Appearing as a panel member on MSNBC's Deadline: White House, MSNBC contributor John Heilemann displayed the latest example of the liberal media's tendency to gloss over the Reverend Al Sharpton's history of stoking racism as he actually praised Sharpton's involvement in the Central Park Five rape case from 1989.
Not mentioned was that -- as recounted by former New York Post columnist and current MSNBC contributor John Podhoretz -- Sharpton helped incite a mob which harassed the rape victim during the trial and chanted that she was a "whore."
The comments came during a discussion of whether it is a sign of racism that President Donald Trump recently derided former White House advisor Omarosa as a "dog." Heilemann referred back to the discredited myth that Trump lobbied for the death penalty against the Central Park Five in 1989 as allegedly further evidence of racism.
Additionally, in recent weeks, other journalists and commentators on both MSNBC and CNN have repeated the same debunked myth even though, as previously documented by NewsBusters, his death penalty ad from the time, in fact, was part of a general effort to reinstate the death penalty option -- which was illegal at the time -- for future cases, as the issue had been debated in the New York state legislature around that time.
In fact, in an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live in May 1989, soon after running the ad, Trump actually argued that only adults who commit murder should be executed while juveniles should receive longer prison sentences:
If the woman died, the perpetrator should die -- there's no question about it -- if they're at a certain age. If they're minors, they should be treated very strongly.
Now, the problem is, so many crimes today are being committed by 15- and 16- and 17-year-olds, and they go away for six months, or they go away a year to reform school. And then they get out, and they're out to do it again.
Something has to be done, and it has to be done quickly. Those so-called kids have to be put in a very, very secure and solid prison system for many years.
Given that, in the late 1980s, there were about 2,000 homicides committed each year in New York City, these anti-crime sentiments were certainly not unusual.
Heilemann and a few other commentators have also recently claimed that, when he was asked about the issue in October 2016, then-candidate Trump claimed that the suspects should have been executed in spite of their convictions being vacated when, in fact, both the NBC and CNN accounts of his statement on the matter mention nothing about him asserting at that time that they should have been executed.
And an October 2016 op-ed by Central Park Five member Yusuf Salaam made no mention that Trump had made any recent claim that they should have been executed.
Additionally, on the subject of whether the Central Park really were completely innocent, the Ken Burns film, The Central Park Five, which was devoted to defending the group of teens, still claimed that they were "beating up other people" on the same night when a total of about eight people reportedly were attacked by a group of dozens of teens rampaging through the park.
So the claims that Trump lobbied for the death penalty for a group of innocent underage teens is just a myth that is so deeply entrenched within the liberal media bubble, that many journalists and commentators continue to parrot the line no matter how much it has been discredited. And it is a myth that has been repeated over and over and over again in the past couple of years.