Michael Eric Dyson Explodes on 'New Day' Panel

On Thursday’s edition of New Day, the CNN morning show co-host Alisyn Camerota invited former George W. Bush advisor Scott Jennings and left wing political commentator Michael Eric Dyson on to discuss a recent poll that found half of all Americans believe President Trump is racist. What followed was a series of hyperbolic pronouncements that have come to define Dyson’s appearances on television.

 

 

Dyson began by agreeing with the premise of Trump being racist and accused Republicans of being complicit in such racism.

DYSON: Donald Trump talks like a racist, thinks like a racist, makes statements like a racist. Conjures emotions that give succour and support to white supremacists and white nationalists. Yes, he's a racist because racism is as racism does. So this attempt to avoid -- and here's the problem. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it's not the white supremacists who are the problem, it's white moderates and conservatives who tend to be complicit with that by trying to dismiss it. Brother Jennings, much respect for you but this is ludicrous. What you're doing is even more egregious because you're attempting to justify, legitimate, and make valid what are essentially naked, raw statements of racism. This is easy stuff. This is very clear --

CAMEROTA: Let him talk.

DYSON: -- that it has racial animus here and you're trying to dismiss it as a difference of opinion.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

DYSON: That is, itself, complicitous  in the racist element we're talking about.

Jennings attempted to push back saying “on CNN many times and I have said the president has made a mistake here and he's going to regret this, and that the president can do better. But I don't believe Donald Trump is a racist.”

Dyson later followed up with a fuming tirade:

Here's the point. We have a clear-cut example of racial animus. At the very least, racially disparaging comments. Racial inclinations here that are outside not only the norm of what we accept as humane, but he has emboldened white supremacists to come forward. The resurge in bigotry of America has been catalyzed by this president who stands in his bully pulpit to bully people who don't agree with him. And I think it is ridiculous here for brother Scott to come on this -- these airwaves and not acknowledge what is clear and plain before us that a man making inflammatory remarks is not something just to be disagreed with. You should find them abhorrent. You should find them -- you should repudiate them and find them a cause for you to distance yourself from a man who could call Mexicans rapists -- all Mexicans rapists. Muslims who should be banned. Black people who should be discriminated against. Women who should be treated in a sexually predatory manner. The point is that here is a president who has said things quite clearly and you, as a figure, can't even say yes, I find it repugnant and reprehensible and he should be repudiated. And yet, you come on to try to say I disagreed with you in the past. I find it repugnant and reprehensible, and he should be repudiated, and yet you come on to try to say I disagree with you in the past. That's part of the problem we're confronting here in America, and until white folk like you can stand up and find your spine, you will continue to be complicit in the racist animus of this country.

Interspersed between these monologues was the constant back and forth of two talking heads yelling at and talking over each other that has come to dominate cable news all too often. The model of trying to compress a civil and nuanced conversation about racial issues (that should take hours or days) into a short cable news segment is unproductive and only serves for pundits to get their thirty seconds of fame without actually solving any issues or coming to a better understanding about differences.

A full transcript of this segment is below.

New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman

7/5/18

07:52:35 – 08:01:59

ALISYN CAMEROTA: OK, listen to this. A new national poll asked Americans if they think President Trump is racist and half of Americans surveyed say yes -- half. Let's discuss this with Michael Eric Dyson. His new book, "What Truth Sounds Likes" is now a "New York Times" bestseller, as well as CNN political commentator Scott Jennings. Gentlemen, we have to just repeat that headline. Half of Americans find the President of the United States to be racist. Scott, how do you make sense of that?

SCOTT JENNINGS: Well, I think it's a reflection of the extreme political polarization we live in, in America right now. We are willing, as Americans, to ascribe all of the worst motivations to every policy viewed, every action that our political opponents take. In this case, what the people who disapprove of Trump believe is that he's a racist and everything he does must be rooted in some form of racism. I think during the Obama years; Republicans were also guilty of this. We ascribed some of Obama's motivations to the fact that he was not born in this country. He was a secret Muslim.

CAMEROTA: But --

JENNINGS: I think what we have is such polarization that it drives us to believe the worst in our political opponents.

CAMEROTA: OK.

JENNINGS: It's a mistrustful environment and it's bad.

