MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry exemplified why the network’s ratings continue to plunge when she compared opponents of illegal immigration to advocates of race segregation.
During a segment on her Saturday show, the host likened Texas Governor Rick Perry’s decision to send National Guard troops to the border to Arkansas Governor Orval Faubas’ move to use Guard troops to prevent black children from attending Little Rock Central High School, which was racially segregated, in 1957.
“Rick Perry was preceded in his call to send armed troops to confront children by Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, and he, of course, called the National Guard to stop the Little Rock Nine from their first day of school at Central High,” said Perry.
“The presence of children on buses integrating Boston schools in 1974 didn’t stop white crowds from confronting them with slurs and threats of violence. Nor did it give pause to the adults who hurled objects and insults at 6-year-old Ruby Bridges on the day she became the first African-Americans child to desegregate an elementary school. And so when we look to children seeking safety at our borders and see instead an invasion to be defended against, a contagion to be contained or a drain on resources that we just don’t want to share – that is a side of history on which we are choosing to stand.”
“Not only is Perry’s comparison between Governor Perry and segregationist Orval Faubas highly offensive but it is historically inaccurate,” writes Jeffrey Meyer. “The Arkansas Democrat deployed the National Guard to prevent African-Americans who were citizens of the United States from accessing public schools. In contrast, Governor Rick Perry called on the National Guard to help stop the flood of non-U.S. citizens from entering the country illegally, which is in no way comparable to the treatment of African Americans during the days of segregation.”
This is by no means the first time that Perry has courted controversy by offering views seen as abhorrent by her ideological adversaries. Last year, the host produced a video promo for the network in which she argued that children no longer belong to their parents and are part of the collective community.
Perry’s rhetoric won’t come as a surprise to those who have tracked MSNBC’s continuous use of race-baiting as a means of demonizing conservatives and libertarians.
Last year, MSNBC pundit Michael Eric Dyson, who previously argued that it is impossible for black people to be racist, said that Americans would not understand racism until white kids were being killed in the same numbers as blacks.
The network’s hosts and contributors have routinely argued that vehement criticism of Barack Obama, including use of words like “socialist,” is code for racism.
Perry herself was forced to apologize last year when members of her show panel mocked Mitt Romney and his family for adopting a black baby.
The network’s reliance on such tactics has not abated despite plummeting ratings. Following the release of figures last year that showed MSNBC had lost over half of its viewers in the previous 12 month period, the network lost a further 24% of its audience.