MSNBC Terrorism Analyst: National Front ‘as Much of the Problem’ in France ‘as Jihadists Are’

In the midst of MSNBC’s coverage on the aftermath of the dual hostage situations in France that resulted in three terrorists being killed, MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann railed against the “openly racist,” “prejudice[d],” and “hateful” National Front party in France as being “as much of the problem as jihadists are” for the country.

Kohlmann also added that the National Front, which finished in third (out of ten political parties) in the last French presidential election in 2012, has “no business” being allowed to participate in the European Parliament, French Parliament, or in the next presidential election.

Following the airing of a speech by French President François Hollande, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes brought up the plans for a national unity march in Paris on Sunday that would feature all political parties with the exception of the National Front, which is currently led by Marine Le Pen.

Former Newsweek columnist Christopher Dickey then chimed in from Paris that while “[p]eople may not like Marine Le Pen” or the National Front, the party now stands “much farther to the center” compared to when Le Pen’s father founded the party. 

Next, Dickey pointed out that Le Pen will have a strong argument to make in the next French presidential elections in 2017 regarding the decision by Hollande’s Socialist government to exclude the party from this national unity march: 

[T]his is going to be something she'll actually be able to exploit. Not by promoting hate, but by saying it is Hollande who is making this a political gesture by excluding her. So, the political games have already begun, no matter what Hollande says about national unity. 

Hayes quickly summarized Dickey’s brief history of the National Front in France and agreed with the decision to exclude them, saying that it’s being done for “somewhat obvious reasons, given the kind of fissures of the politics.”

It was at that point that Kohlmann blasted the National Front and drew a moral equivalency between the murdering Islamic jihadists who committed the attacks and caused so much angst since Wednesday and a French political party (emphasis mine): 

Look at their propaganda. I mean, the propaganda is openly racist. It's openly prejudice. It's openly hateful to minorities across France. The National Front has absolutely no business being in the European Parliament. They have no business being in the French Parliament. They have no business running a presidential election and they have no business being at this national unity rally. They are as much of the problem as jihadists are and there’s many more National Front supporters than there are jihadists in France. That's the problem.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s France Terror Siege coverage on January 9 is transcribed below.

MSNBC’s France Terror Siege coverage
January 9, 2015
1:56 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: I want to bring in Chris Dickey, who's in Paris, France. There are plans for some kind of national unity March in France in Sunday – on Sunday across all the major political parties. 

CHRIS DICKEY: Well, no, not all the major political parties. 

HAYES: Except one.

DICKEY: They're purposely excluding Le Pen and the National Front, which is no longer – yea, exactly, exactly. Except one and it is not a French party anymore. People may not like Marine Le Pen, they may not like the National Front, but she has brought it much farther to the center than her father did and she is really – she will have a very good chance of getting into the second round in the presidential elections in 2017 and this is going to be something she'll actually be able to exploit. Not by promoting hate, but by saying it is Hollande who is making this a political gesture by excluding her. So, the political games have already begun, no matter what Hollande says about national unity. 

HAYES: That's a very good point. The National Front which is the right-wing party, Marine Le Pen, whose father founded this party and sort of brought it into prominence and who has been gaining political ground, they will be excluded from the national unity march. I mean, for somewhat obvious reasons, given the kind of fissures of the politics.

KOHLMANN: Look at their propaganda. I mean, the propaganda is openly racist. It's openly prejudiced. It's openly hateful to minorities across France. The National Front has absolutely no business being in the European Parliament. They have no business being in the French Parliament. They have no business running a presidential election and they have no business being at this national unity rally. They are as much of the problem as jihadists are and there’s many more National Front supporters than there are jihadists in France. That's the problem. 

Europe War on Terrorism Conservatives & Republicans Islam France MSNBC Other MSNBC Ronan Farrow Daily Chris Hayes Christopher Dickey Evan Kohlmann
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