News & Politics

MSNBC Host: Black Lives Matter 'Never Advocated Violence Against Police'

AP Photo/Noah Berger

During the final debate with Joe Biden on Thursday, President Donald Trump recalled a particularly horrific moment in the Black Lives Matter protests, the chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” After the debate, MSNBC host Joy Reid falsely claimed that the group chanting that slogan was not connected to Black Lives Matter. She also claimed that Black Lives Matter protesters “have never advocated violence against police.”

Reid was lying through her teeth.

“There was an offshoot, separate group of people. Nobody knows who they are, they were never connected to the march,” the MSNBC host said of the “pigs in a blanket” line.

“There is absolutely zero, none, zero evidence that Black Lives Matter has ever pushed for anything violent, pushed for anything violent to happen to police,” Reid insisted. “Black Lives Matter is about one thing: stop killing black people just because you pulled them over for a parking violation or a moving violation. Just stop killing black people.”

“They have never advocated violence against police. For [Trump] to traffic that again tonight was not only desperate… it was also stupid,” she argued.

Reid told a host of easily debunked whoppers in that minute-long clip.

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1. “Pigs in a blanket”

The “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” chant traces back to August 2015 when WKBT TV reported that Rashad Turner, founder of Black Lives Matter-St. Paul, defended the chant. Turner did not deny that the chant had taken place nor that it came from individuals disaffiliated with Black Lives Matter.

“Protesters believe it’s misinterpreted,” WKBT reported.

“It definitely wasn’t a threat,” Rashad Turner said. “I don’t know if they would have received it differently if we’d have said maybe ‘on a stick’ or something like that. We’re out there chanting, we’re using our voices.”

Rashad Turner was the official founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter-St. Paul. In June 2020, National Public Radio still identified him as “founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in St. Paul.” That local chapter appears not to have been affiliated with the national organization, but it claimed the Black Lives Matter mantle. It remains unclear whether or not the national Black Lives Matter organization condemned the chant.

Reid may have been referring to the fact that Turner’s group was not officially tied to the national organization, but her comments that “they were never connected to the march,” i.e. the local Black Lives Matter march from the video, are 100 percent false.

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2. ‘Zero evidence’ of Black Lives Matter violence

Reid also claimed that “there is absolutely zero, none, zero evidence that Black Lives Matter has ever pushed for anything violent, pushed for anything violent to happen to police.”

Yet this past June, Greater New York Black Lives Matter leader Hank Newsome said, “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.”

“You… have said that violence is sometimes necessary in these situations,” Fox News’s Martha MacCallum said in the interview with Newsome. “What exactly is it that you hope to achieve through violence?”

“Wow, it’s interesting that you would pose that question like that, because this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution, what’s our diplomacy across the globe?” Newsome asked.

“We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent is extremely hypocritical,” the Black Lives Matter leader insisted.

Naturally, there is a tremendous difference between the violence in the American Revolution — when citizens revolted against taxation without representation, a key component of English liberty — and the violence in the George Floyd riots, which involves citizens who have representation and the right to vote looting innocent businesses, burning down buildings, and forcibly occupying police stations.

“I said, if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking … figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation,” Newsome said.

Newsome, like Turner, has no official relation to the Black Lives Matter Global Network founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. Yet Cullors has described herself and Garza as “trained Marxists” and she has encouraged splinter groups like those led by Newsome and Turner by claiming that the official movement doesn’t “necessarily want to be the vanguard.”

“Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories,” Cullors said. She added that the founders sought to “build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk. We don’t necessarily want to be the vanguard of this movement.”

Many of the rioters who used the George Floyd protests as a pretext to engage in violence appear to have been inspired by Marxist critical race theory, an approach that encourages people to deconstruct various aspects of society — such as capitalism, science the nuclear family, the Judeo-Christian tradition, even expectations of politeness (as the Smithsonian briefly taught) — as examples of white oppression. This inspires an aimless and destructive revolution.

Portland activist Lilith Sinclair revealed the mentality of many radicals. “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities,” Sinclair said. As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the United States as we know it.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired protests across the country, and most of the Americans who joined marches this past summer did not support violence. Even so, many of the protests evolved into destructive riots late at night. Rioters spray-painted graffiti with death threats against the police while others launched commercial-grade fireworks at police at point-blank range.

Those riots disproportionately damaged black communities in Kenosha, Wisc.Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots have destroyed black livesblack livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.

For these and other reasons, many black leaders have denounced the official Black Lives Matter movement, the founders of which have described themselves as “trained Marxists.” Over 100 black pastors recently condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and urged Nike to distance itself from it.

While the official Black Lives Matter organization — which has rushed to scrub Marxist language from its website — does not explicitly endorse violence, the connections between Black Lives Matter protests and the destructive riots are extremely worrisome, as are the isolated comments of local Black Lives Matter leaders like Rashad Turner and Hank Newsome.

Americans who support Black Lives Matter do not necessarily support violent riots, but the movement’s undercurrent of violence and threats against police cannot be denied. Reid did not restrict her claims to the official Black Lives Matter organization, and it appears she was trying to divorce violence from the movement as a whole.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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