Continuing with its obsession over voter ID laws, MSNBC once again treated viewers to a one-sided segment to trash Republican efforts to maintain voter integrity. Speaking with MSNBC’s Richard Lui on Wednesday, Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis (D-GA) slammed GOP voting efforts as racist, suggesting the success in numerous states in passing these laws showed Americans have forgotten the lessons of the civil rights movement.
Lewis, who was brutally beaten in Selma, Alabama, as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, is essentially put forward as an infallible expert on voting issues in the eyes of MSNBC. Lui offered up a softball interview, pulling at the heartstrings of his audience by saying: [video below page break]
That march almost killed you, and Republicans deny there is necessary connection here between these moments and that time in history. What's your reaction?
Lewis insisted that “there is a deliberate, systemic attempt to make it almost impossible for hundreds and thousands and millions of our citizens to be able to participate in a democratic process.”
Reacting to a quote by conservative activist Gary Bauer, Lewis continued by saying:
And when someone talks about the dead voters in Cleveland, in Chicago or Detroit, these large urban cities that are going to turn out and vote, they're talking about people of color, they're talking about people in urban America.
Lui failed to challenge the Congressman’s ridiculous assertions about voter suppression by failing to point out it was the Democratic Party which prevented minorities from voting throughout the civil rights era and instead asked Mr. Lewis:
Congressman, why have these laws been allowed to proliferate?...Is it simply because people have forgotten the national struggle, the issue that you just were talking about, that we shared from your speech during the DNC convention? Are they aware of all the groups that it affects here?
As we've documented time and again, MSNBC has no intention of offering a fair discussion let alone debate on voter ID. laws, instead only bringing on guests who echo the liberal perspective on the matter.
See relevant transcript below.
September 18, 2012
11:43 a.m. EDT
RICHARD LUI: Well, this week, we're looking at how new photo I.D. laws are affecting voters across the country. One troubling aspect is how such laws may leave young minority voters in the cold. There's a new study that says as many as 700,000 young people of color between the ages of 18 and 19 may be unable to cast ballots in November. Up to 475,000 African-Americans, 250,000 Hispanics, 46,000 Asian Americans and 6,400 Native Americans could be kept from voting. 17 states either have existing or pending laws requiring photo I.D. to vote in person. In Pennsylvania, for instance, that state's Supreme Court is now mulling over whether to uphold or strike down such a law there. Conservative groups like true the vote, meanwhile, are claiming the laws stop voter fraud, but other comments suggest otherwise.
GARY BAUER: And my prediction is that after all the votes are counted, even the dead votes of Democrats in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, I predict that we will win.
LUI: Now, joining me now is an original member of the freedom riders, Democratic Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. Thank you so much for being with us today, representative. And you gave an impassioned speech at the DNC in Charlotte. Many remember that, on this very issue, and I want to share with our viewers again what you said, just a little bit. Just take a listen.
JOHN LEWIS: I've seen this before. I lived this before. Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make that possible for every American to exercise their right to vote, and we have come too far together to ever turn back
LUI: Congressman, you were referring to your work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1965, when you lived through that brutality of the march on Selma. That march almost killed you, and Republicans deny there is necessary connection here between these moments and that time in history. What's your reaction?
LEWIS: Well, my reaction, it's very simple -- you cannot forget the past, you cannot forget history. There is a deliberate, systemic attempt to make it almost impossible for hundreds and thousands and millions of our citizens to be able to participate in a democratic process. Yes, minority like Latinos, Asian American, Native American, but also white, the disabled, our senior citizens. And that would be a reminder of the past. I said during the convention that the vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. Now, I read this article in “The New York Times" just yesterday. A brilliant reporter, visited California, visited Wisconsin, did an investigation, and there was not one incident of fraud. And when someone talks about the dead voters in Cleveland, in Chicago or Detroit, these large urban cities that are going to turn out and vote, they're talking about people of color, they're talking about people in urban America. And there is a effort to win this election, to steal this election before it even takes place. It's not right, it's not fair and it's not just.
LUI: Congressman, why have these laws been allowed to proliferate? I showed earlier, just moments ago, how it has swept across the country. Is it simply because people have forgotten the national struggle, the issue that you just were talking about, that we shared from your speech during the DNC convention? Are they aware of all the groups that it affects here?
LEWIS: Well, apparently, people are forgetting recent history. I know what I saw, I know what i witnessed, I know what I lived through. I almost lost my life on that bridge in Selma, Alabama. I gave a little blood. But others gave much more. Three young men that I knew, two young white men and one young black man gave their own life in the state of Mississippi during the summer of 1964. There were other people that were beaten, in jail and arrested. There were other people who were never able to register to vote simply because of the color of their skin, never able to cast a vote. And what has happened in Pennsylvania and so many other states will be another attempt. And it happens primarily in states where you have Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures.
LUI: Democratic Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, thank you for your time today.
LEWIS: Thank you.