Newsbusters has previously reported on the media and the left’s politicization of John McCain’s funeral; not surprisingly, the funeral of “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin also got political, with guests taking shots at President Trump, and Fox News took note.
During Friday’s edition of The Story With Martha MacCallum, MacCallum mentioned that she found herself distracted by Nation of Islam Founder Louis Farrakhan’s presence in “every single shot,” adding, “many people [were] wondering what the unapologetic anti-Semite" was doing in the front row.The Weekly Standard’s Kelly Jane Torrance pointed out that “A lot of outlets, Variety, ABC, MSNBC had pictures published on the website cutting him off.” Considering the fact that the Congressional Black Caucus worked to keep a picture of Future President Obama with Farrakhan from the public, the actions of these publications should not have come as a surprise.
On The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham and guest Raymond Arroyo commented on Franklin and McCain’s funerals, as turning “very political.”
During the funeral, Al Sharpton referenced a major gaffe on his show to take a shot at President Trump: “You know, the other Sunday on my show, I misspelled respect, and a lot of y’all, lot of y’all corrected me. Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump, to teach him what it means.” The crowd erupted in thunderous applause before Sharpton took another shot at the President: “When word had went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, “She used to work for me.” No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”
Arroyo pointed out how Al Sharpton's comments follow a trend of the infiltration of politics into every aspect of American society: “I don’t know why they have to politicize everything, but we see this across American life. People just want to turn sports, now even the great celebration of a life, a musical legend, ‘the Queen of Soul,’ it’s being twisted and turned into a political rally.”
Arroyo mentioned that “even Maxine Waters managed to barge into this celebration” before playing a clip of Bishop Charles Ellis III giving a shout-out to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who ended up doing the Wakanda Salute, a gesture associated with the Black Panther movement.
As the segment came to a close, Arroyo said something that many on the other networks probably would not ever say: “I don’t see how this serves the end of celebrating a life and bringing people together. We’re using great lives to divide Americans and that’s not cool.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of The Story With Martha MacCallum is below. Click “expand” to read more.
The Story With Martha MacCallum
MARTHA MACCALLUM: There were some beautiful performances today at Aretha…Aretha Franklin’s funeral in Detroit. The guests ranging from world leaders to musical legends and one especially controversial figure who was seated in the front row, many people kind of wondering what the unapologetic anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan was doing up there. I am joined by Kelly Grace Torrance, Marie Harf, and Kylie Patterson. It was really such a moving, moving, Jennifer Hudson was amazing and Gladys Knight was amazing but I did keep finding myself distracted by Louis Farrakhan, who was in every single shot. I’m thinking what is, what was he doing there? Who wants to start there?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE: Well, you know what’s…it’s interesting you saw him because I, you know, I looked in some of the coverage of this and a lot of outlets, Variety, ABC, MSNBC, had pictured published on the website cutting him off. So they showed the front row with President Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and they cut Farrakhan off. And I, you know, I thought that was very telling that they did that clearly, they thought wow, why is this guy there, too? They had the same questions we all had.
MACCALLUM: It’s something that’s supposed to be about Aretha Franklin became, I thought, in many ways about some of these gentlemen who were right behind. What do you think, Kylie?
KYLIE PATTERSON: But I think we forget that she was really at the head of the liberation movement for years. I mean, she, “Respect,” Natural Woman, that was a part of the movement.
MACCALLUM: What does it have to do with Louis Farrakhan?
PATTERSON: Well, he was also a part of the movement.
MACCALLUM: I know but I mean his history is…his…
PATTERSON: It’s mixed but at the end of the day, this is her funeral. I mean, it’s her choice who who she wants there, who she wants, how she wants people sitting.
MACCALLUM: Do you think she arranged Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan to be up there?
PATTERSON: I think she wanted them at her funeral. Yes.
MACCALLUM: I just wonder how much jockeying there was for prime position and how many…I saw he was pushing his website and all of this on Twitter. And I thought, gee, that’s kind of a little bit unfortunate that it was distracting in that way. He, you know, has said awful things about Jewish people, about white people, about gay people and I thought that, it was never the message that I heard in Aretha Franklin’s music. And I thought that was maybe a bit unfortunate.
A transcript of the relevant portion of The Ingraham Angle is below. Click “expand” to read more.
The Ingraham Angle
RAYMOND ARROYO: Now, look, two great Americans, a musical legend, a statesman, both being honored but both these events in some ways, particularly Aretha Franklin’s funeral, turned very political. Here is Al Sharpton at the “Queen of Soul’s” funeral in Detroit.
REV. AL SHARPTON: You know, the other Sunday on my show, I misspelled respect, and a lot of y’all, lot of y’all corrected me. Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump, to teach him what it means.
SHARPTON: When word had went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, “She used to work for me.” No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.
ARROYO: I don’t know why they have to politicize everything, but we see this across American life. People just want to turn sports, now even the great celebration of a life, a musical legend, “the Queen of Soul,” it’s being twisted and turned into a political rally.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Raymond, this was…No, no, this was so gratuitous. And you, again, Aretha Franklin, one of the great American voices of all time. I mean, she, didn’t she get an award from George W. Bush? She…I guess she was a Democrat. She didn’t seem like an overtly political person. Maybe I missed that. Maybe I wasn’t aware of that. But it just seemed completely out of step. And then you had, you had Farrakhan up on stage. You had Jesse Jackson but Farrakhan was a, was an interesting person to have there on the same stage as Bill Clinton and other luminaries.
ARROYO: Well, Ariana Grande took the stage, Chaka Khan. I mean, it was, this was “The Voice” meets “Showtime at the Apollo.” It was unbelievable, everybody trying to top one another and as you said, it was a rather interesting backdrop to Ariana Grande and it looks like Farrakhan and Bill Clinton got quite an eyeful. But here’s my, my larger problem with this. Rather than focus on the individual whose life is being celebrated, it turns into everybody elbowing each other to get their moment on the stage. Even Maxine Waters managed to barge into this celebration. Watch.
BISHOP CHARLES ELLIS II: Councilwoman…I’m sorry, Congresswoman, who has been attacked like never before but she’s a strong black woman. Congresswoman Maxine Waters from South Side L.A., South Central.
ELLIS: Everybody just point over there. Tell her, we’ve got your back. Come on, say it so everybody will hear you out there. We’ve got your back.
ARROYO: But Maxine doing the Wakanda Salute there from Black Panther. So everybody got their moment in the spotlight. You know, Laura, my problem with this is both of these funerals had become television events, venues, star-studded lineusp, they really are made for TV events and my concern is we’re going to see people ahead of time booking the rights to their own funeral. So that, you know, networks can get an in, you know, Netflix announces Cher’s funeral, they’ve got the exclusive right. I mean, I don’t see how this serves the end of celebrating a life and bringing people together. We’re using great lives to divide Americans and that’s not cool.
INGRAHAM: Some mean person on Facebook, someone sent me this, said something like “Aretha Franklin’s funeral, memorial service was so great that it’s been picked up for ten episodes on Netflix.” I almost, I almost fell over but okay, I guess it went on, it was on four or five hours but my goodness, it was star-studded and it did get political.
ARROYO: Six hours.
INGRAHAM: Six hours, that’s all. Okay.