MSNBC’s Phony ‘War on Voting’ Hysteria

On Wednesday’s edition of MSNBC Live, Thomas Roberts continued the hysteria that fellow MSNBC host Al Sharpton created by claiming there is a concerted assault on minority voters across the country.  In an ‘interview’ with’s Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the two expressed fear that voting rights, particularly racial minorities like African-Americans, aren’t being protected by Congress.

Hutchinson used a National Urban League study to prop up his crazy assertions that voting rights are under attack.  [See video below.  MP3 audio here.] 

Earlier this week,  MSNBC used the anniversary of the march to Montgomery, Alabama, to tar voter ID laws as racist attempts to disenfranchise millions of black voters.  Today, Hutchinson made the absurd claim that, “ voting rights in many cases is under attack” and that new state voter ID laws are a real threat to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Of course to no one's surprise, Roberts and Hutchinson blamed Congress, primarily the GOP-controlled House, for failing to challenge the state-issued laws. Left completely unmentioned was how voter ID laws were found perfectly constitutional by the Supreme Court and that the opinion in that case, Crawford v. Marion County,  was written by the staunchly liberal John Paul Stevens.

The absurdity continued, as Roberts gave a softball to Hutchinson asking him what he felt was, “the greatest obstacle for African-Americans” regarding jobs and education.  Earl blamed the GOP, claiming they are deliberately putting up obstacles for minorities for education and job training.   

One wonders why MSNBC continues to give Al Sharpton and others the platform to create a bogus issue claiming minority voting rights are in jeopardy when no credible evidence supports this.

Curiously enough, if you wanted to appear in studio on an MSNBC program, be sure to bring your photo ID. You'll not be able to get in without one. Way for the liberal network, that great paragon of progressivism, to lean forward!

Below is the relevant transcript.

March 7, 2012
11:25 a.m. EST

THOMAS ROBERTS: Today is the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. On this day in 1965 police attacked voting rights demonstrators marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Reverend Al Sharpton is now leading a march to mark that anniversary and  is trying to raise awareness about modern day voting rights.  It also falls on the same day the National Urban League released its 2012 State of Black America report. Joining me live from L.A. is syndicated columnist, political analyst and author, Earl Ofari Hutchinson. And Earl it's nice to see you today. And as we know from Reverend Al's march and also his reporting this week and today being the anniversary, minority voting rights remains a huge issue this campaign season. It's also, as I mentioned in the National Urban League's latest report, right now as we take a peek at this, 31 states require all voters to show ID before voting. The report says the Justice Department now on this case. Earl, now that Congress hasn't done enough to protect voter rights in certain people's estimation, why has that not happened? And what sort of political fallout could result from the inaction come November?

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON: Well, I think several things. As we well know, voting rights in many cases is under attack. We have three state attorney generals at this count and there may even be more in the future, that have actually signed on to a court challenge. Shelby County, Alabama, saying that pre-clearance. Justice Department requiring that all states, that they change any voting requirements, they must get Justice Department pre-clearance where they’re challenging that. States attorney generals have signed onto that. There's a real possibility it could go all the way up to the Supreme Court. That would jeopardize even more, if there was an adverse decision in the federal appeals court and/or the Supreme Court essentially striking down some of the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The repercussions would be awesome. Number one, Congress at that point would be directly challenged to step in. Some Congress persons already are really beginning to call this whole assault on minority voting and voter suppression the war on voting. We're hearing that term. I think the second thing is that we would really begin to see, is that there would be a concerted effort, we're already seeing that on the part of the Urban League, NAACP and Al Sharpton, a concerted effort on the part of many in the Democratic Party, many civil rights activists and many of those that are concerned about voting and voting rights expansion. I think you'll begin to see more challenges. Not only in the court but also certainly congressional legislation and I think you'll see the Obama administration get involved.

ROBERTS: Earl, let's talk about the report also hammering home the National Urban League 12-point jobs plan to put America back to work. President Obama he’s been hammering home the point that he sees both higher education and jobs as a priority for all. What's the greatest obstacle for African-Americans in terms of both this being made a reality right now?

HUTCHINSON: I think the greatest obstacle is the -- the biggest thing that's been there all along, namely, the obstructionism on the part of many in the GOP and the House of Representatives. As we well know, the president and many Democrats have consistently said, look, we have got to get the economy going. We have got to make jobs a priority. We have got to spend money to do that. And there have been a number of initiatives from the Obama administration and the democratic party leadership that has been proposed in Congress time and time again. And there's been certainly a great reluctance on the part of the GOP House leadership and, in fact, many democrats, too, that are very conservative to essentially put those obstacles there. I think it's going to be the major issue, barring none, during this election cycle, jobs and the economy. If the Obama administration continues to press their initiatives, education, too, but especially jobs, if they continue to press their initiatives and put congress on the defensive, I think that they're going to continue to try to use that to score political points. And quite frankly, I think it would resonate well with the American public.

2012 Presidential Campaigns & Elections Other MSNBC Thomas Roberts Earl Ofari Hutchinson

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