Following MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson’s inflammatory remarks about supporters and campaign staffers of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the academic has been temporarily benched by the network, sources confirmed to The Daily Beast.
In recent months, Johnson—a regular fixture of the network’s Democratic primary analysis—has drawn considerable heat for his relentlessly anti-Sanders commentary on MSNBC, which has also come under fire from the left for its skeptical and largely negative coverage of the democratic-socialist senator.
During an interview last week on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show, Johnson claimed “racist white liberals” support Sanders and that the senator has done “nothing for intersectionality.”
The MSNBC contributor then took aim at the women of color who work for Sanders. “I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit black girls you throw out there to defend you,” Johnson exclaimed.
The remark prompted Sanders’ national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray to retort on Twitter: “I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from @DrJasonJohnson.”
Johnson’s over-the-top remarks also sparked wider calls for MSNBC to fire him, but the network has not officially responded.
Johnson’s temporary shelving included him not being involved in coverage of last weekend’s Nevada caucuses or the post-game coverage of Tuesday evening’s South Carolina debate, which aired on CBS. In an email to media outlets hyping its post-debate plans, Johnson’s name was nowhere to be found.
The punishment appears to have also cost Johnson his chance to be on-air during the network’s coverage of this past Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, which Sanders won in a landslide.
he pundit apocalypse has been gestating for a few weeks—but it took the shock waves from Bernie Sanders’s Nevada victory to fully set it off. As Sanders’s numbers were building in the caucuses, Chris Matthews made the following comparison during an analytical exchange with his colleague Brian Williams. “I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940,” said Matthews (you can see where this is headed), “and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’”
The blowback was swift. “Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the nazis to the third reich,” tweeted Sanders’s communications director, Mike Casca, “but here we are.” By Monday morning, Matthews was facing calls for his head on a platter, with a #FireChrisMatthews hashtag gaining steam on Twitter.
As far as the possibility of Matthews resigning or being booted goes, that definitely isn’t happening. “They’re not taking Matthews off air over this,” one network insider told me. Rather, sources said he will address the controversy on the Monday night installment of Hardball. Several of them also emphasized that Matthews was not actually likening Sanders to the Nazis—he frequently tosses out historical and World War II references, and this one was perhaps a tone-deaf analogy in the heat of the moment. But if nothing else, the backlash seemed to crystallize just how hot the Sanders–MSNBC dynamic has become, as Tom Kludt explored last week for Vanity Fair. Matthews’s remarks came just one day after Page Six reported that Sanders himself took his grievances directly to MSNBC president Phil Griffin, reportedly telling him in a greenroom before the NBC debate in Nevada last week, “Phil, your network has not been playing a fair role in this campaign. I am upset. Is anything going to change?…I hope you will do better.”
Griffin is taking the complaints seriously, according to network sources. After Matthews’s comments on Saturday night, Griffin’s phone blew up with an angry reaction from the campaign. Griffin quickly discussed the matter with Matthews, who then interviewed campaign cochair Nina Turner on air minutes later. Sources also noted that MSNBC took Sanders’s El Paso and San Antonio rallies live on Saturday, and that Sanders people like campaign manager Faiz Shakir and former campaign manager Jeff Weaver both received airtime on Monday. “The Sanders team is in contact with our senior management,” one source said, “and they are heard. Phil is doing his best to give Bernie his due.”
Now, with Sanders looking more and more like the presumptive nominee, MSNBC’s coverage will have to shift to reflect that. “Will they bring in more contributors that are pro-Sanders? That’s where the chatter is,” another insider told me. “As a matter of news, you have to. Management is sensitive to it, that he is now very possibly gonna be the nominee. He’s winning.” I ran that notion past a network executive. “Yes, the race has changed over the last couple of weeks, and we are going to reflect that and make adjustments,” he said. “One easy way to do that is to seek out more smart, pro-Sanders voices from people who can make our coverage more insightful.” But, the executive added, “Their campaign, like any other, is due fair coverage, not fawning coverage.”
Despite all of the complaints to the network about their evident pearl-clutching, Joy Ann Reid just can’t reconcile the idea of a Bernie candidacy.
Still processing that @60minutes interview. Just as a political matter, a hard pivot away from Fidel Castro and the USSR would have been the wise move for Sanders, so he could capitalize on his big Nevada win, calm Democrats and build. That interview? Whew, well bye-bye Florida. https://t.co/r5yUx5QBgT
The process to pass landmark tax reform legislation “has been just a disaster,” as the American public does not understand what all it involves, Sen. Bernie Sanders complained Thursday.
