'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, September 28th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
September 28, 2014
Guest: Clarence Page, Emily Tisch Sussman, Rashad Robinson, Alderman
Antonio French, Erik Parker, One9
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning my question, is Shondra
Rhimes doing it on purpose?
Plus, the student protest over not being taught about protest.
And you can`t have one without the other. Where there is war, there is
But first, we have breaking news out of Ferguson, Missouri.
Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris Perry. And we begin with breaking news
out of Ferguson, Missouri. Law enforcements are searching for two men
involved in a shooting that wounded a Ferguson police officer.
The incident happened about 9:10 central time when the officer was
conducting a business check at the Ferguson community center. According to
the St. Louis County office chief, the officer encountered two men near the
back of the building who ran from him. When the officer exited his car, he
chased the men. And as he got near them one of the men turned around and
fired a gun. The officer was hit in the arm and is expected to survive.
He returned fire but investigators do not think either of the men was hit.
Law enforcement searched the area around the Ferguson community center but
so far the men have not been founds. The St. Louis County police
department has been asked to help in the investigation. Reporters on the
scene asked the St. Louis County police chief if he thought the shooting
could be related to recent protest in Ferguson in the wake of Michael
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE: I don`t think it is. It didn`t
happen within in the proximity of the protest area. This is an area that
is fairly secluded. And I wouldn`t have any reason to believe right now
that it was linked in any way, shape there or form with the protesters.
Certainly doesn`t appear that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Also last night, another police involved shooting in St.
Louis County. According to authorities, an off duty officer was driving
his personal vehicle along interstate 70 when a driver passed him on the
left. An unknown number of people inside that vehicle fired shots into the
officer`s car. The officer was not hit by any bullets. But he was injured
by broken glass. Investigators say the off duty officer did not return
Both of last night`s shootings are under investigation. And we are going
to have much more on the story coming up later in the program including an
interview with St. Louis alderman Antonio French.
But for now, we`re going to turn to the ongoing U.S. led military campaign
against ISIS. This morning, CENTCOM is reporting new airstrikes yesterday
and today in the ongoing campaign against ISIS. U.S. and partner nation
military forces conducted eight airstrikes in Syria and separately U.S.
military forces used fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct force
strikes in Iraq.
But just more than a month left before the 2014 midterms, the October
surprise is looking to be an issue no one saw coming at the start of this
election year. Back in January Republicans were poised and ready to use
the sluggish economy and the weak job market as a winning issue for the
party. But despite lower than expected job numbers in the month of August
and for most of the year, the realities of the economy has been showing
signs of strength.
August`s 142,000 jobs added was the lowest increase in the year where for
the previous six months in addition of at least 200,000 jobs. That`s the
norm. And as for voters, the economy as an election issue has lost some of
After briefly taking the number one spot as the most important issue in
Gallup poling in February and again in June, the economies see that the top
spot to government as foremost in voter`s list of concerns.
The economy fell to third place. Behind that, another issue for a moment
seems as if it would be the midterm issue (INAUDIBLE). Immigration,
remember this summer`s border crisis which prompted elected officials to
jockey for positioning on how to best respond in the arrival of the tens of
thousands of unaccompanied children escaping violence in Central America.
But as surge of child immigrants slow to a trickle, so too did interest in
the border crisis by lawmakers and the public. And with zero hope of the
House acting on immigration reform, and President Obama punting on the
issue until after the midterms, well, immigration just isn`t the election
issue it used to be.
Add to that list of 2014 midterm issues that could have been the president
signature piece of policy and the GOP`s favorite punch line, Obamacare.
Only, there is nothing to laugh at because of the steadily declining
numbers of uninsured Americans suggest a victory here or the projected 25
percent increase in insurance companies rushing to sell their plans on
But just when it seems Republican are running out of fresh water for
attacks on the president`s domestic policy, he made a decision that put his
foreign policy squarely in their sites. And right in the middle of the
midterm election agenda.
This week, President Obama announced the beginning of U.S.-led airstrikes
in Syria, an expansion of the ongoing war in Iraq against the Islamic state
also known as ISIS. And yet, despite the fact that Americans support his
plan to use the action against is by a 62 percent majority, his dismal 38
percent rating on his overall approach to foreign policy has given
Republicans at opening to stoked appears of a terror threat in midterm
Take a look at this ad targeting New York Democratic congressman Dan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just look at the news, raising kids, there`s enough
to worry about and now this. So where is Dan Maffei putting us at risk?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Then, there is this one attacking Congressman Rick Nolan of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just how dangerously liberal is Rick Nolan? America is
under a new threat of terrorism, yet Nolan voted to cut funds for the fight
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And my personal favorite, this add in which Republican Scott
Brown who is running in New Hampshire to unseat Democratic senator Jeanne
Shaheen, manages to equate a terror threat on the other side of the world
with immigrants at the southern border of the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the
clash of our country. President Obama and Senator Shaheen seem confuse
about the nature of the threat, not me. I want to secure the border, keep
out the people who do us harm, and restore America`s leadership in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now is Clarence Page, Pulitzer-prize winning
syndicated columnist of the "Chicago Tribune" and member of the "Chicago
Tribune" editorial board and author of "Culture Warrior," Emily Tisch
Sussman with campaign director at the center for American progress and Avik
Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
All right, are Democrats, Clarence Page, are they in fact vulnerable to an
attack on the president`s foreign policy despite the fact that these are
midterm elections in which congressmen are, for the most part, not making
CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I think the only vulnerable in
the sense of emotional appeals frankly like that Scott Brown ad you just
showed that tries to somehow equate ISIS with the border debate, tow-phrase
for debates. But they both reach out toward what are call security moms by
the political consultants going back to the 2004 presidential election in
which George W. Bush benefitted greatly from the question of "who will keep
And Barack Obama is very sensitive to that. I know (INAUDIBLE) has a wake
campaign. He did very little that even the most thoughts neo cons could
criticize. And right now, it`s like he is back at that position, starting
to get phrase Charles Krauthammer and others. It is like he is doing the
right thing right now, hopefully it will work, he still lacks leadership,
but you know, strategically, he is making those moves now for Obama and
ISIS in order to deflect that kind of criticism.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, Avik, I want to go at this a bit. Because it seems to
me that this is a very delicate sort of space for Republicans to walk on
this, right? On the one hand, if you`re running against a democrat
incumbent, you want to place any kind of scary, you know, sort of moment
that we find ourselves in as a nation in the added that incumbent`s feet.
But, if it is an incumbency issue, that means then that Republican
incumbents would be equally open to this kind of challenge by Democratic
AVIK ROY, SENIOR FELLOW, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: And you know, one of the
things that`s really interesting about foreign policy is that when the
president went in to Syria and Iraq and authorized this military
intervention, actually a lot of Republicans supported it.
HARRIS-PERRY: It was the first time John Boehner said let`s give the
president what he wants.
ROY: Right. Exactly. So I think that`s important to know that whatever
Republicans are doing to criticize the president. When it comes to foreign
policy, there is this view among Republicans and look, we have to support
the president when it comes to foreign intervention.
And I think it is legitimate to ask any congressman, Democrat or
Republican, are they doing the responsible thing when it comes to foreign
policy. Whatever you may think that is. That is an appropriate point of
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So I love that point. So let me -- I want -- listen --
sorry, (INAUDIBLE), but me read to you a little bit of what John Boehner
said in the "New York Times" on September 25th where actually he says doing
this with the whole group of members that is authorizing this action, who
are on their way out the door, I don`t think that`s the right way to handle
this. I would suggest to you that early next year, assuming that we
continue in this effort, there may be that discussion and there may be that
request from the president.
And so, Emily, I thought, wait a minute. I don`t care if you`re a lame
duck. I don`t care if you were elected yesterday. If you`re holding
office, again, Democrat and Republicans who are incumbents, you have a
responsibility to address the question of our nation at war.
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:
Without question. You took a very positive view on the Republicans in
Congress saying that they could come together and give the president this
power. I`ll take a slightly more cynical view of saying that basically,
Congress doesn`t know how to play out the politics around this. And they
did as little as they possibly could without becoming controversial.
When they were back in session for a very short amount of time, they were
back in session, all they did was extend the war powers that were already
available to the president. So that is literally as little as they
possibly could have done while still supporting the president because they
don`t know where the politics on this are either.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right. OK. So, is that why -- I`m fascinated by this
idea that the thing that has risen is the Gallup polls to the biggest
problem facing us. It`s always a fascinating and a kind of fast moving
answer is now government. I mean, is a kind of an odd sort of thing.
Because it`s not necessarily we`re worried about big government right, it
is not necessarily we are worried about this particular president, it`s
like God, our government doesn`t seem to be working. And I wonder --
PAGE: From our conversation already can`t you see why people --
PAGE: Republicans and Democrats, Melissa. Every time, you get to it --- I
mean, there is an old saying in Washington, nothing gets done during
election year. This is an election year. That`s why we see --
HARRIS-PERRY: But nothing was getting done prior.
