On NBC, GOPers Compared to Plantation Owners Suppressing Black Voters

edited October 2020 in US Political Debate
Finishing off the week before Election Day, NBC on Friday evening stoked racial fears and invoked violence against African Americans from the distant past as the NBC Nightly News likened Republican leaders to plantation owners who stopped blacks from voting in the 1870s.

In a piece featuring veteran civil rights activist Reverend James Lawson, after reporter Cynthia McFadden recalled complaints about voting rules enacted by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Reverend Lawson reacted: "It's absolute suppression, regression. It follows the plantation owners of the 1870s who used bullets and guns to stop the voting. He's using the technique of voting to stop the voting."

McFadden began her pre-recorded piece: "Tonight, a question: Do all eligible voters regardless of their race have an equal shot at casting their ballots? We turned to 92-year-old Reverend James Lawson."

 



 

The NBC News correspondent was then seen speaking with Reverend Lawson as she posed: "Voter suppression isn't sadly a thing of the past."

After Reverend Lawson responded, "Oh, yes. It's a continuation of USA history," the NBC News reporter included perfectly reasonable rules like voter ID requirements and the purging of inactive voters as she added: "Reverend Lawson says long lines, ID requirements, the purge of voter lists, and reduced access to ballot drop boxes makes voting harder than it should be, especially for people of color."

Then came a clip of Reverend Lawson reacting: "It's a form of racism."

McFadden recalled Lawson's history of working for voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement, adding: "...which is why, he says, it hurts so much to see that voter suppression is still with us 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act."

Without informing viewers that, when Governor Abbott placed limitations on how many ballot boxes could be maintained per county, he also expanded the number of days of early voting, McFadden cued up Reverend Lawson to hyperbolically invoke 19th-century white supremacists:


MCFADDEN: Lawson says it will hamper minority voting as some of the counties with huge minority populations are as big as eastern states.

REVEREND LAWSON: It's absolute suppression, regression. It follows the plantation owners of the 1870s who used bullets and guns to stop the voting. He's using the technique of voting to stop the voting.


This episode of the NBC Nightly News was sponsored in part by Oral B. Their contact information is linked. Let them know what you think of such biased reporting.

Below is a complete transcript of the Friday, October 30, NBC Nightly News: 


NBC Nightly News

10/30/2020

LESTER HOLT: Now to concerns over how difficult it can be for some to vote. We spoke with a man who's been pushing to expand voting rights for 60 years. Our Cynthia McFadden asked how worried is he about voter suppression.

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Tonight, a question: Do all eligible voters regardless of their race have an equal shot at casting their ballots? We turned to 92-year-old Reverend James Lawson. Voter suppression isn't sadly a thing of the past.

REVEREND JAMES LAWSON, VETERAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Oh, yes. It's a continuation of USA history.

MCFADDEN: Reverend Lawson says long lines, ID requirements, the purge of voter lists, and reduced access to ballot drop boxes makes voting harder than it should be, especially for people of color.

REVEREND LAWSON: It's a form of racism.

REVEREND LAWSON (from old clip): Our power has always been in ourselves.

MCFADDEN: Racism is something he's fought against, nonviolently, his whole life. Martin Luther King Jr. called him one of the noblemen in their quest for equality.

REVEREND LAWSON: Registering to vote became a primary issue from day one. A black person could lose everything by registering to vote.

MCFADDEN: Including their lives -- which is why, he says, it hurts so much to see that voter suppression is still with us 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. He cites Texas Governor Greg Abbott's October decision that voters will have only one place to return their mail-in ballots in each county. The governor says it will "enhance ballot security." Lawson says it will hamper minority voting as some of the counties with huge minority populations are as big as eastern states.

REVEREND LAWSON: It's absolute suppression, regression. It follows the plantation owners of the 1870s who used bullets and guns to stop the voting. He's using the technique of voting to stop the voting.

MCFADDEN: Governor Abbott's order was struck down by a Texas state court, but three federal judges in the 5th Circuit -- all appointed by President Trump -- approved the governor's plan as did the Texas supreme court earlier this week, ruling it "doesn't disenfranchise anyone."

REVEREND LAWSON: Democracy like ours is dependent upon the character and the courage of people.

MCFADDEN: And yet, with the anger in the air this year, on both sides, Reverend Lawson offers this reminder to each of us.

REVEREND LAWSON: Eye for an eye increases blindness. It doesn't therefore increase sight and vision. Evil for evil escalates and increases evil.

MCFADDEN: Which is why he says everyone must do all they can to cast their ballots  Cynthia McFadden, NBC News.
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