September 6th, 2015
01:39 PM ET

Marc Lamont Hill on Fox News' narrative of Black Lives Matter: "...it's very different than the narrative they had when the Tea Party had people with racist signs and had Obama looking like a monkey."

Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Princeton University professor, Dr. Cornel West, and CNN political commentator, Marc Lamont Hill, joined host Brian Stelter. They discussed the backlash of the “pigs in a blanket” chant heard at a Black Lives Matter march in Minnesota. Dr. West compared the media struggles of the BLM movement to the media struggles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced, as well as what he believes is the driving force behind BLM. In addition to explaining the difference between Fox News’ BLM narrative versus the Tea Party narrative, Marc Lamont Hill also discussed whether the BLM movement is winning the media war for attention.

Reliable Sources airs Sundays, 11 a.m. to noon (ET).

A video, text highlights, and a full transcript from the show are available below.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s RELIABLE SOURCES”

VIDEO:

Fox News vs. Black Lives Matter

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

Princeton University professor, Dr. Cornel West and CNN political commentator, Marc Lamont Hill on the “pigs in a blanket” chant heard at a Black Lives Matter march: “[WEST]: …Have you seen them going about engaging in injurious harm to police?  There’s no evidence of that whatsoever. … [HILL]: “I didn't make much of it [the chant], and here’s why.  I have been on the ground in Ferguson.  I’ve met with and met in terms of organizing the BLM founders and many people engaged around the country.  And that’s just not part of the planning dialogue, that’s not part of the engaged action that we see on the ground.  Every struggle I’ve ever been part of, there are always outliers, there are always occasional folk who show up who often co-opt and twist the message.  And to Professor West’s point, yes, there will be people who engage in hyperbolic rhetoric.  But that's very different than being genuinely committed to injuring law enforcement.  There’s no evidence of that.

Hill on Fox News’ narrative of the BLM movement vs. the narrative of the Tea Party movement: …it's very different than the narrative they [Fox News] had when the Tea Party had people with racist signs and people who had Obama looking like a monkey.  They said, oh, those are outliers.  They don’t represent the Tea Party movement as such.  Those are extra folk - who we dismiss.  Why can't the same sort of generosity - be given to those involved in this movement?

West compares the BLM movement media struggles to the media struggles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced: …we have to keep in mind that, you know, they said the same thing about Martin King, said the same thing about SNCC.  Anytime you have black rage expressed based on black suffering in the face of white fear grounded in white privilege, that clash is one in which you're going to get, in fact, some hyperbolic rhetoric.  There’s no doubt about that. …Brother Martin was viewed as a hater.  He was viewed as a trouble-maker.  He was viewed as a divisive figure, trying to undermine a status quo in which white persons were living in a world of denial.  And yet he persisted because he had integrity.” 

West on what he believes is the driving force behind BLM: I think part of the moral impulse behind the Black Lives Matter is that innocent lives must not be violated, must not be taken.  Yet, unfortunately, oftentimes, the innocent lives that are taken by state-sponsored figures tend to be black and brown people.

Hill on whether the recent conservative rhetoric depicting the BLM movement as a hate group is effective: …I think it’s been effective in distracting us from the fundamental issues that we should be preoccupied with.  Now, we should devote time to saying, "Wait a minute, what happened to those police officers is wrong."  It's a moral atrocity if someone stalks and murders a police officer.  But we should be able to do that and still have a sustained conversation about police terrorism, about state violence, about mass incarceration.  The problem is when that rhetoric spikes up about Black Lives Matter movement, being a hate group, it distracts us.  …I think that is exactly what particular media outlets - and I’m not just talking about FOX News.  I’m also talking about pockets of social media – their purpose is to troll the world essentially and convince us that the suffering we're facing is not as essential as the distracting conversation.

Hill on whether he thinks the BLM movement is winning the media war for attention:They're winning the war for attention, but it’s important to note that the work they're doing is not just to create the spectacle.  The spectacle is the entry point into significant social justice, significant social change and policy change.  So, a year later, we're talking about body cameras.  We’re talking about state violence.  We’re talking about oversight of police.  We’re talking about citizen review boards.  You can't run for mayor in a city right now and not talk about what your plan for policing is.  You can't run for president and not talk about black lives mattering.  That is a testimony to the power and strength of this movement, and to the power and strength of those three black women who created a movement that has the world on its heels.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: A hate group, a murder movement - these are some of the terms floated by FOX News this week to describe the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement that says it exists to demand accountability and justice for victims of police violence. Here’s a few of the comments made on FOX this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEMALE FOX ANCHOR:  Kevin, why has the Black Lives movement - Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?  I mean, how much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?

BILL O’REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  I think they're a hate group.  They hate police officers.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST:  Well, they have strong feelings about -

O’REILLY:  No, they hate them.  They want them dead.  Pigs in the blanket is dead.

WILLIAMS:  No, I think -

RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO HOST:  I don’t think we’re watching the same Black Lives Matter movement.  I think if you talk to any of the organizers on both in Ferguson and Baltimore and New York, they will tell you they are a nonviolent movement.  All they want to do is end the disparities -

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Why are they chanting pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon?  That was the Black Lives Matter movement in Minnesota.

FOWLER:  Wait a second, Megyn.

KELLY:  Why?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER:  Here’s some context for you.  This on-air offensive came after recent killings of police officers and the reaction to chants at a Black Lives Matter march in Minnesota, where some in the crowd could be heard saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEMONSTRATORS:  Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.  Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.  Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER:  For some reason, some of the organizers said that was actually in humor.  Some attempt at being playful.  Let’s talk about the backlash against Black Lives Matter in some corners in the press.  Is it warranted?  Or is a dangerous connection being made between the movement and a misunderstood message?  Joining me here in New York, Cornel West, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, and in Philadelphia, Marc Lamont Hill, a CNN political commentator and professor at Morehouse College.