PAGE: What has got done last year in this do-nothing Congress than this
year? And the thing is that that even now, that Boehner and the
Republicans want to hold the line and not fall behind because they`re ahead
in the polls right now. But they know it`s tenuous and they don`t want to
make any mistakes now like with foreign policy. I was an issue that
Americans usually are not move by unless they feel like there is terrorist
right outside your door.
HARRIS-PERRY: But that precisely what people think right now. I mean,
whether it is reasonable or not, these ISIS beheading videos do make -- and
then the language about sort of terror threats on the airplanes. And it
really does make people feel, and we saw this in the public opinion data,
more afraid than they have been since September 11th.
I want to come back to the topic that you brought up when you said it is
good to actually ask your elected official about this. I`m wondering
whether or not these commercials actually help us to have that robust
So, everyone, stay with me. When we come back, we have new polling on how
many Americans are now convinced that a ground war is inevitable.
HARRIS-PERRY: If you have been paying close attention to what President
Obama has been saying about U.S. military action in Iraq and Syria, then
you have become very familiar with two concepts that we`re going degrade
and destroy is, and this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American forces will not be
returning to combat in Iraq.
As I said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission. We
will not be dragged into another ground war in Iraq.
I want to be clear. The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do
not and will not have a combat mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: But no matter how many times that president says it, an NBC
News/"Wall Street Journal" (INAUDIBLE) poll just released this morning
suggests that Americans aren`t believing it. Because 72 percent of believe
that the U.S. will ultimately use American combat troops against ISIS. And
in addition, something like 58 percent of Americans think that our current
plan is simply not enough.
So if you have an enormous number of people who think it is not enough,
that we are going to send combat troops, I think you`re right. We have to
have a robust public conversation. I`m just wondering if these campaign
ads, do they initiate -- they might. They could be bad ads, but can still
initiate that kind of conversation.
ROY: Yes. I mean, I would I agree that some of the ads may not actually
make the coherent foreign policy discussion and we need to have --
HARRIS-PERRY: Really? A campaign as is not doing that?
ROY: Yes. But I mean, but it is an important question, right? I mean,
why is the president`s approval lower even though people generally support
what he is doing? It is the perception that he doesn`t have a strategy or
that he is so ideologically committed against ground troops that he is not
willing to do what is needed in the case of tackling ISIS.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, there is an interesting question about whether Iraqi
(ph) is ideologically oppose to ground troops or in fact, politically, I
mean part of what I wonder is if the president, too, is trying to thread
the needle between "I have to look and be strong." in part for political
reasons, but also we have a war weary nation that does not want to see
ground troops going back.
SUSSMAN: That`s absolutely right. The polling shows people don`t want
ground troops. I think that Americans right now are really torn between a
couple positions. One, they actually feel nervous. They see videos of
beheadings. We know that we have more and more (INAUDIBLE) as we go
through airports, public buildings, like we actually feel it. At home,
for, you know, the first time now, we --
HARRIS-PERRY: And in quite some time, right, that residue of 9/11, that we
felt maybe for the first two or three years. And then it sort of backs off
and you can go through the faster line of the airport and all the sudden,
you start feeling it again.
SUSSMAN: Right, we really do feel it. But we don`t want endless war. And
it`s really hard for people to understand what is committing and going in
to, you know, getting rid of the enemy. What is committing in and then
going in if it doesn`t mean ground troops. And one of those troops that
are on the ground, what are they doing?
I think we do know, you know, a lot of them are there for humanitarian
reasons. Many of them are there because they are actually training ally
troops. But chief of staff -- army chief of staff General Odierno has
actually said in the last week, it is going to be really difficult for us
to definitely know that we`re training the right people even if we go there
and we arm them. And we are not training and arming insurgents. This
starts to sound like endless war. It`s a little bit scary. And then there
is this, you know, sort of additional piece that ends up coming in is, are
we ready to bear the burden of costs of taking care of Americans that
actually do go in and fight.
HARRIS-PERRY: I think we are pretty clear that the answer to that is no.
I mean, the kind of failures around the VA. That are bipartisan failures
that perceive this president, but have also extended during this
I wonder and, you know, I know my executive producer will not be happy
about me doing this, he thinks we should talk -- media talking about media.
But Clarence, you are sitting here, as I feel like I want to ask you this,
if part of the problem is -- OK, you can`t wait for campaign commercials to
do it. And if nothing gets done in an election year, it does feels to be,
and you have been in media for --
PAGE: Long time.
HARRIS-PERRY: For decades now. And I wonder if part of it is that we are
supposed to be the ones having the deliberative conversation and that is in
fact difficult both because we have relatively low information as compared
to other sorts of things. And that we may not have an audience that wants
to hear hey, this is hard. There is not one right answer. I`m just sort
of wondering, how do we thread that?
PAGE: You`re right, but nobody said it will be easy. Now, we aren`t
called the fourth state for nothing. We`re part of the process. And it is
important for us to do what we can in the media, with regard on what media
we are talking about not to foster a constructive dialogue.
I think though, President Obama makes a mistake with this message when he
gets away from his initial message back -- I remember he delivered in
Chicago in his Senate race when he said "I`m in favor of sensible wars not
stupid wars." I mean, the sad word, --
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, the dumb war. No dumb war.
PAGE: No dumb war, yes. That is basically his ideology. And I think most
Americans feel the same way. And he should be honest and not just try to
rule out ground troops altogether. I think Americans understand that
sometimes you need ground troops. So you just can`t say, once you get into
a war, you don`t know how it`s going to end. And the fact is, in Iraq, we
don`t need ground troops because the Iraqi army, we hope, just needs the
kind of their support that help them get themselves together.
Syria is a different matter. Syria is big question mark. As Obama say, it
is going to take time. It is going to extend awhile. You want to find out
what is need. I think Americans are in favor of ground troops if that`s
what we need.
ROY: Melissa, we have to remember that --
HARRIS-PERRY: I swear I`m not doing this (INAUDIBLE). I`m totally doing
this because they`re yelling at me in my ear bud for commercials. But that
said, this is not a conversation that is over and that clearly, even as we
progress, we are going to have to keep having this conversation about what
is right and what is next.
But up next, we are going shift gears a little bit. I want to bring you a
story about students, about censorship, and about the understanding of our
nation`s very identity.
HARRIS-PERRY: If you tuned into MHP yesterday, then you know that my
letter of the week went to a school board member in Jefferson County,
Colorado. Julie Williams has proposed to curriculum committee to review
material being its hot and advance to placement history courses. The goal,
to make sure teachers are promoting things like citizenship and patriotism,
but not civil disorder.
I tried to offer Williams a bit of a lesson in the value of civil
disobedience yesterday. But the best lesson maybe coming from the hundreds
of students who took to the streets to protest her proposal.
NBC News correspondent Joe fryer has the story.
JOE FRYER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout this week,
hundreds of students in Jefferson County, Colorado have walked out of
class, an act of civil disobedience.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re trying to show their voice matters.
FRYER: To protest plans that could wipe civil disobedience from their
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just felt like we had this out crying support and
needed to do something.
FRYER: What is happening here is part of a larger national debate that
actually centers around a class, advanced placement in U.S. history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody happen to know what happened on the
state in 1787?
FRYER: Nationwide that course was recently revamped. But conservatives
feel it focuses too much on negative parts of the past. Jefferson County,
Colorado`s second largest school district, school board member Julie
Williams want a committee to review the curriculum saying materials should
not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or destruct for the
law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United
States and its heritage.
JULIE WILLIAM, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: I`m not saying let`s not teach history
accurately. What I`m saying is let`s not encourage our children disobey
FRYER: But protesting students feel it is censorship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: History is dirty and that`s the thing about history is
that it`s something to learn from.
FRYER: The superintendent is meeting with students telling them he
respects their right to protest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you make a decision to do that you need to have a
very good reason and you need today be able to articulate that reason.
FRYER: The real life civics lesson proving decent is not something easily
Joe Fryer, NBC News, Middleton, Colorado.
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now from Denver are two of the student protester,
Ashlyn Maher and Klye Ferris.
It is so nice to have you two.
ASHLYN MAHER, STUDENT PROTESTER: Hi. Thank you for having us.
KYLE FERRIS, STUDENT PROTESTER: It`s nice to be here.
HARRIS-PERRY: So tell me. What were the two of you, and the other young
people who you were with, hoping to achieve by this protest?
FERRIS: Basically, we just wanted to get the school board`s attention at
first. They`re not really listening we feel to the concerns of the
community. And we feel we needed to make a show to get their attention and
I think we have so far.
HARRIS-PERRY: No, one of the things I was impressed by it is that you`re
thinking about ongoing protests. Tell me about this October 1st, October
2nd, October 4th, how your making decisions about when you want to have
your next actions?
MAHER: Well, what we want to give the school board a chance to do is
address the issue. The issue is not currently on the table for this next
meeting on October 2nd. But what we want to do is tell them that we`re not
going to let up and that we want them to discuss the issue.
So we are going to see what happens on October 2nd. I know, I myself, will
be there and a lot of other students are planning to be there. And then on
October 4th, we are planning a district wide demonstration just to show
that this is not school led. It is the students coming together on our
free time. We don`t care about what school you`re from. We are all for
the same cause.
HARRIS-PERRY: So you think students will come out, Kyle, on a Saturday?
FERRIS: Yes, certainly. I mean, you know, maybe there is going to be less
than we would have on a school day. But I think the majority of students
do care about this issue. I think, in (INAUDIBLE), we value our education,
most of us do. And I think we are all willing to fight for what we believe
in. And I think sacrificing a Saturday is something a lot of people are
going to be willing to do.
HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on for me for one second, both of you. I want to ask a
questioned of one of our panelist here.
Avik, you know, I`m actually probably more of a traditionalist in it the
teaching of U.S. history than some people might expect. But for me, a
traditional education is one that would include an understanding of civil
disobedience as cords of the whole American project. I mean, our founders
were civil disobedience.
ROY: Yes. I mean, the Boston tea party, as I recall, correctly if I`m
wrong, involved violating some laws. And the American revolution involved
violence, civil disorder. So yes, that is part of our tradition and should
be taught. I think there is, however, a conservative -- a legitimate
conservative critique that particularly the history of the last 50 years,
of the last 50 years, has tilted to the left. And I think that what you
hear a lot of these individuals, these activists on the conservative side,
perhaps, inarticulately or inconsistently trying to protest against.
And so, there should be a way to talk about the recent struggles and the
recent debates we have had in our recent history in a relatively way and
neutral way while still taking into account that it back in the civil
disorder has been a very important part of American history.
HARRIS-PERRY: Kyle and Ashlyn, do you all agree that the history that you
have learned as students has, in Avik`s words, tilted to the left?
MAHER: No. I took the AP U.S. history course myself, my sophomore year.
And all I was presented with were the facts. And I was able to make
opinions for myself. And I think that`s what is most important. That`s
what history is for. It`s teaching young people what happened so we don`t
make those mistakes again. And it`s teaching them how to form opinions for
themselves. No one ever told me what to believe. I chose what to believe.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Ashlyn, first of all, let me just say. I`m impressed by
you taking AP in 10th grade. That is extraordinary.
And Kyle, let me also just ask you this. It seems to me if you just look
at the signs and you all were holding up at this protest, it`s clear that
this curriculum is part of it but there are also signs about keep our
public schools public and supporting our teachers. What else is all of
FERRIS: Well, the school board right now in Jefferson County is a bit of a
mess. A lot of members just came from Douglas County where they screwed
things up there. But the other issues that we are protesting about include
the teachers` wages, which they are messing with, their treatment of
charter schools where they`re funneling funds away from public schools and
its charter schools. They trim (ph) all the kindergartens in the secrecy
that`s in the board.
There is a lot of things going on. We are focusing on the AP U.S. history
things because we think it is the easiest to understand and the most
pressing issue. But, yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ashlyn and Kyle, I want to tell you that the two of you give
me an extraordinary amount of hope about what is possible in our nation
because your reasoning, your strategic tactical capacity, and the fact that
this is all about education is really, and I don`t mean this in any kind of
patronizing way, it really is makes me very, very hopeful. And I
appreciate the work that the two of you are up to as legitimate organizers.
Thank you to Ashlyn Maher and to Kyle Ferris in Denver Colorado. Also,
thank you here to Avik Roy in New York. Clarence and Emily are going to be
back later in the program.
We continue to follow breaking news this morning out of Ferguson, Missouri.
Law enforcements are investigating after two separate officer-involved
shootings in the St. Louis County area. We are going to have the interview
with St. Louis Alderman Antonio French.
And still to come this morning, Shondra Rhimes drops the mic in the
season`s premiere of scandal.
HARRIS-PERRY: A little bit of television history with me last night with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHE, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: And Mr. President, I know things seem
bad right now. But on the bright side, after the midterm election, pretty
much nothing you do will matter. I mean -- and then you will be free to
become the first black president I was truly hoping for. It could be so
much fun. You taught people flip out over your tan suit (ph). Why did I
see you in a purple suit? You can give the next (INAUDIBLE) looking like
it, the number pick at the NBA draft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was Michael Che, a former Saturday night live rider who
was also a correspondent for "the Daily Show" with Jon Stewart for a short
stem (ph) this year. And he now the first African-American weekend update
co-anchor. This SNL debut kept up a week of buzz word in television
premieres when they, Tracey Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson started an
ABC`s new sitcom "Blackish." (INAUDIBLE) this led a final hour of
(INAUDIBLE), a Thursday primetime TV takeover with how they get away with
And on Friday, Amazon, through Amazon prime instant video launched the
first season of the new series called "Transparent" in which actor Jeffrey
Tambor plays a Trans gender parents who has just introduced herself to her
children as Maura.
It is TV, more colorful than ever when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: This week fall TV came back with serious premiers that had
us glued to our television setting. Exciting new comedies like ABC`s
"Blackish" explored race and culture with thoughtful scenes that had us
laughing out loud seems like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Obama is the first black president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re doing a bang up job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold on a second. Let`s explore this. Jack, did you
really not know that Obama was the first black president?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: He is the only president that I know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Thursday night ran all the drama when (INAUDIBLE) its new
highly anticipated legal thriller, "How to get away with murder?" Fourteen
million people tuned in to watch Viola Davis play Annalise Keating, the
power house criminal defense attorney and law professor who takes charge in
class and in the courtroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry. It won`t happen again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t worry, we can fix this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ll fix it. You stay here and collect a paycheck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Here to discuss the rich television lineup, we have seen
this with our Clarence Page, member of the "Chicago Tribune" editorial
board, Alicia Quarles, E! News correspondent, and Jason Lynch, contributor
to the "Daily Beast" and "Quartz."
So let`s just start with "Blackish." Alisha, what did you think
ALISHA QUARLES, E! NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I loved it ultimately. The scene,
spoiler alert for those who set the DVR, the scene at the beginning where
Anthony Anderson`s character is waiting for his promotion and then to find
out he got promoted to the urban division. That`s happened (INAUDIBLE)
before. I thought that was very relatable and has a lot of potential. And
I love the three different generations that it represents in our culture.
We know that in our own families, it is like, you know, you have kid that
are assimilated, you have got people in the middle -- I mean, you got the
parents in the middle, and parents that fought for it. Interesting.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And I love that the, did you know that Obama was the
first black president? And he was like, it is the only president.
So I think there was some conversation initially about who is the Obama
generation going to be. Now we get to be playful with the question of who
the Obama generation going to be. And now we got to kind of be playful
what the question of who the Obama generation will be on a television show.
PAGE: Yes. I`m come from the Eisenhower generation. So you can see the
HARRIS-PERRY: And I`m from Reagan generation.
PAGE: And we love the Ike, too. But, it`s a -- no, I think it is
fascinating show. And I really like it a lot. That conference room,
seemed by the way, if you haven`t seen (INAUDIBLE), go back and look at
that. That`s what I was reminded of 40 years later. Here is the flip side
of it all. I`m wondering if the show might be too black or not to reach
enough Middle Americans to stay on the air. But I`m happy to find out the
numbers were very good on the opening night. So, America has change in a
lot of ways.
HARRIS-PERRY: In part because America itself is blacker and browner than
it once was. As much as network TV is finally noticing there are black
people, in the sense of finally coming along. The other part of television
now streaming on our devices is very different. I want play a moment of
"transparent" and then ask you about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dad is a woman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying you`re going to dress like a woman all
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honey, my whole life I have been dressing up like a
man. This is me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So transparent is going to push us to manage and talk about
and think about Trans communities in a new way that, for example,
(INAUDIBLE), "Orange is the new Black". I mean, this is the kind of a far
edgier and deeply compelling kind of television.
JASON LYNCH, CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Absolutely. I think "Orange is
the New Black" kind of opened the door to talk about this. And
"Transparent" just keep it wide open. And this is really important for a
(INAUDIBLE) company like Amazon prime because this is a show that is unlike
anything that is on TV are actually I think is it also happens to the best
new show of the fall. And this is -- and you`re not going to Amazon
because you are not seeing this type of show, this type of -- these
characters anywhere else on TV.
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you, though. When you say that, because I can
remember when FOX first -- but I remember when FOX first came to air, it
had a lot of the diversity shows on it. And then it shifted overtime, but
that`s how it made its initial mark. And so, I had back and forth feelings
about that. There is one part of me that feels like that`s great, and
another part of me feels like it`s climbing on the back of a marginal
community to make your kind of space in this, you know, competitive media
LYNCH: Well, there is so much good TV. There are far too much good TV
HARRIS-PERRY: Come on. There is a lot of good TV.
LYNCH: There is a lot of great TV. I mean, I still don`t have time to
watch all of the shows that I would like to watch. So it`s important for
something like Amazon to have a show with a voice out there that sticks to
something you haven`t seen somewhere else. Then they can bail them on that
certainly afterwards. But that is important, just like with Netflix with
"Orange is the new Black." It is their entre and to like there was premium
quality TV that you have out there. And we`ll see where they go from
HARRIS-PERRY: Are the behind the stage folks, are the creators, the
directors, and producers also more diverse in a variety of ways or are they
just the faces of we`re seeing on air?
QUARLES: They are absolutely more diverse in a number of ways. If you
look at the show like "Blackish," it is implying a lot of African-American,
Latinos. There is not just Caucasians, but here are also Caucasians in the
mix. I mean, look at some of the Shonda Rhimes shows same thing. So these
aren`t shows that are being written by just white writers. They`re being
written by brown people, by people of all colors, by trans people. So this
is a very well rounded.
HARRIS-PERRY: The actor, though, who is playing the lead role in
"Transparent," is not himself, Trans.
LYNCH: No. He is Jeffrey Tambor. And most people would know him from
Larry Sanders of "Arrested Development." But Jill Soloway who is the
creator and her father actually came out as Trans several years ago. So,
this is basically based on his story. She is taking pains to every other
Trans out there on the show. He has played Trans character on the show
played by Trans actor. And she also has several other members in the Trans
community acting as consultants in the show. So certainly, you know, in
front of the camera and behind the scenes, that`s reflective of the
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, stick with me because when we come back I have a
political analysis -- no, actually I`m going to show what is Olivia Pope
did this week to school NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
HARRIS-PERRY: The all Shonda Rhimes` primetime line up on ABC premiers
Thursday bringing back an establish fan favorite like "Greys Anatomy" and
launching a brand new obsession viewing with Viola Davis in "how to get
away with murder." But it was the season premiere`s scandal had answered
where in the world is Olivia Pope? Spoiler alert, (INAUDIBLE) beach with
her man, yes.
And there was scandal. There was most response to our current political
moment. The bizarre coincidence that the show featured a search for a new
attorney general -- I mean, do you think older (INAUDIBLE) before he told
us. And the way that a show put on a clinic for NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell about how to handle issues of violence against women.
Wait, you missed that part? Allow me to take you back to November 2013
when "Scandal`s" second season was criticized by some for airing without
trigger warning, a traumatizing sexual assault scene describe to the back
story of the first lady Nelly Grant. And then, the rape scene was used in
a kind of deeply troubling way to explain Nelly`s subsequent political and
A few months later in April 2014, Columbus short, the actor that played the
part of Olivia Pope`s fiercely loyal right-hand man, Harrison Wright, was
fired from the show after his wife took out a restraining against him
alleging he abused her and threatened her with the knife. So was also
arrested on another alleged incident of domestic violence and child abuse.
So what does "Scandal" do? Well, it starts the season by having it
Republican president working hard to pass an equal pay act, and it deals
directly with the issue of domestic violence allowing Olivia Pope to
deliver these lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The press is loving this story. (INAUDIBLE) has been
lying of the party attacked in his home. The man is lying in a hospital
being fainted and prayed for. He is a rapist, a sexual predator, and the
survival of his assault. The hero of the story is a woman who feels like
he is can`t come forward, because in a he said she said situation, women
aren`t believed because it could hurt her career because of the very fact
that some man put his hands on her. It damage her credibility as a united
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And they bury Harrison. I mean, there is no two
episode suspension for Harrison. They decided to make his death a big
deal. Harrison is not on an island somewhere. No, he is not coming back.
Yes. And the show is about explicitly about women`s equality in the work
force, and dealing forth rightly with sexual assault, "Scandal" has decided
to have a funeral for the character played by a man who in a real life is a
allegedly an abuser. And while short himself was live tweeting it. That`s
what I like to call cultural (INAUDIBLE) gangster. Are you taking notes
Now, do you think I over read that?
HARRIS-PERRY: But I got to tell you.
QUARLES: Now. That`s what happened. This is the part Columbus short also
had a viewing party. I mean, Shondra is a gangster.
HARRIS-PERRY: And he kept saying in some of the tweets, he is dead but not
really dead dead. And I mean he is dead, right? Like Harrison is gone,
LYNCH: He is dead. We spent all summer trying to get spoilers out of
Shondra. Where is Olivia? When is she coming back? She wouldn`t say a
word. But when you say, does Harrison dead? She said absolutely. And for
Shonda to kind of go against her no spoiler policy, she was sending a
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. And I really, you know, it did feel to me like yes,
OK. Yes, it`s a TV show. But here you had a woman delivering a narrative
on sexual assault while in bed with her fine man. I mean, there was a kind
of -- I don`t want to overstate it, but there was a kind of clear self
referential "we`re going to address this question."
PAGE: There was. And I think it`s hard to draw lines, really, between
fiction narratives and nonfiction. And I think that is another point that
Shonda Rhimes is making here that the reason why the fiction narratives
that we see on TV work because on TV is they resonate so well with the real
life that we are dealing with everyday.
And it`s remarkable how the timing occurred here. I commend Shonda Rhimes
there, with everyone involved for responding to quickly through this
unusual medium of prime time TV. Usually, by the way, my only complaint
about scandal is it gets too soapy for me sometimes, I rather stick with a
conspiracy -- but I live with that every day in Washington, you know. It
takes adult nerds like me to appreciate that. Most Americans, they want to
see that kind of what, man and woman interrelationship.
HARRIS-PERRY: And I mean, I`m just glad that the president is trying to
pass a policy. I mean, Ms. Grant has not tried to do anything
QUARLES: I got to say though, I interviewed Kerri Washington last week,
and this month is domestic violence awareness month, she is created a purse
to help women, the sales would help women, basically, get free from their
abuser. And I talked to her about this in Ray Rice and everything that was
going on, are you guys going to address this on the show? A little wink
and a nod goes well, you know, we`re socially conscious.
So I think that this was very well send out and the timing cannot have been
HARRIS-PERRY: And you know, for me, there was also a kind of
responsiveness to the critique. I mean, and I had a critique of the Nelly
(ph) scene. And you know, there is this moment even in this episode where
there is -- were you are lying about the assault. Then she comes back and
she doesn`t sing about women not lying. And it was certainly responsive to
the Ray Rice and all of that but it was also it felt to me responsive to
the critics of her own show in that.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, let me ask you this, speaking of the things that
we know. I want to play a little bit from "Blackish" from one of the kids,
and I want to ask whether or not this also resonates in something we feel
like they have seen the news these days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eliza Jackson, which one is he is?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You know, with any of my shoes every single day and
the polka dot backpack.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Kind of what is the Turkey burger?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a second. Are you guys talking about the only
other little black girl in your class?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you just say that?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I don`t know. It`s like Eliza Jackson, I just think
name of chicken burgers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So here is like the Obama generation basically saying I
don`t even see race. At the same time that we are dealing with the
realities of Ferguson, and I kept wondering -- I wonder if this show that
is meant to be so inherently post racial, is eventually going to have to
have these kids bump up against the American state. The really difficult
stuff when people do see race.
QUARLES: I think it is going to absolutely have to. As a young person, I
moved every three years so that all throughout the country, there was many
years where I didn`t think about race even if I was the only black person
in the classrooms. But eventually, you`re going to come up against it. So
if the show is really a reflection of our society, they are going to have
to deal with it.
LYNCH: You know, one of the problems with any pilot is you have 22 minutes
to establish the characters, to establish his world. So certainly, I think
as the season goes on and the ratings are great. So I think, you know,
we`ll have some time to get into the world of these characters. It does
seem like something that we`ll get into sooner, you know, presume.
HARRIS-PERRY: It feels like a pilot. It felt like this is the first show.
PAGE: I hope they handle it more smoothly than the show that -- help me,
Jason, about people show on, I think on HBO --
LYNCH: "House of Lies?"
PAGE: "House of Lies." Thank you. They finally got to that point where
Don Shittle (ph) had to run into the cops. But to me it was done so
clumsily that it just got -- it got a really murky and it was too far
removed from real life. So, I wait to see how "Blackish" will do, I think
it is inevitable, though.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. So, there is this moment in which the sort of cultural
politics connect. It is interesting that Roger Goodell, actually himself,
went to a domestic violence sort of training, a shelter this week, you
know, I kind of had that experience. And I`m wondering if maybe only
Olivia Pope had been there to fix for Roger Goodell from the beginning
that, in fact, his visit to the Texas national domestic violence hotline
might have happened much, much sooner.
Thank you to Alicia Quarles and to Jason Lynch. Clarence page is going to
be back in our next hour.
But coming up next, there is breaking news out of Ferguson, Missouri where
late last night a police officer was shot.
There is much more at the top of the hour.
HARRIS-PERRY: Good morning again from New York. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
This morning, we have breaking news to bring you on the shooting of a
police officer last night in Ferguson, Missouri. According to authorities,
at approximately 9:10 p.m. Central Time Saturday night, an officer driving
alone on routine patrol of the town community center came upon two men who
ran from him. Police say, the officer chases suspect on foot and was fired
upon. Here was St. Louis County police Chief Jon Belmar speaking with
reporters early this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY SHERIFF: He came into very close
proximity with them. One of the individuals turned with firearm, the
officer was able to block it with his arm and then was shot in the arm by
one of the suspects. The officer is in an area hospital, he is expected to
survive. I`m talking with the officer free at the scene, the officer said
that he was able to get a couple shots off. I don`t know what that means
beyond a couple of shots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Police say they do not know the identity of either suspect
in the shooting and they remain at large. As the initial news unfolds,
this shooting appears to be an isolated incident. Not in any way connected
to the protests and the unrest that followed the police shooting of Michael
Brown, an unarmed teenager on August 9th. Now, how this assuring, had this
shooting occurred in any other city in America with the population of just
more than 21,000. It would be an important local news item but unlikely to
garner national attention. But this is Ferguson, a small city just outside
of St. Louis that since the protests and police crashes of this summer has
been a symbol of racial vulnerability and police militarization. This is
Ferguson, the small American city that even the president of the United
States felt he had to address while speaking at the United Nations General
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: At a summer marks by instability in
the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of a
small American city of Ferguson, Missouri, where a young man was killed and
a community was divided. So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama on Wednesday but last night while
addressing the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C.,
President Obama spoke again about Ferguson and the lack of trust between
police and the communities of color.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It harms the communities that need law enforcement the most. It
makes folks victimized by crime and need strong polices reluctant to go to
the police because they may not trust them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: As President Obama spoke, the family of Michael Brown was in
the audience. And President Obama is not the only official that the family
has heard from. On Thursday morning this week, the Ferguson police chief,
Tom Jackson released a video apologizing to the family of Michael Brown for
his death and for leaving his body in the street for four hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON, MO CHIEF OF POLICE: I`m truly sorry for the
loss of your son and also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from
the street. The time it took involved very important work on the part of
investigators were trying to collect evidence and gain a true picture of
what happened that day. But it was just too long and I`m truly sorry for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That night, Chief Jackson tried to march with the protestors
who had gathered to demand his resignation. According to reports, a fight
between police and protestors broke out almost immediately. The rest of
the night was marked by a tense standoff between protestors and police.
Seven people were arrested. And so it comes with no surprise that this was
the scene last night after reports that a police officer wounded by a
gunshot upon confronting two suspects, community members in Ferguson once
again out on the street with concerns and questions.
At the table with me now, Pulitzer-Prize winning syndicated columnist
Clarence Page, campaign director for the Center for American Progress,
Emily Tisch Sussman. And Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of
Change. And in St. Louis, Missouri. Alderman Antonio French of the 21st
Ward in St. Louis. It`s nice to have you Alderman.
ALDERMAN ANTONIO FRENCH, 21ST WARD, ST. LOUIS: Thanks for having me.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, everyone so far seems to be saying Alderman that this
shooting of the police officer is unconnected to anything related to the
protests in the wake of the police killing of Michael Brown. On the other
hand, it`s hard to imagine that there won`t be some residual impact of the
shooting of a police officer. What do you see is the potential connection
is going forward, not so much of those who may have caused this incident?
FRENCH: Well, first, we also had another shooting last night. There were
actually two police involved shootings. Another officer was shot at on the
highway last night. And so it set up a very tense night. There is just so
much distrust on both sides. People in the crowd had heard that a young
man had been killed by police in response to the officer being shot, that
spread quickly and the crowd got angry. And so, it really does show as the
President say that this trust between community and police is vital, and
when it is broken, it leads some very dangerous situations. And that`s
where we found ourselves here in Missouri.
HARRIS-PERRY: So all of these weeks later, we have from the Ferguson
police, chief, we have an apology but there is still no arrest, there`s
still no indictment of the police officer who shot Michael Brown, how
important is that particular event to somehow bringing a sense of justice
and rebuilding the capacity for trust.
FRENCH: It`s very important. So, the folks who are out here protests
every night are specific, they are demanding action, not just words but
action. They want an arrest, an indictment of the officer who shot Michael
Brown, and they had asked for those that are responsible for the military
style response to the protests weeks ago for someone either to resign or be
disciplined for that. And they have not gotten any of that and so they say
that they will continue until they get some measure of action.
HARRIS-PERRY: I`m wondering if you were there on the night that the police
chief in fact tried to march with protestors. Something that we saw that
Johnson able to do weeks ago, were you there or have you heard stories
about what happened on that night?
FRENCH: So, I watched it on a live stream, and then once I saw the
confrontation I arrived there shortly after that. And so, it appeared that
the chief, who I think is trying to make a good effort but unfortunately on
the situation beyond his capabilities. And the part that I think he
doesn`t see is that he is becoming an obstacle to this community moving
forward. And it would be best if he did resign, that will one give people
action, and show that there would be accountability for the police response
to the protests. But it will also allow the community to have a new face
to the police department, one that perhaps had a better relationship with
the community and was more reflective of the community.
HARRIS-PERRY: One more on the ground question for you. My understanding
is that there were Ferguson police who have been wearing "I am Darren
Wilson" arm bands. Sort of as a response to the fact that so many people
had been wearing "I am Michael Brown" t-shirt, as a sense of solidarity
with the unarmed teenager who was killed. The Department of Justice has
requested that they stop doing so. But have you heard from people there on
the ground about, how they`re feeling about the "I am Darren Wilson"
FRENCH: Yes. It angered the crowd. And in fact, it was officers who
arrived to a very violent scene on Tuesday when we had some looting and a
large crowd outside. Those officers arrived and some of them had those
wristbands and said "I am Darren Wilson" which was very, I think an
inciting act and demands discipline. They should be disciplined for that.
To my knowledge, no one has been. Michael Brown`s mother was asked about
it in an AP story. And she said that he felt that those wristbands
reflected how many of those police officers really feel about this
situation. About the population here in Ferguson.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us for a second. I want to come back with the
table here. So, Alderman said a kind of picture for us, a sober one about
what`s still happening on the ground. And yet, many of us maybe not
following in the way that the 24 hour coverage was, how do we act in ways,
to keep focus on what is happening here without having it have to be
another shooting whether of a civilian or a police officer to get us to
remember that Ferguson is still a continuing issue.
RASHAD ROBINSON, EXEC. DIR. COLOR OF CHANGE: Well, you know, I`ve been in
and out of Ferguson, and you know, we want to commend the protestors to the
sense that we would not have heard about this story. You know, of course,
we hear about these stories all of the time, all around the country. And
this became a national flash point. Because the community refuse to sit
back. And so as we think about, what are the next steps as they head into
the national day of action over the weekend of October 10th and then we
head over the next several weeks leading up to what would be the
announcement around the indictment. This also worked for the governor
here. How is the governor going to get involved in this? We have seen --
how is a democratic governor association going to hold him accountable.
The fact of the matter is, we have seen this prosecutor show his card. He
has no interest whatsoever in prosecuting this case, no interests in moving
this case forward in a way. We saw this just -- we`ve seen this recently
all around the country. There is no incentive for these prosecutors when
the victim is black and the officer is white. And so if the governor, who
needed black votes, who needs the black community, the Democratic Governor
Association sends us all e-mails asking us to donate money. What do they
have on the table here? What are our demands to them? And those are the
other ways that we all, around the country, as we look at Ferguson, we may
not be able to get there. What we can do in our individual ways around the
country to get involved, stay around and bring some accountability to the
HARRIS-PERRY: Alderman French from St. Louis. Thank you so much for
joining us. And also thank you for, quite honestly, for your social media
presence which again, for those of us who don`t live in Ferguson often
draws us back in and helps us to remember what is happening on the ground
there. Thank you.
