Because Thursday evening's haranguing of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell wasn't bad enough, the network's other acerbic anchor, Martin Bashir, hopped on the conservative-bashwagon...again.
Bashir followed suit from his "Clear the Air" segment broadcast the day earlier, in which he tactlessly used the death of Apple visionary Steve Jobs to attack Sarah Palin. Likewise, Bashir did precisely the same thing on Friday -- this time eulogizing civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth by launching into an assault on Cain.
The MSNBC host drew from a portion in Cain's book, “This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House," in which the presidential contender states that during the Civil Rights Movement, "I just kept going to school, doing what I was supposed to do, and stayed out of trouble." Bashir, of course, used this statement to suggest that Cain didn't do his part, as an African American, to fight the racism of the time. He then asked his audience to "compare that [Cain's statement] with the life of the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who passed away this week at the age of 89."
Until Wednesday, Mr. Shuttlesworth was the last surviving member of the big three. He's seen here sitting between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy. They were the three founders at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1950s. Mr. Shuttlesworth was a godly and devout man of faith who trained for the Baptist ministry, but also braved beatings, bombings, and fire hosings in order to advance the cause of equality.
Mr. Shuttlesworth once said from the pulpit, “I'm answerable to God for he is the judge.” But as I read Herman Cain’s book, it's hard not to conclude that he finds himself answerable only to those Republicans who will soon start electing their nominee for the White House, and as such, he probably feels obliged to reassure them that he’s no angry black man fighting for the rights of minorities. He wants to be known as one who stayed out of trouble. But he would be wise to remember that without the likes of the late Fred Shuttlesworth, Herman Cain wouldn’t even be able to vote let alone get the chance to run for the presidency.
What makes him think Cain doesn't remember or respect the sacrifices and triumphs of his forebears? And it begs the question: Does a Pakistani British-born news anchor really have the right to presume to know what may or may not be going through the heart and mind of an African American who lived through the Civil Rights Era?
NewsBusters provides the transcript and video: