
POTOK: Well, one hopes that one can shame some of these political leaders into saying something a little more responsible. You know, you're speaking about the Republican Party. It's probably worth remembering that one of the very decent things that President Bush did was immediately after, actually nine days after 9/11, he gave a very important speech in which he talked about Muslims were not our enemies, Arabs were not our enemies. A very specific network of terrorists was our enemy.
And I think that Bush actually had the effect of tamping down what could have been an absolutely amazing backlash against Muslims and perceived Muslims. It's worth remembering immediately after 9/11, there was a 1700 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. But, by the beginning of the next year, 2002, that had dropped by more than two-thirds. So I think that when political leaders like Bush speak out responsibly, it works. It's helpful.
UYGUR: No, and you do have to give credit to Bush on that, there's no question about that. What didn't help is him randomly attacking another Muslim country that didn't have anything to do with 9/11. That didn't really help the situation.
POTOK: Of course.
UYGUR: And it seems the Republicans have gone the more radical since Bush. But one final question for you: What's happened since Obama took office? Has there been a rise in hate crimes, etc.?
POTOK: Well, there has definitely been a rise in threats towards the President, in domestic terrorism aimed at the President and at hate speech essentially revolving around the idea that we have a black man and his black family in the White House. So that's undeniable. I mean, we've seen skin head assassination plots, a guy who wanted to set off a dirty bomb at the inauguration and a whole long list. Many of the cases you mentioned like the man who murdered three officers in Pittsburgh were also influenced by this anti-Obama atmosphere and the idea that whites are losing their majority in this country. So this seems to be we're seeing right now a kind of another spasm of the same kind of hate directed against people who do not look like the white majority.
UYGUR: All right, thank you, Mark. We appreciate you coming in.