PBS Links GOP to Racism, Hints George Wallace Was Republican

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Thursday evening, PBS NewsHour displayed the latest example of journalists and other liberals suggesting that segregationist former Alabama Governor George Wallace was a Republican when he, in fact, was a lifelong Democrat.

In a pre-recorded piece by correspondent Yamiche Alcindor about criticism President Donald Trump is receiving over how he speaks about racial issues, at one point, Alcindor went to liberal MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude and cued up his claims that "many Republican leaders" have exploited racism in the past. Here's Alcindor: "Glaude says the bigger picture is that Trump is using race to stoke fear like many Republican leaders before him."

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Then came a clip of Glaude claiming that there has long been a "Republican strategy" of "appealing to white resentment," and singled out Ronald Reagan and Wallace, as if Wallace were a Republican:

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the idea of appealing to white resentment and white fears, drawing on a particular understanding of America as fundamentally white, that that language has been a part of Republican strategy since I remember remembering, right? It's been a part of my political reality ever since I became aware of American politics. So he sits somewhere on the spectrum between Ronald Reagan and George Wallace.

Not only was Wallace a lifelong Democrat, but when Reagan ran for President in 1980, his opponent, Democratic President Jimmy Carter, made a campaign appearance with Wallace and other prominent segregationist Democrats.

And, in 1984, when President Reagan ran for reelection, Democratic nominee Walter Mondale met with Wallace during the campaign.

After Alcindor devoted much of her report to Trump supporters who were either sticking with him, or who have decided to support Democrat Joe Biden instead, the PBS correspondent then brought aboard columnist Cynthia Tucker as a liberal guest paired with right-leaning Chris Buskirk of American Greatness magazine for further discussion.

As Tucker also brought up Wallace, it was never clarified that he was a Democrat:

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CYNTHIA TUCKER, COLUMNIST: Trump is still heavily favored to win in Alabama and across the Deep South. He is very popular in the Deep South. I have to tell you, though, and I am still disappointed in his campaign, and a little surprised by it. He is running his second campaign the same way he aired his first -- as the heir to George Wallace.

And here in Alabama, as a native of Alabama, the rhetoric is unfortunately familiar. All of Wallace's rage and resentment and racism are clear in the President's rhetoric. And while that appeals to his base -- a minority of whites who are racially resentful -- it does nothing to expand to a winning coalition for November.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, July 2, PBS NewsHour.

7:27 p.m. Eastern

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Glaude says the bigger picture is that Trump is using race to stoke fear like many Republican leaders before him.

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the idea of appealing to white resentment and white fears, drawing on a particular understanding of America as fundamentally white, that that language has been a part of Republican strategy since I remember remembering, right? It's been a part of my political reality ever since I became aware of American politics. So he sits somewhere on the spectrum between Ronald Reagan and George Wallace.

ALCINDOR: Polling consistently shows there may be a shift in President Trump's supporters. A recent New York Times / Siena College poll found almost half of self-described "somewhat conservative" voters and more than two-thirds of moderate voters disapproved of his handling of the protests.

DAVID MEYER, MINNESOTA VOTER: It's just become where I don't feel like I belong in the Republican party anymore.

ALCINDOR: One of those moderates is David Meyer of Wilmar, Minnesota. He voted for Trump in 2016, but will back Biden in the fall.

MEYER: You've just seen some of the things that he's done and some of the words that he's said, and it's just been incredibly divisive, and it's just gotten worse.

ALCINDOR: Gary Smith of Reno, Nevada, calls himself a moderate. He will vote again for President Trump, but wishes he would work on his rhetoric.

GARY SMITH, NEVADA VOTER: I think whoever advises him or attempts to advise him should be trying to train him about racial sensitivity in how to communicate, especially as the President, you know, we were supposed to hold them to a higher standard, and he really doesn't meet that standard.

ALCINDOR: In digital ads, candidate Biden has seized on President Trump's handling of the protests. And this week, Biden argued he was the candidate to unite the country.

JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When a golf cart goes by yelling "white supremacy," and the President tweets it out, don't do things like that. Bring the country together.

ALCINDOR: With President Trump's inflammatory rhetoric driving away some moderates, November is shaping up to be a final test of his strategy.

For a closer look at how the President's rhetoric and his response to the coronavirus is resonating across the country, I'm joined by Chris Buskirk. He's the editor of the conservative journal and website, American Greatness. He joins us from Phoenix. And Cynthia Tucker -- she's a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and a resident at the University of South Alabama. … In the last few weeks, we've heard the President talk about a number of things, including confederate monuments and the protests. What are your biggest takeaways? And how do you think this is resonating with voters across the country and, of course, in Alabama where you are?

CYNTHIA TUCKER, COLUMNIST: Well, Trump is still heavily favored to win in Alabama and across the Deep South. He is very popular in the Deep South. I have to tell you, though, and I am still disappointed in his campaign, and a little surprised by it. He is running his second campaign the same way he aired his first -- as the heir to George Wallace.

And here in Alabama, as a native of Alabama, the rhetoric is unfortunately familiar. All of Wallace's rage and resentment and racism are clear in the President's rhetoric. And while that appeals to his base -- a minority of whites who are racially resentful -- it does nothing to expand to a winning coalition for November.

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