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PoliticsNation, Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Read the transcript from the Monday show

June 3, 2013

Guests: Paul Henderson, Karen Bass, Lisa Bloom, Matt Zoller Seitz, Alvin Poussaint

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you for
tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP smear campaign against Eric Holder. Republicans
are ramping up a new round of attacks on the attorney general trying to use
all those so-called scandals in Washington to bring him down once and for

Now, they`re accusing the attorney general of lying to Congress and calling
him to resign yet again.


REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: At the very least, Eric Holder misled
congress, he failed in his obligation to do what the attorney general
should do and that`s to be honest with congress. If I were Eric Holder, I
would resign.

criminal charge that has to be proven, but certainly it`s hard to have
confidence in what this attorney general says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the attorney general has definitely logs the
trust of the American people. They have lost the trust. I think it will
take a generation to rebuild trust in the federal government.


SHARPTON: Perjury? Misleading congress, it will take a generation to
rebuild the trust lost by Eric Holder? What are they talking about? This
is the attorney general who stood up for voting rights, who convicted his
starting numbers of hate crime perpetrator, who fought for victims of
mortgage fraud and who protected minority home borrowers from
discrimination by some of the biggest banks in the country.

Eric Holder is a historic figure, the nation`s first African-American
attorney general. But Republicans have cited him for contempt and treated
him with the worst kind of disrespect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You either lied or you were grossly incompetent in your

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are well-known in this town for not reading memos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many more border patrol agents would have had to
die as a part of operation fast and furious for you to take responsibility?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you think he`s smart, Holder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not been impressed with his intelligence, no.


SHARPTON: Liar, incompetent, not intelligent. No attorney general in
history has ever faced this kind of disrespect. It`s shameful and it a
shameful attack on the distinguish public servant and that is the scandal
and it has to stop.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from California who
serves on the judiciary committee, and Joan Walsh from

Thank you, both for being here.


REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA. Sure. Thanks for having us on.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, I mean, what do you think about Republicans
throwing around words like perjury now in regards to the attorney general?

BASS: Well, I think it`s interesting to say that it is going to take a
generation to rebuild the trust because if that is the case, I think it is
the type of abuse that the attorney general has had to put up with, the
attacks on government that we have heard for the last several years from
Republicans, that really do erode the trust.

I just have to tell you that when I sat at the hearing a couple weeks ago
in the Judiciary Committee, you know, I said to attorney general Holder, I
really hope you don`t resign. But I have to say at this point time, every
couple of months that we drag you before Congress, I can certainly
understand if you`re getting tired.

This is simply a diversion to take us away from the real issue which is we
need a conference committee so we can develop the budget. All last year
they said that the Senate hasn`t passed a budget and we couldn`t go
conference. The Senate has passed a budget, the house has passed a budget,
we need to move forward with the business of the American people and
believe me, it`s not focusing on attorney general Holder.


But you know, Joan, whether or not attorney general is getting tired, the
precedent that it would set for them to just bully an attorney general out
of office when there is no evidence at all that would lead to connecting
him to any of these so-called scandals, I think that would take a long time
for the American public to be able to overcome if we could just start
bullying the top law enforcement person in the country out of office when
he is not connected to any of these things.

WALSH: Well, and you know, Marsha Blackburn thinks she speaks for America,
but she does not. A large segment of the president`s base respects really
Eric Holder and their support for him gets stronger every time they hear
the kind of rhetoric that you played at the top of this show, Rev.

I mean, you and I have sat here. I thought you were playing some old tape
from their attacks on Susan Rice. The language is almost identical --
incompetent, not very intelligent, not bright. So, there is a tinge of
disrespect here that gets people`s backs up.

I want to go on the record, I`m concerned about the targeting of the AP,
I`m concerned about naming James Rosen a potential co-conspirator in this
leak of classified data. There are concerns about that element of what the
justice department is up to. But these attacks on Eric Holder, most of
them are substance free and they are always pushing the envelope to a level
of disrespect that`s not about his performance.


You know, Congresswoman, Senator John Cornyn was attacking Eric Holder
during a hearing in June of 2012. Listen to this to give you an idea of
the kind of disrespect that has alarmed some of them.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: You won`t cooperate with legitimate
congressional investigation. And you won`t hold anyone including yourself
accountable. Your department blocks states from implementing attempts to
combat voter fraud. You leave me no alternative but to join those that
call upon you to resign your office.


SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, when he is talking about voter fraud, this
was the attorney general that went after these voter suppression ideas and
voter ID laws that Cornyn and the network (ph) said about. In fact, on my
own radio show, the attorney general talked about voting rights and what it
meant. Listen to this.

