Chuck Todd Lets Guest Wrongly Claim 'Vast Majority' Killed By Police Are Black

On Thursday's MTP Daily on MSNBC, during a discussion of recent high-profile cases of black suspects being shot and killed by police, panel member April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks made a blatantly wrong claim that the "vast majority" of criminal suspects who were killed by police officers in 2015 were black. In fact, the source that she actually cited -- the Washington Post -- found that twice as many whites as blacks were killed by the police in 2015.

Despite the blatant misinformation, neither host Chuck Todd nor the other two panel members -- Matt Bai of Yahoo News and Perry Bacon of NBC News -- took the time to correct her as all three either did not notice or just let the claim go without dispute. Bacon notably ended up plugging Hillary Clinton on the issue of establishing "national standards" and requiring "implicit bias training" for local police officers.

At about 5:16 p.m. ET, Bai was making an argument that there was more to the issue than just racial bias since black police officers had also shot black suspects, agitating Ryan and leading her to misinform viewers on crime statistics:

I have to respectfully disagree. Let's go back to a standard -- a Washington standard -- the Washington Post -- they have data from last year, and they calculated all the people who were killed in police custody or police-involved deaths last year. And the vast majority of those who died were African-American, and they were not at the hands of black police officers.

She added:

I mean, what do you say to what happened at Tulsa with that gentleman in the helicopter -- I'm not even going to call him a gentleman -- the man in the helicopter, the officer in the helicopter had to say? That was a white man saying this about an African-American, and, unfortunately, that is the pervasive thought.

The two then went back and forth:

BAI: April. it is not -- I'm sorry -- it is not denying there's a racial component here, to say that there's also complexity involved.

RYAN: There is complexity.

BAI: And I agree with what you said, though.

RYAN: And complexion.

After Bacon at one point remarked that policing is a local rather than national issue, leading Todd to inject that it should be local, Bacon then touted Clinton's plans on the issue:

Well, I'm not sure about that. Maybe if we had more national standards in terms of use of force standards and require implicit bias training. Hillary has talked about some of this stuff. This is a political discussion worth having, though.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, September 22, MTP Daily on MSNBC:

5:16 p.m. ET
MATT BAI, YAHOO NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL COLUMNIST: You have to acknowledge that it's not simply a racial bias issue -- as we see you have black officers shooting black perpetrators, and you have black victims and black perpetrators. I think, you know, one of the things you have to consider is that comes from a place of fear and bad training and incompetence. And that's something politicians can't fix that, right? Law enforcement has to fix that through training and (inaudible).

(inaudible cross talk of Matt Bai, April Ryan, and Chuck Todd)

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: I have to respectfully disagree. Let's go back to a standard -- a Washington standard -- the Washington Post -- they have data from last year, and they calculated all the people who were killed in police custody or police-involved deaths last year. And the vast majority of those who died were African-American, and they were not at the hands of black police officers.

I mean, what do you say to what happened at Tulsa with that gentleman in the helicopter -- I'm not even going to call him a gentleman -- the man in the helicopter, the officer in the helicopter had to say? That was a white man saying this about an African-American, and, unfortunately, that is the pervasive thought.

BAI: April. it is not -- I'm sorry -- it is not denying there's a racial component here, to say that there's also complexity involved.

RYAN: There is complexity.

BAI: And I agree with what you said, though.

RYAN: And complexion.

BAI: I agree particularly with what you said about, you know, the role of technology because, as you said, this isn't new. Anybody who has covered crime knows this went on, and it disproportionately affected African-Americans and minorities. And what we're seeing == and it is a positive development in a sense if you really want to twist it around and look at it that way -- is that now people are held accountable. The technology, as it's changing in so many facets of society-

RYAN: But, you know, I'm not going to say that, Oh, I'm sorry, New York, Baltimore

BAI: Technology is part of what brings it to the surface, and it's also part of the solution. And I think the body cameras, holding officers accountable on the ground while they're there is part of the solution.

RYAN: But they're not required, though. They're not required.

CHUCK TODD: No, and this what I think is where this becomes --this becomes a national policy thing because, how do we level off, I mean, I'm sorry, now, granted, these were big city, but there have been, I think, more incidents that are suburban police departments, and we know that if you can't get into the big city one, sometimes it's easier to become a cop (inaudible)

BAI: And that's not new either. It just is visible.

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: : (inaudible) -is that policing is not national, policing is very local

TODD: As it should be.

BACON: Well, I'm not sure about that. Maybe if we had more national standards in terms of use of force standards and require implicit bias training. Hillary has talked about some of this stuff. This is a political discussion worth having, though.

TODD: Okay, well, we are going to have a little bit more of this conversation, but I do need to sneak in a break.

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