FRENCH: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: And when we come back, how President Obama weighed in last
night on the tensions between police and the communities they serve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The anger and the emotion that followed his death awakened our
nation once again to the reality that the people in this room have long
understood which is in too many communities around the country, a gulf of
mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. Too many
young man of color feel targeted by law enforcement. Guilty of walking
while black and driving while black.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama speaking last night at an awards
dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. And Emily, it feels
to me, I mean, on the one hand, I mean, I get, the President is trying to
thread some needles here, but it`s not just the people feel that they`re
targeted by the police, there`s a great deal of empirical evidence that
they are targeted by the police. But then you have a police shooting, and
whether it is connected or not, a police shooting in Ferguson has become --
a shooting of a police officer becomes an overwhelming narrative because
we, as a country, I mean, as we see in the Eric Frein, you know, sort of
manhunt, we do not tolerate the shooting of American law enforcement
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIR., CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:
Absolutely. And there`s just incredible distrust both in Ferguson and
broader community at large. So the gap that is coming out right now is
coming from the police officers. It is still very vague around it. You
know, I do think obviously that the prosecutor in the Michael Brown case
needs to come forward with an indictment, but as a rule of law, you know,
as a person who appreciates rule of law, I do sort of understand the fact
that you want to make sure your case sticks. Sure. You absolutely want to
make sure your -- I say that time is law pass (ph), but the rule of law is
not necessarily on the side of where we want to see emotions and where we
want to see activism and what we think is good and fair. Because the
Supreme Court is how that there is so much leeway for the police to decide
when you do we need do use legal force. And if there`s no requirement of
retreat. It`s the same with your ground law, right? There`s no
requirement of retreat there. So because they do have that, it does
becomes harder for them to build a case. These are all pieces that we need
HARRIS-PERRY: And I hear you, I really -- I was just sort of trying to sit
and think through this with as little emotion as possible but it`s very
hard to have little emotion about this, but you know on the one hand, you
have the question of making a case stick. But it simply does not, when you
have tear gas, and curfews, and having left this boy in the street for four
hours, and then the chief of police apologizing like well, we had to do an
investigation while he laid there. And you compare that to what happens in
chasing the survivalist who shot the police officers in Pennsylvania.
You`re like, no clearly you can respond in different ways to a shooting.
CLARENCE PAGE, EDITORIAL WRITER, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, yes, there is a
lot of ways of responding, and this is how the system works or it doesn`t
work on how I look at it. I`m reminded of the Rodney King episode where
you had police officers on trial, they got off. You had a riot, the Feds
came in. And prosecutors based on civil rights violations and gut
convictions. Nobody was happy on either side. But it`s the way things
work. Now in Ferguson, the Attorney General`s office under Eric Holder is
investigating out there. So, you have a back out and so far, if you`re not
satisfied you put the local officials say, but what happens if the Feds
decide not to prosecute. This is really a way that things work under the
current system and I think only a real answer in the long term is for
Ferguson people to get out and vote. And there are posts like Color of
Change and others who are working on getting some good political
representation for the folks.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and I appreciate the voting. I mean that`s great, but
I mean, I think as we saw with the democratic governor of Missouri, voting
may or may not get you the kind of representation that you`re hoping for.
I`m wondering how the people of Ferguson took the news that Eric Holder is
resigning, even though he`s not leaving tomorrow, whether or not they feel
more vulnerable once again given that the person who championed and seemed
to be hearing them in the conflicts of empowerment in government is
stepping down eventually.
ROBINSON: I mean, the people of Ferguson are speaking up and I think that
there was some good things that came out of the Attorney General coming
there but what we`re seeing there is sort of a set up. I mean, I remember
growing up and seeing movies about the south and movies around sort of like
the prosecutor not really prosecuting, and the police who are not doing
their jobs, and being on the ground in Ferguson and sort of watching this
play out, watching the fact that Darren Wilson, you know, was a murder
suspect. And he was on the stand for like four hours. Unless there was
some sense of agreement or something, no good defense attorney would have
put their person on the stand for four hours and allowed them to be -- to
have that back and forth during an indictment hearing. That wouldn`t have
happened. The fact of the matter is, that we have seen sort of this -- the
fact that the prosecutor didn`t actually put any charges up. He just threw
the book and basically is giving like law books to the jury and saying hey,
you figure out whether it is murder one or -- that is not actually what
happens when someone wants an indictment. There is no political incentive
for this prosecutor to move this forward. The cards are stacked against
justice for black people in this situation. And the only recourse we have
is a political and activist one. And those folks on the ground who are
doing the work of raising their voices are to be commended, they are making
this a national issue, and they`re making it an issue for folks all around
this country, who every single day, we continue to hear these stories.
Stores that go away very quickly. This one is not going away.
HARRIS-PERRY: But when you say a political one, that`s part of -- so,
because President Obama has, in the course of his presidency for example,
both given us some of the most personal poignant telling moments about his
understanding of that connection between race in police or race in
violence. And you know, even in the context of the Zimmerman verdict which
is not a police question but still a question about policing community, but
then last night also was equivocating in ways about it being about a gulf
of mistrust. And I keep wanting to say it`s not a gulf of mistrust. It`s
about violence by the empowered towards the disempowered and the need of
the disempowered to speak back. So yes, political solutions, but then
there`s always, even when it`s the best of us insufficient.
SUSSMAN: Yes. It is absolutely insufficient. You know, I think when we
see the video of the police chief, he is apologizing. There seems to be
emotion there. It seems like he is not a bad person. He didn`t have bad
intention. I would say at best he has low emotional IQ and terrible
leadership skills and is setting a leadership skills and setting a terrible
precedence for his police. And he clearly, I think he has no control over
ROBINSON: But the fact of the matter is, let`s say I have a problem with
my Verizon bill and I go back and forth with them and they apologize and
take something off my bill, no political structure has been changed there,
right? Like they made that apology because it was a calculation that they
needed to actually make that. But I didn`t actually win anything for other
ROBINSON: Nothing structurally actually changed. So, there will be a set
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Yes. Yes.
ROBINSON: There will be speeches that will be made, and in the end, young
black people will still be in harm`s way when they come in contact with
police and parents and people who love black people have to be deeply
HARRIS-PERRY: And I will also say that no one here is suggesting that
Verizon has racial bias.
HARRIS-PERRY: Coming up, more and more videotape keeps coming to light of
black men being shot by police.
HARRIS-PERRY: A former South Carolina state troop is out of a job and is
facing assault and battery charges after an astonishing incident caught on
his dashboard camera video. On September 4th, then trooper Sean Groubert
stopped a black man for a seatbelt violation outside of a convenience
store. And here is what`s happened, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANCE CORPORAL SEAN GROUBERT, STATE TROOPER: Can I see your license,
please. Get out of the car, get out of the car. Get on the ground, get on
LEVAR JONES, SHOT BY SEAN GROUBERT: I just got my license, you said, get
my license, I grabbed my license, it`s right there. That`s my license is
GROUBERT: Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your
back. Put your hands behind your back.
JONES: What did I do, sir?
GROUBERT: Are you hit?
JONES: I think so, I can`t feel my leg. I don`t know what happened, I
just grabbed my license.
Why did you -- why did you shoot me?
GROUBERT: You dove head first back in your car.
JONES: I`m sorry.
GROUBERT: Then you jumped back out, I`m telling you to get out of your
JONES: I`m sorry, I didn`t hear two words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: And remember, this all began over a very simple traffic
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Why were you pulling my over -- I just pulled into.
GROUBERT: Seatbelt violation, sir.
JONES: Seat belt, I just pulled off right there at the corner to pull into
the gas station.
GROUBERT: I got help coming to you, OK? I got help coming to you.
JONES: I`m sorry.
GROUBERT: Just sit still, just sit still, bro. Sit still for me, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The man who was shot Levar Jones, survived and he is
recovering from a hip wound. Now Groubert`s attorney said, the shooting
was justified because Jones reached into the car aggressively. Levar Jones
attorney says, millions have now seen the video and can judge for
themselves. Forth noting, the shooting occurred on September 4th, but it
wasn`t until the video was released Wednesday that the case made national
headlines. And were some see an aggressive move into the car, others see
yet, another unarmed black man shot by a police officer over a minor
infraction. That divide about what we believe we see even when we see the
same thing, is a reminder that video whether by dash cam or body cam, or by
bystander phone, is only a tool to solve the issues of race and policing,
we have to do much more than just watch. We have to decide what it is
HARRIS-PERRY: Two weeks ago, we had as a guest on our show the father of
John Crawford III who had been shot and killed by a police in an Ohio Wal-
Mart on August 5th. At the time, the State Attorney General had refused to
release surveillance tape of the shooting to the public. Thing that to do
so would be, quote, "playing with dynamite." Crawford`s father agreed and
wanted the tape released for exactly that reason.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CRAWFORD, JR., FATHER OF JOHN CRAWFORD III: Frankly, it is playing
with dynamite in a sense that it`s going to cause some people to lose their
career, it`s going to cause some people to go to jail. So, in essence
undertone there is yes essentially yes, it is playing with dynamite.
Because we do have transparency. There is truth on that video.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Here`s what we know at that time, police were responding to
a 911 call claiming that Crawford had a rifle and he was walking around the
store aiming it at people including two children. We know that the rifle
was actually an unloaded bb gun when it was sold in the store. But we
couldn`t see it for ourselves. This week on Wednesday, we finally saw the
tape. I am about to play part of it and I want to warn you that it is
disturbing. In the video, Crawford can be seen walking to the end of a pet
supplies aisle with the toy gun on his shoulder. He then stands at the end
of the aisle talking on the phone and the bb gun by his side. It will be
another five-and-a-half minutes until John Crawford is shot by the police.
In the meantime, he barely moves. There is no audio from the Wal-Mart
surveillance cameras. But the FBI synced the tape with the 911 call so
that we can see what is happening at the same moment it is being described.
Here`s the beginning of that 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 DISPATCHER: 911, where is your emergency?
911 CALLER: I`m at the Wal-Mart, there is a gentleman walking around with
a gun in the store.
911 DISPATCHER: Does he have it pulled out?
911 CALLER: Yes, he is like pointing it at people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: It will be another four-and-a-half minutes until John
Crawford is shot. In the meantime, not much happens, he doesn`t really
move around. It appears at one point that just as he is standing at the
back of that supplies aisle, talking on the phone and swinging the gun, the
911 caller stays on the line. And at one point, a family walks into the
aisle, they don`t appear to notice Crawford nor him they, but the 911
caller describes a different thing all together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 DISPATCHER: I got (INAUDIBLE)
911 CALLER: My name is Ronald Ritchie, he just pointed it at like two
911 DISPATCHER: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: It will be another 70 seconds until John Crawford is shot,
standing in that exact same praise, the toy gun at his side. Seemingly
unaware of anything around him. And the next I will play begins when two
police officers come around the corner and one shoots John Crawford. We
can hear some of what`s happening through the cellphone of the person
calling 911. But even with the tape, even with the 911 call audio, it`s
hard to tell exactly what happened. Police said that later officers yelled
to Crawford repeatedly to put the gun down before they shot him. You see
the police coming to -- first in the left hand video. And if you listen
closely, you can hear someone yell down and then the officer quickly opens
fire. Again, a warning, this video is very disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, god.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sir, what`s going on?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: John Crawford`s father said the truth was on the video and
that it would end careers and send people to jail. But the same day the
video was released, we also found out that a grand jury decided to bring no
charges against the officers involved in the shooting. Now the Justice
Department is investigating. That video this week and then the grand jury
decided not to bring charges, you brought up Rodney King earlier. The
video itself is just a tool, what we think we`re seeing in that moment.
PAGE: That`s right. What disturbs me here is first of all, the police
called, received 911 call does not describe accurately what is going on.
It makes up a scenario of this young man waving the gun at people. And
then the police say that they said repeatedly to put the gun down, you
don`t see or hear any evidence of that. Those two elements alone indicate
that a tragedy was about to happen here. That was based on this false --
well first a false witness and then improper engagement by police.
HARRIS-PERRY: And look, Wal-Mart sells that gun. They sell it. The thing
that the man was walking around the store with is sold in the store, and
Ohio is an open carry state. Where if you were carrying an actual gun, it
still would not be a violation of law.
ROBINSON: Wal-Mart is the largest seller of guns in the country. They are
one of the biggest lobbyist on the proliferation of guns in this country.
They wrote the stand your ground law which became famous during the Trayvon
HARRIS-PERRY: And that they are part of ALEC.
ROBINSON: They were on the board of ALEC and ran that committee along with
the NRA that wrote that law. So, they have been involved in this for
years. But in order for open carry laws to work, in order for stand your
ground to work in the case of Marissa Alexander, people have to see black
folks as human. Police officers at the scene are (INAUDIBLE) victims. And
in a world that often times does not do that, you know, what happened with
the video not being released, right, was that for weeks they were able to
criminalize John Crawford and we did not know what happened.
SUSSMAN: And I will say that on the like, you know, whether or not white
folks, the family clearly did like there is a woman there standing there
shopping with her kids, she is not even slightly phased. But because
apparently she can see and notice that he is a human standing in Ohio in a
Wal-Mart holding an item that can be purchased in that Wal-Mart. Right? I
mean, all of this is happening as there is this movement moving forward
that`s open carry movement, and a ton of it going on around Texas, you
know, depending on the state law and the policy of that store. If that had
been a real gun, that might have been perfectly fine.
SUSSMAN: He might have been perfectly within his rights to be walking
down. The only element that we see, we see it in this video, we see it in
the lack of indictment there, is the capability of people being able to
use, being actually afraid of somebody just because they`re black as a
factor of being afraid of them. That is the only difference here. And we
see that with every one of this open carry groups as they move forward, I
actually think that we`re going to come to something of a head moving
ahead. We may have actually hit it right now, but with the open carry
groups that are predominantly white, running around, swaying their gun,
saying, this is my right, this is my second amendment right, and black
people just walking around just trying not to get shot. I mean --
PAGE: Let`s remember that it was black panthers carrying rifles openly in
California when Ronald Reagan was governor that moved the state to ban the
PAGE: Now all of a sudden we`re seeing a reversal of it but only episodes
we`ve seen now is been white men carrying guns.
HARRIS-PERRY: I have to say, there is a lot of police officers doing a lot
of great work all around the country. But both that South Carolina video
we saw in which an officer opens fire where there are tons of civilians and
bystanders, and for goodness sake, gas pumps, and then these officers
walking into a Wal-Mart full of children and shoppers. As far as I can
tell no one is like trying -- if you think there is a shooter in a store, I
don`t know, maybe try to get people out. Like I was, is it seriously
police procedure to walk into a Wal-Mart and start shooting?
PAGE: No. No.
HARRIS-PERRY: It can`t possibly be, right?
PAGE: If you see on the video sound or no sound, that was not proper
police procedure for a S.W.A.T. team or anybody else.
ROBINSON: And the problem is we don`t have accountability in these
situations. It sends us a powerful message that this is OK, that this is
acceptable. That there`s going to be no accountability for these officers
in this moment. I think the powerful thing about video though, whether it
was an Eric Gardner here in New York or video, is that entering new age,
it`s where more and more people have access to videos. How would we be
able to see the live streams for Ferguson? How we translate that into more
political power? How we translate that into accountability will be the
questions for activists, and organizations, and these civil rights
community of the next several years to come.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, it really -- it can just make you feel crazy. It`s like
when there is video and when you`re looking at it. And the people like no,
that`s not what`s happening. It just makes you feel like clearly I have
lost my mind. Thank you to Emily Tisch Sussman and to Rashad Robinson.
Clarence is going to be back a little bit later in the hour.
But up next, the movie that open this year`s Tribeca Film Festival and the
story of the hip hop icon who used words to create vivid images that
exposed the raw truth about the life in his community. I`m going to sit
down with the creators of the new film of the making of one of hip-hop`s
definitive albums. Nas` Illmatic.
HARRIS-PERRY: Twenty years ago, Nasir Jones, a young man from Queens, New
York distilled his observations about life in the Queensbridge Housing
Projects into leistering nine-song album that redefine hip-hop and was
immediately held as a classic. Two decades later, that album Illmatic has
endeared as a milestone in hip hop history. And that young man who created
it, the hip hop -- the rapper that hip hop fans know as Nas is a
multiplatinum selling artist. Who is recognized worldwide as indisputably,
one of the giants of the genre. This year, on the 20th anniversary, I
can`t believe it`s been 20 years of Illmatic`s release a new film, "Time is
Illmatic," goes back in time with Nas to take a look at the conditions that
inspired him, crafted him as he brought this classic work. The film
returns Nas to his roots in the Queensbridge Housing Projects. And it
tells a story behind what made Illmatic so unforgettable. Nas` musical
influences, his poetic virtuosity as an emcee, and his unfiltered insights
into the sociopolitical and equities that defined life in the urban
underclass channeling the rage and the hope of a generation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAS, RAPPER: I gave you what these streets felt like, sounded like, tasted
NAS: -- or tear that down and much worst is to tear down.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One of the best albums of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now are the creators behind "Time is Illmatic,"
writer, producer, Erik Parker and director producer and editor, One9. You
all started this at the tenth anniversary and you finished it at the 20th,
why did it take a decade to make this?
ERIK PARKER, PRODUCER, "NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC": Well, just to go back in
2004, you know, we started shooting this film out of our pocket because we
were passionate about Illmatic. And we knew it had a greater story to
tell. Had it been told about our generation and about the things that
we`ve seen and what touched us. So, when we started we didn`t have a lot
of money, it was just a bunch of friends, me, One9, and a few of our
friends trying to get together just to try to put some story together. So,
it took a while to pick it up, put it down, actually get funding to
actually tell the story, which is a major part of getting it out there to
the people. So, it takes that long to really make this story make sense,
and that ten years we needed to actually reflect to get ahold of this
HARRIS-PERRY: But because it is clear the first decade that it is
lyrically musically, culturally the perfect album, but ten more years, all
of a sudden, all that sociopolitical reality and that circle comes all of
the way back around, what did you learn?
ONE9, DIR. AND PROD., "NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC": When we first did the first
interview with Nas` father Olu Dara, we learned about the history of blues,
the history of jazz, we learn about the cultural significance of what the
Jones family was all about. We learn about the books they read, we learn
about how they dealt with issues in the community, and we`ve been wanted
just make a hip hop documentary, we wanted to make a story that relates to
our culture from the inside and out. This isn`t just a hip hop film, it`s
an American story that relates to, you know, a bigger causes, a bigger
issues and Illmatic is the result of what came out of this.
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to show a photograph. And these are young men and
they are sitting there on a bench in Queensbridge. Tell me about Nas`
reaction to this and who those men are and what their stories are.
PARKER: There was one, in the film there is this one scene that is very
poignant, it really cuts to the point of this story. Nas looks at his
brother, Jungle actually goes through the picture of them on the bench that
was somewhat iconic in our world because it was part of the album packaging
and he talks about the people who are on that bench sitting next to Nas.
And he goes through one after the other.
HARRIS-PERRY: What happened to this men?
PARKER: To this one, to that one, and to each one. Not every last one of
them, but so many of them they have tragic stories associated with them.
There`s little kids in that picture who are grown men today who have tragic
stories associated with them. And when Nas sees that, I mean, he knows
this but when its presented to him in this fashion, you can see the emotion
on him and you can see that he sees himself as a survivor of sorts, and
there is always some sort of a bigger story associated with Nas and
Illmatic that tells this story of these kids on the bench.
HARRIS-PERRY: That moment is so powerful in part because I think about the
privilege that is associated with having the family albums, the childhood
albums, the school albums where you look at that picture from ten years
ago, from 20 years ago. Maybe I`m thinking about this when I graduated
college 20 years ago. And so, we just had our `94 class reunion, and we`re
looking like oh, well, she became a doctor, and like the difference between
what those stories of relative privilege are versus what it means to have
been in this moment.
ONE9: Right. We felt like Nas became a voice for the voiceless in a sense
that the people in the photograph, the people that are missing, the people
that are locked up or dead, he became that voice that reflects that you can
hear it in Illmatic. We looked at issues, we looked at the song titles,
New York State of Mind, we looked at the history of Queensbridge Houses, we
looked at the song like -- we looked at the family being torn apart. The
song "One Love" is an ode to the prison systems and how Nas penned his song
to reflect what is going on in his community. So, in a sense, our film
time is Illmatic, Nas Time is Illmatic, looks at those issues. What drove
them to really write this? And those for us is something that needs to be
told. We need to tell our stories coming from our culture.
HARRIS-PERRY: Time is Illmatic. And time is over for us. But one of the
things that most excites me is that you`re all are developing a curriculum
associated with this, so that it can be part of a deeper, richer
understanding and not only of this moment but all of what it is rooted in
and where it goes, next. Thank you to Erik Parker and to One9. "Time is
Illmatic" will be in select theaters this week, and will be available on
demand, Friday. Get it, you must. Up next, Clarence Page, the "Culture
HARRIS-PERRY: Clarence Page has chronicled three decades of race, politics
and social change. He underscored Rodney King`s question, can we all get
along? He tried to complicate the black white racial ends to which we
understood George Zimmerman`s shooting of Trayvon Martin. He weighed in on
every history-making moment of the election of President Obama. And
analyzed how the overzealous drug sentencing policies of the war on drugs
have devastated black American communities. The Pulitzer Prize winning
syndicated columnist has given readers 30 years of thought provoking
commentary on social, political and cultural conflicts from abroad and on
the home front. On each page of his new book, "Culture Worrier," page
sheds poignant and sometimes biding insight and critique about every major
event, election and gaffe that have shaped our country since the early 80s.
Someone with his accolades and achievements might attempt to claim a kind
of cultural superiority. But Page writes, quote, "In response to all the
cultural warriors," I have known and covered, I am a culture worrier. I
worry about all those who claim more cultural supremacy than they deserve
Back at the table, Clarence Page, and I realize once I started saying it
how hard it is to say. "Culture Worrier." What is a culture worrier?
PAGE: It makes people look twice on the book shelf.
PAGE: No, you know, we hear so much about culture warrior, I told -- I was
talking to my good friend Pat Buchanan. A longtime adversary. You know,
he kept saying, is that culture worrier? And I said, yes, Pat. I`m
worried about the culture you culture warriors.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, exactly. So, you write on page 18, and I brought this
up a little bit with you earlier. You write, "I`m thankful to have come up
in a world of newspapers, before mass media lost their mission to try at
least to offer all things to all people. Reaching for a broad audience.
Conditions you to be broad-minded. In the age of target marketing, I
struggle against narrow confines of narrow casting. Don`t fence me in."
Are you doing a kind of golden age nostalgia there or there was really
sometime when media was more broad-minded?
PAGE: Yes, I`m told that I`m getting into my anecdotage. But, you know,
when we start telling all stories.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. Back then it was so much better.
PAGE: Yes, there`s no question about it. But as you know, I have to say,
fond is my nostalgia maybe, I love this new age. I`m plunging into it. I
tweet, I Facebook. I do all this stuff. But I recognize like any other
media, there`s an upside and a downside. We are a more fragmented society
now that we were back in the days when everybody knew not only Lucy and
Rickey, but the next door neighbors Fred and Ethel common culture. But it
was also a monolithic culture. You didn`t see many people of color.
Rickey Ricardo was about as close as you got, you know?
PAGE: So, no, I like the way we`re going now better, but with caution as
we are learning every day.
HARRIS-PERRY: I was not surprised. But I was sad to hear that Eric Holder
is going to be stepping down. Although, if he has to wait for someone else
to be confirmed, who knows, maybe he won`t. But what do you think will be
the great legacy of Eric Holder?
PAGE: I think it`ll be a mixed legacy because on the one hand, he`s been
bold and courageous in regard to civil rights. He carries a personal and
family as well as public legacy. And has made some great strides on how
people of color, women, same-sex marriage. Other things. On the other
side, there is civil liberties.
PAGE: Such as I`m on the board of the committee to protect journalists. I
was one of the journalists who met with Holder among others after all these
disclosures about the NSA and when they went after A.P. reporters after a
FOX News reporter. This is in many ways, the worst press freedom
administration since Nixon and maybe including Nixon according to some
experts. I thought I would never be saying that about a constitutional
lawyer Barack Obama. But that`s -- that`s where we are.
HARRIS-PERRY: Constitutional lawyer --
No, no, no, I love that. That`s actually, that`s actually very nice, that
civil rights civil liberties. But let me talk to you about President Obama
for a moment, he`s a constitutional law prof. But also a Chicagoan.
PAGE: Oh, yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Are you also surprised that the first black president was
also a Hyde Parker, was a next door neighbor kind of -- or is it not
surprising that of course it would come out of Chicago.
PAGE: Well, as a fellow Chicago transplant, who`s born and raised somebody
else but adopted the city, I could see why he was attracted. Because it`s
the best political town, the best media town in America, as far as I`m
concerned. And in many ways, Barack Obama came in Chicago to learn how to
be black. And those who read his memoirs will understand what I`m talking
about. Which is why he was so attracted to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and
other figures who are viewed as controversial when the story becomes a
national political story. But in Chicago, this is just part of the local
culture. There`s that word culture again.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s so interesting when you say that. I kept feeling like
in `08. The more people understood about Hyde Park, the more that they
would just sort of get, everybody went to, you know, to Reverend Wright`s
PAGE: My wife was born and raised in Hyde Park.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, that`s right. It`s a specific kind of place. Thank
you to Clarence Page, and once again, the book isn`t hard to say but good
to read, "Culture Worrier." That`s our show for today. Thanks to you at
home for watching. Right now, it`s time for preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX
WITT." Hi, Alex.
ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Hello to you Melissa.
Thank you so much. Well everyone, President Obama directly confronting the
issues in Ferguson, Missouri. What he told the Congressional Black Caucus.
Could the new attorney general be a woman? What one person who close to
the President and Eric Holder told me.
And how much do Americans drink? A new study puts that all in perspective.
Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back.
WITT: New and shocking information coming to light today about a shooting
at the White House three years ago. Details on an incident that could have
put the first family in jeopardy.
Another night of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. One officer is shot. And
we hear from the police chief again. What`s he saying about the latest
The latest on new air strikes by the U.S. Did a key terror leader get
killed in the fighting? A live report on the front lines from NBC`s
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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