NBC Freak-Out: Brexit = ‘Fear, Xenophobia, Racism,’ ‘Threatens Western Civilization’

Appearing on NBC’s Today, analyst and Daily Beast editor Christopher Dickey launched into a tirade against Britain’s vote to leave the European Union: “...they claim it says, right off the bat, is that they were tired of all the bureaucracy of the European Union, they didn’t want all the constraints, they want their sovereignty. But what this was really about is fear, xenophobia, in some cases, certainly racism.”

He denounced Brexit campaign tactics: “...the big push for this came from a party UKIP, the UK Independence Party, that was busy putting up posters of Syrian immigrants coming in at the border of Croatia. That was not really a problem for Britain, but it was touching a button, a hot button for people in Britain who said, ‘We want out. We want to isolate ourselves, again.’”

Co-host Savannah Guthrie began the exchange by hyping: “This feels like an earthquake, a shocker.” Moments later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer fretted: “Do you see this as a stand-alone decision or might this be the first in a series of dominos?” Dickey replied:

Oh, listen, this is the first, potentially the first in a series of disastrously collapsing dominos....We’ve got Marine Le Pen, really extreme right, she’s going to be a very big political force in this country [France], she already is. She may win the first round of the presidential elections next year, and she’s already called for a referendum. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands – very anti-Muslim, very anti-immigration – he's called for a referendum. We see this again and again all over Europe.

Dickey concluded by touting more outlandish fearmongering: “In fact, the president of the European Council said this doesn't just threaten the European Union, this threatens western civilization. He may have been overstating it, but that's the mood.” Guthrie agreed: “It is, indeed.”

Appearing on Today back in March, in the wake of the terror attacks in Brussels, Dickey infamously blamed "rampant Islamophobia" and "xenophobic politics" in Europe for the violence.

Here is a full transcript of the June 24 segment:

7:05 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's turn to NBC News analyst Christopher Dickey, the world news editor for The Daily Beast. Chris, good morning. This feels like an earthquake, a shocker. And what does it say about the sentiment and the mood of British voters?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Well, it says that they – what they claim it says, right off the bat, is that they were tired of all the bureaucracy of the European Union, they didn’t want all the constraints, they want their sovereignty. But what this was really about is fear, xenophobia, in some cases, certainly racism. The push – the big push for this came from a party UKIP, the UK Independence Party, that was busy putting up posters of Syrian immigrants coming in at the border of Croatia. That was not really a problem for Britain, but it was touching a button, a hot button for people in Britain who said, “We want out. We want to isolate ourselves, again.”

And at the same time, they were being told, “We'll still have free trade, we’ll still enjoy some of the benefits of the European Union, so maybe we can have it all ways.” Maybe they can, but the rest of Europe is not looking at it that way and I think it’s going to be difficult for the UK to function as it was functioning before.

MATT LAUER: Well, Chris, that brings us to the point that Bill Neely just touched on. Do you see this as a stand-alone decision or might this be the first in a series of dominos?

DICKEY: Oh, listen, this is the first, potentially the first in a series of disastrously collapsing dominos. One set of dominos actually is within the United Kingdom. Scotland did not vote for this, they voted to stay in the European Union. Northern Ireland vote to stay in the European Union. And they're not sure that they want to stay in the United Kingdom anymore.

Then we’ve got Europe. We’ve got Marine Le Pen, really extreme right, she’s going to be a very big political force in this country [France], she already is. She may win the first round of the presidential elections next year, and she’s already called for a referendum. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands – very anti-Muslim, very anti-immigration – he's called for a referendum. We see this again and again all over Europe. In fact, the president of the European Council said this doesn't just threaten the European Union, this threatens western civilization. He may have been overstating it, but that's the mood.

GUTHRIE: It is, indeed. Chris Dickey on an important day. Thank you.

NBDaily Brexit Vote Europe Britain The Daily Beast NBC Today Video Christopher Dickey Matt Lauer Savannah Guthrie

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