NBC News reporter Ayman Mohyeldin has been using his MSNBC hosting duties of late to put on display how much of a hack for liberals he can be as he went from stretching to absolving Democrats from being connected to high crime levels, to attacking Republicans over redistricting against Democrats.
As fill-in host on Tuesday's Deadline: White House, Mohyeldin devoted a segment to complaining about Republicans in Alabama trying to limit Democrats to only one in seven congressional districts, calling it the "GOP's assault on our elections and democracy." He then went to MSNBC legal analyst and former Obama U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance for reaction, and she began by admitting that she was not an expert on the issue before nevertheless giving commentary anyway.
Like many other liberal journalists the analysis was self-contradictory as Vance complained about the state's black-majority seventh district being oddly shaped, but she also wanted to create another black-majority district, which typically requires the drawing of oddly-shaped district. In fact, back in the 1980s before the state began engaging in racial gerrymandering, the compact, ungerrymandered districts used had none that was close to being black majority. According to the Almanac of American Politics, in the 1980s, the sixth district was the smallest in the state, just encompassing Birmingham and the surrounding county, only had 31 percent of its residents who were black, the most of any districts at the time.
No other district this compact has been drawn since because Democrats began engaging in racial gerrymandering in 1992. It is also noteworthy that the GOP's proposed configuration of the district looks almost identical to the version used by Democrats in the 1990s.
And a few days earlier during his eponymous weekend show, Mohyeldin bent over backwards to distance elected Democrats from rampant crime in cities they run. The MSNBC host began the segment by alluding to a FoxNews.com article titled, "12 major Dem controlled cities break homicide records following historically bloody 2020."
Asserting that "correlation doesn't imply causation," and citing an unidentified "expert," he then complained: "But that doesn't stop the right from blaming the rising crime rate -- one of their favorite boogeyman mantras is 'defund the police.'"
His commentary was reminiscent of flaky analysis once delivered by Washington Post reporter Philip Bump in admitting that Democrats and crime often go together but still denying any sort of cause and effect relationship.
Without mentioning issues like bail reform which conservatives argue has made it easier for criminals to avoid incarceration and re-offend. In the FoxNews.com article he mentioned (but didn't quote from), reporter Emma Colton observed:
Some have blamed the crime spikes on bail reform, lack of arrests, fallout from police retirements and resignation's following 2020's nationwide call to defund the police. "Nobody's getting arrested anymore," retired chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, Robert Boyce, told ABC News. "People are getting picked up for gun possession, and they're just let out over and over again."
It is noteworthy that, just last week, former NYPD commissioner William Bratton made a appearance on MSNBC Reports with Stephanie Ruhle, and blamed soft on crime policies adopted by his state in the past decade. Bratton had been commissioner in the 1990s when New York City crime dropped substantially.
Mohyeldin's hack analysis was sponsored in part by E Trade. Their contact information is linked.
February 5, 2022
8:44 p.m. Eastern
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Year after year, voters consistently rank crime as one of their top issues. So it's no surprise that headlines like this receive a lot of attention -- "12 major Democrat-controlled cities break homicide records following historically bloody 2020." But headlines like this, let's be clear, don't tell the full story. First, let's take a look at the framing here -- "12 major Democrat-controlled cities?" Yes, each of the cities referenced in that article is led by a Democratic mayor, but experts have repeatedly warned against drawing a direct line between party control and crime. Maybe you remember the saying, "Correlation doesn't imply causation." It's true that big cities tend to have more crime, and, yes, those big cities usually vote for Democrats, but those two facts aren't necessarily related. As one expert pointed out to USA Today, "There are plenty of Democrat-controlled cities that are not on that list." He also suggested such a cause and effect quote a "pretty irresponsible one."
But that doesn't stop the right from blaming the rising crime rate -- one of their favorite boogeyman mantras is "defund the police." But is that accurate? Let me break the facts down for you. Following the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, progressive activists called for a number of police reforms. One of those was a relocation of funds from police to social programs which was branded "defund the police." But of those 12 cities facing record-breaking homicide rates, only six cut or diverted parts of their police budgets. The other six actually increased police spending. That makes the right's narrative a little harder to swallow. I'm not good at math, but it does tell a more comprehensive picture.
Plus two of those cities that I mentioned that diverted or decreased spending after the defund the police movement -- Portland and Austin -- have since increased their police funding. But here's the thing. In the cities that did divert spending, it's actually too early to tell what impact that had on the homicide rate. Right now, experts say there's no research proving that defunding the police leads to homicide spikes. A professor "who studies homicide" called "using one or two years of data to highlight a trend...'essentially useless'" since homicides are "rare relative to other crimes," and she insisted multiple years of data is needed. And, in fact, older data actually suggests that local crime rates cannot be predicted by officer strength and police budgets alone.
So let's be clear about this and what this is. It's members of the conservative media cherry picking data to pick their narrative. That much is clear since they seem to be ignoring the host of experts point to other possibilities for the rise in homicide rates like pandemic-related factors, including the rise of firearm sales or economic stress.
MSNBC's Deadline: White House
February 8, 2022
5:02 p.m. Eastern
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: It means the 2022 congressional elections in Alabama will take place under a map drawn by the state's Republican leaders. The GOP's assault on our elections and democracy is where we start this hour. The GOP's assault on our elections and democracy is where we start this hour. [INTRODUCES PANEL] Joyce, I'll start with you. I'm putting up a graphic here for you and our viewers to see. It's a map that the Supreme Court allowed to stand. Speaking --- speak to us a little bit, if you will, about the impact of this ruling on Alabama voters in the state that you know very well and how this decision by the Supreme Court could effect redistricting efforts elsewhere.
JOYCE VANCE: So, let me make it clear that I'm not an expert on redrawing maps based on new census data, but I don't think that you have to be an expert to look at that map and see how oddly it's drawn. The two arms that reach off the body of the one remaining district that gives black voters a chance to elect a representative of their choice. Those two arms that fall off of it that grab Birmingham in one claw and Montgomery in the other claw, and those are the two majority black cities in Birmingham, so you can -- in Alabama -- so you can see how easy it would be to have districts that better represented the population. About 25 percent of the state is black, but this district crams most of those black voters into one district instead of dividing them up into two, which is what the three-judge panel concluded needed to be done. Worth noting, I really hate this characterization of -- of judges as Democrats or Republicans. I don't think it fits, but two of the judges on this panel were appointed by then-President Trump, so this isn't some sort of a Democratic cabal or a Democratic plot. This is just a recognition that, for too long, Alabama has minimized and suppressed the rights of black voters, and it was time to change that.
5:06 p.m. Eastern
MOHYELDIN: So talk to us about this ruling being a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
MAYA WILEY, NSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, -- it is Black History Month. We are talking about Alabama --- the same state where the march from Selma to Montgomery, including Representative John Lewis, who everyone lionized in Congress --- came from and at this juncture, what we're seeing with this opinion is nothing short of yet another stab in the heart of voting rights.