“Are you suggesting that a bill that impacts the entire economy, virtually every American, should be read before people vote upon it?” the Vermont independent and former presidential candidate told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
The bill was discussed and determined “around back doors,” Sanders continued. “Some 5,000 lobbyists have participated in it, but the American public does not know what’s in it. Bottom line, and I think some of the Republicans have been honest enough about acknowledging this, this is a gift for Republican wealthy campaign contributors.”
“At the end of 10 years, 83 million middle class families will be paying more in taxes,” said Sanders. “This means 32 million people will lose their health insurance. Premiums will go up by 10 percent with people in the individual market. This is going to exacerbate incoming wealth at a time when we have to protect the middle class and working families.”
Sanders also sounded off against the FCC’s vote to end net neutrality provisions, saying it’s “almost unspeakable” to speak about what a disaster the ruling will create.
“The internet has been a real effort to enhance democracy and level the playing field in this country,” he said. “It means that if you are a small business person right now, you were a start-up company, you can use the internet to get the word out about why people should come to your business. You can have the same opportunities on the internet as Walmart does, or as a large corporation … they’re going to do away with that and it’s going to be much more expensive for the little guy to play and compete against the big corporations.”
Hello friends! Starting off with Bernie’s appearance on MSNBC discussing the health care process and then will have his CNN and Senate Floor appearances in the comments, as well as the rest of the news I’m catching up on.
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged opponents of President Donald Trump to not allow his “stupid tweets” to distract attention from his “destructive” policies, which include a healthcare plan that could strip insurance from 22 million people and tax proposals that would provide generous cuts to the rich and hikes for the middle class.
Asked to outline an “optimistic scenario” for the next several months in Washington, Sanders said: “I hope we beat [Trumpcare] badly. I hope Trump supporters in rural states understand that what he told them during the campaign that he was going to stand up for working people was nothing but a lie. And if you think this healthcare bill is a disaster, take a look at the budget that he proposed.”
Sanders implored the media and activists to emphasize that “the policies he is proposing are the most destructive policies being proposed in our lifetimes.”
“He has got to be exposed for the fraud that he is, not just focusing on his temperament and on his tweets,” Sanders concluded, “but on his extremely right-wing policy that is paid for by the Koch brothers and other billionaires.”
Native communities and environmental justice advocates in Louisiana opened a new resistance camp Saturday to oppose the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline project. Called L’eau Est La Vie, or Water is Life, the camp will consist of floating indigenous art structures on rafts and constant prayer ceremonies during its first two weeks.
The Bayou Bridge project, owned in part by Dakota Access Pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), would transport crude oil over 163 miles of natural heritage swampland to a terminal in St. James Parish in Louisiana. St. James residents and environmental advocates recently filed suit to overturn the pipeline’s permit, claiming that the state did not adequately address impacts of a potential spill on the community or surrounding wetlands.
“Once again Indigenous communities are being put in harm’s way and over 700 bodies of water will be threatened by one of the worst environmental offenders known to date,” said the Indigenous Environmental Network in a statement. “We stand with the Water Protectors here in southern Louisiana to protect these critical wetlands that serve as protection for the people of this region from floods and storms.”
The Indigenous Environmental Network announced the opening of the camp with the video above explaining why completion of the Bayou Bridge pipeline must be stopped.
Nebraska residents again pack a room and Nebraska residents again offer drastically different views of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Hundreds attended the third public meeting held by the Nebraska Public Service Commission on TransCanada’s application to cross the state and complete the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline. This time the setting was the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk.
Becky Van Housen, who farms in York and Polk Counties, told commissioners she worries about the impact on the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies ten wells on her farm.
“This proposed Keystone XL pipeline cannot be allowed to cross the Ogallala Aquifer,” Van Housen stated. “A spill to the Ogallala Aquifer would not only threaten the drinking water of millions of Americans, but threaten the livelihood of hundreds and thousands of farmers and ranchers.”
More news/video/etc. in the comments, see you there!
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday said that “thousands of people will die” if the new GOP ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill passes in the Senate.
“This is not trying to be overly dramatic,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “Thousands of people will die.”
“Our job right now is not just to worry about a handful of senators who are trying to get this or that from the Republican leadership,” Sanders stated. “It’s to make it clear to the American people that this is not what our country is about.”
Sanders challenged the bill during the interview, saying it broke with Trump’s campaign promises to offer better healthcare options.
“Throwing 23 million people off of health insurance and raising premiums for older workers substantially — that’s not providing health care to everybody, that’s not great, that’s a disaster, that’s wrong, and the American people do not want to see this legislation passed,” Sanders said.