CAMEROTA: But Scott, do you think that any of it has to do with President Trump's own words or actions? Let me put up a few of them that people have called racist. In 19 -- he was accused, as you know, throughout the 70s of discriminating against minorities at his rental properties. In fact, he settled a case about that. That was in 1973, 1978, and 1992. He perpetuated birtherism, as you know, calling the -- saying that President Obama wasn't born here. Called Mexicans entering the country rapists and criminals. He refused to renounce David Duke, as you may recall. He said the Central Park Five were all still guilty despite DNA evidence to the contrary. He said a judge could not be impartial because he was Mexican -- had Mexican heritage, I should say. He said there were people -- fine people on both sides of the Charlottesville protest that involved white supremacists. He attacks NFL players for kneeling during the Anthem, and he referred to Haiti and African countries as "blank hole" countries. So, Scott, do you really think it's just the polarization of the public or do you think that it's possible that Donald Trump is responsible for some of this feeling?

JENNINGS: Well, some of the examples you cited -- I mean, just because you disagree with people kneeling doesn't make you a racist. Just because you --

CAMEROTA: OK, but how about the other ones?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Good, God almighty.

CAMEROTA: How about the ones about --

DYSON: This is the problem.

CAMEROTA: -- about Charlottesville.

JENNINGS: But the -- and look, as you know, I've been on this show with you guys and I have disagreed at times with the president's language. I don't agree with some of the stances he's taken and --

CAMEROTA: Yes, but do you think some of them are racist?

JENNINGS: No, I don't believe they're racist. I just believe they are not well-informed and I believe they might be the wrong tone at the wrong time.

DYSON: Wow. Yes, the KKK --

JENNINGS: I don't believe the president is a racist.

DYSON: The KKK just is looking for a discount on linen. It's now, you know, a racist organization. They just wear sheets when they get up at night and sleepwalk. Here's the problem. This kind of grievous moral equivalency between hey, they said Obama was something. They disagreed with him. They were polarized and now they're looking at Trump. Here is a guy who has called Haiti and African nations’ s-hole countries. Here is a guy who in 1973, as you already indicated, was found in a judgment by the Department of Justice to be a discriminatory person when it came to black people --

CAMEROTA: Landlord.

DYSON: -- consistent -- landlord -- consistently. The Central Park Five -- he called for their death and even after they were exonerated he still said it was outrageous. The reality is that we're talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson. He looks at stars, he looks through telescopes. Is he an astrophysicist? Well, the reality is this. Donald Trump talks like a racist, thinks like a racist, makes statements like a racist. Conjures emotions that give sucker and support to white supremacists and white nationalists. Yes, he's a racist because racism is as racism does. So this attempt to avoid -- and here's the problem. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it's not the white supremacists who are the problem, it's white moderates and conservatives who tend to be complicit with that by trying to dismiss it. Brother Jennings, much respect for you but this is ludicrous. What you're doing is even more egregious because you're attempting to justify, legitimate, and make valid what are essentially naked, raw statements of racism. This is easy stuff. This is very clear --

CAMEROTA: Let him talk.

DYSON: -- that it has racial animus here and you're trying to dismiss it as a difference of opinion.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

DYSON: That is, itself, complicitous in the racist element we're talking about.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Scott.

JENNINGS: Well, I disagree with everything you've said. I disagree with the motives you've ascribed to me. And I think most Republicans and most conservatives, frankly, are tired of being called by the American left that they are racist or complicit in racism because they ask you to vote for them --

DYSON: Deal with the issue at hand.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but --

JENNINGS: -- or serve as politicians or believe in certain --

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: I understand. Hold on -- hold on, gentlemen. It's not -- it's not --

JENNINGS: You're welcome to come on here and call that to me --

CAMEROTA: Scott, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- but it's not going to --

CAMEROTA: Let's just --

JENNINGS: It's not going to help what you want to get out of this country --

CAMEROTA: Understood. Scott -- Scott, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- I promise you.

CAMEROTA: Scott, hold on.

DYSON: To get out of this country?

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Hold on, Michael. Scott, focus on the question about President Trump. How can you overlook -- how can you gloss over some of these points that people have found to be racist?

JENNINGS: I don't overlook it. I have come on your show and other shows --

DYSON: Are they racist?

JENNINGS: -- on CNN many times and I have said the president has made a mistake here and he's going to regret this, and that the president can do better. But I don't believe Donald Trump is a racist. I just -- I don't believe that. I think he may have -- I think he -- I think he may --

CAMEROTA: Why not? But, I just -- hold on. I just -- I'm -- hold on, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- have formed --

CAMEROTA: I just want to ask you -- I just want to ask you specifically if for somebody who tells black applicants who come to their apartment building that the rent is twice as high as they told white applicants or for somebody who tells black applicants who come to rent an apartment that it's filled -- that there's no vacancies -- but they don't tell a white person that the same an hour later, how is that not racist?