Welcome to you both.  Thank you for being here.

CORNEL WEST, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY:  Thank you.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  Good to be here.

STELTER:  First, that clip that we just saw, "the pigs in a blanket" comments, Cornel, doesn't the movement itself, don't some of the people that support the movement undermine it with hateful remarks like those?

WEST:  I think, we have to keep in mind that, you know, they said the same thing about Martin King, said the same thing about SNCC.  Anytime you have black rage expressed based on black suffering in the face of white fear grounded in white privilege, that clash is one in which you're going to get, in fact, some hyperbolic rhetoric.  There’s no doubt about that.

STELTER:  You're saying it was only hyperbolic?

WEST:  Oh, absolutely.  Have you seen them going about engaging in injurious harm to police?  There’s no evidence of that whatsoever.

STELTER:  It seems to me the video demonstrates the double edge sword of this digital media age, that everything is being recorded means that these protesters can get their message out but can also potentially undermine themselves. Marc, when you saw that video, what did you make of it?

HILL:  I didn't make much of it, and here’s why.  You know, I have been on the ground in Ferguson.  I’ve met with and met in terms of organizing the BLM founders and many people engaged around the country.  And that’s just not part of the planning dialogue, that’s not part of the engaged action that we see on the ground.  Every struggle I’ve ever been part of, there are always outliers, there are always occasional folk who show up who often co-opt and twist the message.  And to Professor West’s point, yes, there will be people who engage in hyperbolic rhetoric.  But that's very different than being genuinely committed to injuring law enforcement.  There’s no evidence of that.

STELTER:  So, do you feel the FOX News hosts were seizing on these comments in order to paint with too broad a brush?  What do you think happened this week?  It seemed like FOX had a narrative very clearly.

HILL:  Of course, they were.

WEST:  Oh, absolutely.

HILL:  They did have a narrative.  And it's very different than the narrative they had when the Tea Party had people with racist signs and people who had Obama looking like a monkey.  They said, oh, those are outliers.  They don’t represent the Tea Party movement as such.  Those are extra folk who don’t - who we dismiss.  Why can't the same sort of generosity and - be given to those involved in this movement?

STELTER:  You made a comment earlier, Cornel, about Dr. Martin Luther King.  You suggested the same attempts were made to delegitimize the civil rights movement in the 1960s that you're seeing now?

WEST:  Oh, yes.  Brother Martin was viewed as a hater -

STELTER:  Tell us the example.

WEST:  Brother Martin was viewed as a hater.  He was viewed as a trouble-maker.  He was viewed as a divisive figure, trying to undermine a status quo in which white persons were living in a world of denial.  And yet he persisted because he had integrity.

STELTER:  Marc, have you found this to be effective this week, the new rhetoric from FOX News and from conservative commentators describing Black Lives Matter as a literal hate group?

HILL:  Well, I think it's been effective in ginning up the base.  I think it’s been effective in distracting us from the fundamental issues that we should be preoccupied with.  Now, we should devote time to saying, "Wait a minute, what happened to those police officers is wrong."  It's a moral atrocity if someone stalks and murders a police officer.  But we should be able to do that and still have a sustained conversation about police terrorism, about state violence, about mass incarceration.  The problem is when that rhetoric spikes up about BLM, Black Lives Matter movement, being a hate group, it distracts us.  Some of - many of us have become - turn it into a defensive posture where we're trying to defend that and we’re having our conversation about that instead of the core issues.

I think that is exactly what particular media outlets - and I’m not just talking about FOX News.  I’m also talking about pockets of social media, what they're committed to doing, their purpose is to troll the world essentially and convince us that the suffering we're facing is not as essential as the distracting conversation.

STELTER:  At the same time, the voices of police officers need to be taken seriously.  We’ve heard them on CNN.  We’ve heard them on FOX.  We’ve heard them elsewhere.  Many of them do believe there is a very serious threat to them because of rhetoric, not because of the movement necessarily, but because of a climate that we're in.

(CROSSTALK)

WEST:  I don't think that - I don't think that they have grounds for that.

STELTER:  No?

WEST:  No.  I think part of the moral impulse behind the Black Lives Matter is that innocent lives must not be violated, must not be taken.  Yet, unfortunately, oftentimes, the innocent lives that are taken by state-sponsored figures tend to be black and brown people.

STELTER:  Before I have to go, Marc, I’m curious, because - like as you mentioned, you were in Ferguson multiple times in the past year.  It's been a little bit more than a year since Michael Brown did die there.  Do you feels the Black Lives Matter movement has been overall winning the media war for attention?

HILL:  They're winning the war for attention, but it’s important to note that the work they're doing is not just to create the spectacle.  The spectacle is the entry point into significant social justice, significant social change and policy change.  So, a year later, we're talking about body cameras.  We’re talking about state violence.  We’re talking about oversight of police.  We’re talking about citizen review boards.

You can't run for mayor in a city right now and not talk about what your plan for policing is.  You can't run for president and not talk about black lives mattering.  That is a testimony to the power and strength of this movement, and to the power and strength of those three black women who created a movement that has the world on its heels.

STELTER:  Marc and Cornel, thank you both for sharing your thoughts with us this morning.

###END INTERVIEW###


Topics: Brian Stelter • CNN • Reliable Sources
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