MSNBC, for the second time on Thursday, smeared the National Rifle Association as racist, trashing the gun group's president as appealing to bigotry. Now host Alex Wagner read from an op-ed by Wayne LaPierre in which he argues that owning a gun is the only real protection from crime, looting and riots. Specifically, LaPierre mentioned the aftermath to Hurricane Sandy and looting in Brooklyn.
Wagner quoted LaPierre: "Hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, terrorists, gangs, lone criminals, these are the perils we are sure to face. Not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival." She then sneered, "There's also a lot of racial– racism imbedded in that full statement." [MP3 audio here.]
Novelist and guest Kurt Andersen mocked, "There were, not only not looters in south Brooklyn. Everybody was out helping everybody else...It was the opposite of that description." Except that there was looting in Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy.
The Huffington Post featured pictures. Writer Andy Campbell explained:
At about 8 a.m. on Tuesday, workers arrived at Mega Aid Pharmacy to find that not only had Hurricane Sandy obliterated the building's interior the night before, but thieves had broken in and gone through more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items. Most of the stolen goods were prescription meds.
The New York Post documented looting there, too.
Wagner actively distorted what LaPierre said, describing his words as "dark nights with dark people in Brooklyn."
Earlier, on Morning Joe, so-called conservative Joe Scarborough ranted about LaPierre's "racial overtones."
A transcript of the February 14 segment is below:
ALEX WAGNER: His press conference in the wake of the Newtown tragedy constituted one of the most tone deaf events in repeat memory. Now, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is taking it to a new lunar level of insanity with a screed on the conservative Daily Caller website, writing, "Hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, terrorists, gangs, lone criminals, these are the perils we are sure to face. Not just maybe. It's not paranoia to buy a gun. It's survival." LaPierre continues, "After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water, or electricity, and if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark or you might not get home at all." The finale: "We will not surrender. We will not appease. We will buy more guns than ever." Kurt, as a resident of south Brooklyn, was that– Was that your utopia?
KURT ANDERSEN (Author, True Believers): Fortunately, I have guns, so I was able to-- no. Why should I be alarmed and amazed at the factual profound factual inaccuracies here. There were, not only looters in south Brooklyn. Everybody was out helping everybody else. It was morning in America. Yes, there was no electricity for a while. But, you know, it was the opposite of that description, if he wants to have some post-on post-apocalyptic nightmare. That line of "and we will buy more guns" to me is the most bonkers much the whole thing. I mean, because it bespeaks of fetishism of "I need more guns."
WAGNER: It's like a child beating its hands.
ANDERSEN: And, by the way, to the degree the NRA is a gun industry organization, that's just, yes, buy more guns.
WAGNER: Joy, there's also a lot of racial– racism imbedded in that full statement. He goes on to impugn Latin America as these kind of dark nights with dark people in Brooklyn.
JOY REID: That's right. I don't know how he missed the zombies because there were also zombies. And you know, I don't understand how they even survived in south Brooklyn. I think he was talking about south Brooklyn of the 1980s. He has this vision of brown and black people running around looting and burning and we have to get guns to shoot them.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.