JENNINGS: Yes, look, I don't know the details of these cases. I really don't.

DYSON: That's the complicity --

JENNINGS: And I'm not going to sit here and go through the guy's resume from 40 years ago.

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Michael. Hold on, Michael. Let me hear --

JENNINGS: But what I'm going to tell you is --

DYSON: You're giving him all the time. I mean, you're giving -- you're giving airspace to a guy --

CAMEROTA: Because I want to hear his explanation.

DYSON: -- and oxygen to a guy who is really trying to legitimate and validate racism. He has far worse than --

CAMEROTA: No. I want to hear how he explains it.

DYSON: -- even what the president is.

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Michael. You'll get your turn. Go ahead, Scott.

DYSON: All right.

JENNINGS: All I can tell you is is that I view the presidency -- this presidency through the lens of his policy actions during this last year and a half. I think his basic policy actions are essential basic tenants of the Republicans' platforms. Not in all cases but in most cases.

CAMEROTA: Sure. Can you overlook his words? Is that -- I mean, basically, you overlook his words.

JENNINGS: I think -- no, I don't overlook his words. I've been on with you personally saying that I disagree with the words the president has chosen --

CAMEROTA: Understood, but you don't consider them racist?

JENNINGS: -- in many cases. No, I do not believe the president is a racist.

CAMEROTA: OK.

JENNINGS: I do not believe that.

CAMEROTA: OK. Michael, go ahead.

DYSON: Here's the point. We have a clear-cut example of racial animus. At the very least, racially disparaging comments. Racial inclinations here that are outside not only the norm of what we accept as humane, but he has emboldened white supremacists to come forward. The resurge in bigotry of America has been catalyzed by this president who stands in his bully pulpit to bully people who don't agree with him. And I think it is ridiculous here for brother Scott to come on this -- these airwaves and not acknowledge what is clear and plain before us that a man making inflammatory remarks is not something just to be disagreed with. You should find them abhorrent. You should find them -- you should repudiate them and find them a cause for you to distance yourself from a man who could call Mexicans rapists -- all Mexicans rapists. Muslims who should be banned. Black people who should be discriminated against. Women who should be treated in a sexually predatory manner. The point is that here is a president who has said things quite clearly and you, as a figure, can't even say yes, I find it repugnant and reprehensible and he should be repudiated. And yet, you come on to try to say I disagreed with you in the past. I find it repugnant and reprehensible, and he should be repudiated, and yet you come on to try to say I disagree with you in the past. That's part of the problem we're confronting here in America, and until white folk like you can stand up and find your spine, you will continue to be complicit in the racist animus of this country.

CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Scott, you want the last word?

JENNINGS: Sure. Look, you obviously have strong feelings on this. I appreciate everything you do. I'm a fan of your work in some cases, and I think you've raised many, many good issues over the course of your career. I disagree with you on this because I think what is happening right now is that the American left in this country is willing to ascribe racist motivations to virtually every Republican or conservative in this country no matter what they do, and that is absolutely wrong.

DYSON: We're only talking about one.

JENNINGS: I've been a Republican and a conservative my entire life. I have not agreed with President Trump on everything, but I can tell you this. I have never pulled a lever or supported a politician out of a racist motivation, and for you to come on here and say otherwise is absolutely wrong. I would ask you to look into your heart and wonder, could it possibly be true that every Republican holds racial views? I think you would find that that is not true.

DYSON: I did not say that. We are talking about one in particular. We're talking about the president of the United States of America who made egregious statements, sir. So we're not talking about in general, we're talking about a particular person. And you can't even acknowledge that --

JENNINGS: You're not familiar with my work on this network.

DYSON: I'm talking about Donald Trump. I'm speaking about Donald Trump.

JENNINGS: You're not familiar with what I've said on this network.

DYSON: You can't acknowledge that Donald Trump has made racially inflammatory comments.

CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, I understand. Yelling over each other isn't helpful. Scott, yes, you have repudiated what he said in Charlottesville, we remember, we have your words from that.

DYSON: We're talking about now.

CAMEROTA: Well, we're talking about the body of evidence however you saw it, and we invited you on to share how you saw it. You did so. Michael Eric Dyson, thank you for sharing how you saw it. We appreciate both of you.

NB Daily CNN New Day Alisyn Camerota Michael Eric Dyson


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