On Wednesday’s The ReidOut on MSNBC, host Joy Reid continued her week-long freak out over guns and demonized anyone who owns a gun and opposes gun control. Even going as far as to compare concerns conservatives have about gun confiscations to the movie Birth of a Nation whipping up the Klan in the early 1900s.
Reid started off by sharing a conversation she had with her friend Bishop William Barber. She recounted how “in 1915, ‘Birth of a Nation’ which was the first real blockbuster, and still is one of the most-watched movies of all time, came on the scene just at the end of the era where reconstruction died and the troops were pulled out of the south in 1877 and in 1915 a friend of Woodrow Wilson, the President at the time.”
Reid continued that “it created a rebirth of the Klan and, of course, lynchings followed because you had this sort of depiction in the media of apocalyptic fear of this black menace.” She then asked one of her guests Charles Blow of the New York Times what he makes “of the fact that it's happening again?”
In response, Blow went after the National Rifle Association (NRA) right out of the gate claiming “the NRA has figured out that this works, and there's a blood pact between the Republican Party, the NRA.” And claimed the NRA “create[s] menaces out of everything.”
After Blow was finished, Reid jumped in again and continued her bizarre historical comparisons: “then you had Nixon who said oh you know what? We're going to demonize the hippies and the black and brown people with this war on drugs, but it was great politics to get more people to vote.”
She then asked Blow if it surprises him that “there is no pause or sense of guilt” from the NRA for “creating rage that then produces violence.”
Blow predictably responded that it doesn’t surprise him because the NRA “look[s] at this as collateral damage.”
To read the relevant transcript click “expand”:
MSNBC’s The ReidOut
7:08:18 p.m. Eastern
JOY REID: Charles, let me bring you in on this. Because you know I was having a conversation with my good friend Bishop William Barber and he sort of did another ka-ching thing for me. He talked about the fact that you know in 1915, "Birth of a Nation" which was the first real blockbuster, and still is one of the most-watched movies of all time, came on the scene just at the end of the era where reconstruction died and the troops were pulled out of the south in 1877 and in 1915 a friend of Woodrow Wilson, the President at the time, translates— this sort of -- creates this film, and he screens it in the White House and it becomes a huge film. We're going to play a little clip of it here just to show you what it looks like. It literally made the Klan come back after it had been squashed after the Civil War. It created a rebirth of the Klan and, of course, lynchings followed because you had this sort of depiction in the media of apocalyptic fear of this black menace. So it's not like this is a new thing. It's happened before. What do you make of the fact that it's happening again?
CHARLES BLOW: Well, I mean, I think the other guest is exactly right. The NRA has figured out that this works, and there's a blood pact between the Republican Party, the NRA, and the gunmakers themselves, and there's a cycle of money and power that is being turned all the time between those three parties, and you see this -- you know, they create menaces out of everything. One menace that they create that I don’t think we touched on enough here is the menace that something will actually happen. That something will be done that, there will be an assault rifles ban, so when you see people like Barack Obama run and win, background checks go through the roof because people run out to buy guns because they assume that something may happen one day that will prohibit them from having them and you see the same thing happen after mass shootings that gets a lot of national attention. People run out and buy these guns all over again because they assume that something might happen to prohibit them from buying them.
In a way Donald Trump was the worst thing that could have happened for the NRA and gunmakers because they didn't have a foil, right? And so they couldn't say he's gonna do it so they had to make other enemies. They had to say people coming across the border are the enemy, there's going to be a race war or whatever. They are constantly trying to figure out who is going to be the best foil to gin up the most cells and most anger in the electorate. And that gain, as you just pointed out, they’ve been playing it forever. Conservatives in this country have been playing that game forever, but- it is a new iteration of it and it is --
REID: The thing you can do -- "Birth of a Nation" was a very interesting way of ginning up that as you said. Then you had Nixon who said oh you know what? We're going to demonize the hippies and the black and brown people with this war on drugs, but it was great politics to get more people to vote. There's always a purpose for it, you know, either a financial or a political purpose and I guess I'll ask you the same -- to comment, Charles, on the same question. The fact that there is no pause or sense of guilt or a sense of, you know, a pause morally in creating rage that then produces violence, does that surprise you, or at this point should we stop being surprised?
BLOW: It doesn't surprise me because I think on some level they look at this as collateral damage, right, because 99.9 percent of these weapons, because there are millions of them out there, are never used in any sort of mass shooting and, in fact, even in community violence, the weapon of choice is a handgun, not an AR-15 so the vast, vast majority of people who own AR-15s are not using them in any sort of violent way and they probably never will. So they look at that and they say well the vast majority of the weapons that we’re selling are not doing anything, these are the kooks, these are the weird off-shoots who are doing this and we have to say that's all it takes. Only takes a fraction of a percent when you have millions and millions and millions of these guns to do incredible damage.