MSNBC Lets Guests Smear Bannon as 'Avowed Anti-Semite,' 'Hates Jews'

Twice in the last few days, MSNBC hosts have allowed guests to hyperbolically make unfounded claims of bigotry against White House advisor Steve Bannon, with former MSNBC contributor Michelle Bernard calling him an "avowed anti-Semite" on Wednesday's Hardball, and current MSNBC contributor Howard Dean calling him a "white supremacist" who "hates Jews" on Saturday's AM Joy.

AM Joy host Joy Reid went along with Dean's smear, and Hardball host Chris Matthews, who initially seemed skeptical of his guest's claim, then backed off and let it go.

On Wednesday's Hardball, after Matthews recalled that Bannon's status in the White House had been "downgraded," Bernard jumped in to show her dismay that Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka -- both Jews -- would be willing to sit near Bannon. Bernard:

Well, and look who was in the front seat today, I mean, in the front row. You showed -- I'm sorry to interrupt -- but I mean I think it's really important. Kushner and his wife were sitting in the front row on the White House lawn today. Steve Bannon is an avowed anti-Semite.

As a surprised Matthews injected, "Avowed?" she continued: "How on Earth would Kushner and his wife be able to work with (inaudible) --"

Matthews then pressed: "Steve Bannon's an avowed anti-Semite?" After Bernard insisted, "Yes," the MSNBC host followed up: "You mean he avows this? He's really that bad?"

Without offering any evidence, she doubled down: "Yes, he really is that bad."

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The Hardball host then went back to The Root's Jason Johnson and let the issue go: "I wouldn't make light of it. I didn't hear that before, but go ahead."

On Saturday's AM Joy, during a discussion of Bannon's change of status at the White House, Dean claimed to know "a lot" about Bannon as he asserted:

I don't know anything about Jared Kushner, but I know a lot about Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has -- he's a white supremist (sic). He has absolutely no right to be in the White House. He has no right to have his values influence the President of the United States. ... Jared Kushner -- from the little I know about him -- is a far better candidate, a 36-year-old, than a white supremist (sic) who hates Jews. 

After host Reid injected, "Yeah," the former DNC chairman continued: "I just don't think somebody like that belongs in the White House. I can't imagine why Trump put him in there in the first place. And the sooner he leaves, the better for America."

Moments later, Reid turned to former New York Observer editor-in-chief Elizabeth Spiers and wondered:

How does Jared Kushner abide somebody? He is a Jewish -- he and his wife are Jewish. Donald Trump's daughter converted. But he's there living alongside somebody who uses terms like "cuck" and "globalist," which are known to be anti-Semitic and racial slurs. How does he deal with Bannon at all?

Below are transcripts or relevant portions of the Wednesday, April 5, Hardball, and the Saturday, April 8, AM Joy on MSNBC:

#From Hardball:

7:46 p.m. ET
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He's been downgraded.

JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: He's been downgraded, he's embarrassed, he's not invited to the parties the way he used to be.

MATTHEWS: Jared's out to get him, too.

MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: Well, and look who was in the front seat today, I mean, in the front row. You showed -- I'm sorry to interrupt -- but I mean I think it's really important. Kushner and his wife were sitting in the front row on the White House lawn today. Steve Bannon is an avowed anti-Semite. How on Earth --

MATTHEWS: Avowed?

BERNARD: -- would Kushner and his wife be able to work with (inaudible) --

MATTHEWS: Steve Bannon's an avowed anti-Semite?

BERNARD: Yes.

JOHNSON: He's a member of the alt-right.

MATTHEWS: You mean he avows this? He's really that bad?

BERNARD: Yes, he really is that bad.

MATTHEWS: I wouldn't make light of it. I didn't hear that before, but go ahead.


#From AM Joy:

10:41 a.m. ET
HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Here's what I do know: One, I don't know anything about Jared Kushner, but I know a lot about Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has -- he's a white supremist (sic). He has absolutely no right to be in the White House. He has no right to have his values influence the President of the United States.

As soon as he goes, the better, and I don't really care who replaces him. I mean, obviously I care. Jared Kushner -- from the little I know about him -- is a far better candidate, a 36-year-old, than a white supremist (sic) who hates Jews. 

JOY REID: Yeah.

DEAN: I just don't think somebody like that belongs in the White House. I can't imagine why Trump put him in there in the first place. And the sooner he leaves, the better for America.

REID: Yeah, and he's there with about three or four other people with questionable views.

DEAN: Well, I assume they're going to go with him eventually, yeah.

REID: With him, yeah, absolutely. And the question I think a lot of people have had, Elizabeth (Spiers), is: How does Jared Kushner abide somebody? He is a Jewish -- he and his wife are Jewish. Donald Trump's daughter converted. But he's there living alongside somebody who uses terms like "cuck" and "globalist," which are known to be anti-Semitic and racial slurs. How does he deal with Bannon at all?

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters