Chuck Todd Shudders at Coming ‘Islamophobia’ – ‘It’s Going to Get Ugly’

MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall had Chuck Todd on for two segments related to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino on Wednesday. When confronted with the idea that this could be terrorism, as many labeled the Colorado Springs shooting, Todd hesitantly said, “I don't know if we want to go down that road, Tamron, just yet. I think, I think let's let all this play out. But I have, I have very, I have some fears of where this conversation goes, if this turns into being an American Muslim, an American citizen, and the investigation comes out that this is a radicalized situation and all this stuff, I think the consequences on our politics could be very ugly and very negative.”

Seemingly taken aback by Todd’s response, Hall pressed him on his reply.

“I think everyone feels that way. It is that natural fear when you look at some of the headlines right now. One of the most visited papers in the world, their headline is "Muslim couple." And we know that people will have this visceral reaction in some way to that. But when you have the President of the United States saying that it is possible, as difficult as it is and our responsibility is to report the facts, the possibility of it being that is now on the table while this investigation proceeds.”

Todd, now thrown off by Hall pressing him to “report the facts” stated, “That's right. And it's, it's just going to, it's just going to raise the issue of Islamophobia again. I mean, let's, you know, that's why it's like a little too soon to have that conversation because it may not end well.” 

When Hall raised Republican candidates saying today that current gun laws aren’t being enforced, Todd replied, “That's been a standard way that some that have wanted to not tackle more gun-control ideas will go.” Todd brought up the liberal boilerplate: “There are strict laws in a California, but there are not strict laws in a Wisconsin, and isn't that far from Chicago. There aren't strict laws in an Arizona that is bordering on a state in California. So the point being, you know, unless you deal with this on national basis, then actually the local laws are pointless but we do need to get the facts.”

See the relevant transcript below.

2015-12-3-MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall

HALL: Chuck, let's talk about the dynamic now, if this is, in fact, a terror incident here. The President leaving the door open as the possibility. The same rhetoric in a sense that we heard -- wording, I should say, from local law enforcement people there yesterday. What is the key question regarding, then some of the safety measures that need to be in place, whether it's this fiancée Visa -- and again, we don't know, but now you have this component of a possible terror attack. How does that change the conversation? 

TODD: How does it change the conversation? I don't know if we want to go down that road, Tamron, just yet. I think -- I think let's let all this play out. But I have -- I have very -- I have some fears of where this conversation goes, if this turns into being an American Muslim, an American citizen, and the investigation comes out that this is a radicalized situation and all this stuff, I think the consequences on our politics could be very ugly and very negative. And I'll just leave it at that. 

HALL: And I think everyone feels that way. It is that natural fear when you look at some of the headlines right now. One of the most visited papers in the world, their headline is "Muslim couple." And we know that people will have this visceral reaction in some way to that. But when you have the President of the United States saying that it is possible, as difficult as it is and our responsibility is to report the facts, the possibility of it being that is now on the table while this investigation proceeds. 

TODD: That's right. And it's -- it's just going to -- it's just going to raise the issue of Islamophobia again. I mean, let's -- you know, that -- that's why it's like a little too soon to have that conversation because it may not end well. 

HALL: But we do know that the attack in Colorado Springs at the Planned Parenthood. You had Mike Huckabee, GOP candidate, and others refer to it as domestic terrorism. People often have a different reaction when it is a, quote, domestic terror incident, Oklahoma, versus the politicians, and that's what I should say. You're absolutely right. 

TODD: Politicians do because, you know, it's interesting -- and you know, you haven't seen that -- we had a focus group a couple of weeks ago, and one of the participants was asked, and they were asked if they worry about terrorism. And the woman brought up on her own, well, these mass shootings are a form of terrorism.  So I think -- I think the public reacts differently. 

HALL: We have not called it that. 

TODD: I think the public reacts differently than public officials on this stuff.

HALL: And even the media we still call mass shootings, Colorado, Aurora, mass shootings. Columbine was not called at that time domestic terrorism. It is a change in wording not only from the politicians but quite honestly what we do as journalists. 

TODD: Right. Well, I mean, you know, the definition of being -- of terrorism is terrorizing a group of people. Guess what people are feeling terrorized. You know, you don't have the uptick in background checks for people to go and buy gun if people weren't fearful. I think there are a lot of anecdotal evidence of pointing to signs that a lot of Americans are feeling insecure for various reasons.

NBDaily Crime Military War on Terrorism Religion Islam Cable Television MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Journalistic Issues Government & Press ISIS Tamron Hall Chuck Todd

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