BASS: Sure.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know, people Dr. King, others
died, sacrifice sod that everybody would have the right to vote, the 1965
voting rights act is the signature achievement I think of the civil rights
movement. And I`m bound and determined not to let that be unraveled while
I`m attorney general.


SHARPTON: I can`t help but one wonder, Congresswoman, is the fact that he
is opposing them on things that they want to do like unravel civil voting
rights and other things, is this the motive and is this why they are
talking in such personally ugly terms about this attorney general because
clearly he was recues from dealing with the questions that they are asking
in one situation and there is no connection in the other. So why this vile
kind of tone to their language to him?

BASS: Well, I think his last quote was precisely the problem. He is
enforcing voting rights and that`s the problem. They don`t want to do
that. We know they wanted to do everything they could to suppress the
right of people to vote in this last election. It was really despicable.

And so then could come on and say that they are mad because he is allowing
voter fraud. I think he`s enforcing the law of the land. I think he is
doing his job. I think he has got a fine job in spite of all the
harassment. And you will probably remember, Rev., you remember when we
walked out of Congress last year because we were so offended by the idea
that they were going to hold him in contempt of Congress. The first time
in U.S. history something like this has ever happened.

I think it just goes to show that they will really go to no length to
divert us away from what we really need to worry about, which is jobs.
That`s what`s on the American people`s minds, not these investigations.

SHARPTON: Joan, if you let them get away with it, they will go across the
board. Representative Issa called White House press secretary Jay Carney a
paid liar. Look at this.


ISSA: And the administration is still, their paid liar, their
spokesperson, picture behind, he is still making up things about what
happens in calling this local rogue.


SHARPTON: Now, you know, David Plouffe who used to work as an adviser to
the president says strong words for Mr. Grand theft auto and suspected
arsonist insurance swindler and loose ethically today. So, I think that --
then Issa turned out had among other things "New Yorker" magazine said
Issa, among other things, has been indicted for stealing a car, arrested
for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of
burning down a building. These are facts.

So, I think that you have to look at the fact that they can beat up on the
attorney general, they jump on calling a paid liar to the White House press
secretary. There are some reports that people and some in the White House
had better stand up because they are all a candidate for this.

WALSH: Well, that was those reports were disturbing. There is a little
bit of leaking and talking into on about Eric Holder that is a little
unseemly. But, you know, yes, Darrell Issa is obviously a great guy to be
chairing the oversight committee because he is so familiar with
investigations. He has been investigated for multiple counts of car theft
and a couple counts of potential insurance fraud. And he came into this
office determined to do this to this president, to tie this president in
knots and block the democratic agenda.

Over and over, they don`t have an agenda, Reverend Al. So, what they are
doing is trying to tight the president up in scandal and distract and get
the media all involved in the side show.

BASS: Well, we are getting into all of that another night about the
accusations. We are getting a lot of letters about it.

But thank you Congresswoman Bass and Joan Walsh. Thank you for your time

BASS: Thanks for having us on.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the news that Republicans don`t want to hear about is
great for America and bad for the GOP.

Plus, George Zimmerman`s lawyer admits to mischaracterizing material about
Trayvon Martin. This is big news and we are going to talk about it.

And the 1970s comedy "all in the family" broke ground on TV and changed
race relations in America. But you how far have we come? Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I suppose you`ll tell me the black man has had the
same opportunity in this country as you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More. He`s had more. I didn`t have nobody marching
and protecting my job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His uncle got it for him.



SHARPTON: Have you joined the politics nation on facebook yet? We hope
you will. Today every was talking about this Cherrios TV ad featuring an
interracial family. And the backlash it inspired on you tube.

Steve says I`m disgusted by the backlash but not surprised.

Dorothy says, interracial families are part of our nation and it`s time we
realize it.

Robert says, I thought this was a great commercial. Just shows a little
girl who loves her dad.

Coming up later in the show, we are talking about a TV show that had a lot
to say about race relations in America.

But first we want you to weigh in on this cheerios ad yourself. We have
posted it on our facebook page. If you want to check it out, that`s nation. And be sure to like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show end.


SHARPTON: It`s the story the right wingers are trying to hide. Days away
from a major jobs report Friday, and they are signing on the economy. I
wonder why. Guess they don`t want to talk about the jobless rate at hits
its lowest level since 2008 or the fact that consumer confidence is at a
five-year high and numbers the word on home prices even though they have
posted their biggest increase in nearly seven years. The GOP keeps, keeps
talking scandal, scandal, scandal. What about jobs? What about the


business has created nearly seven million new jobs over the past 38 months,
500,000 of those jobs are in manufacturing. We are producing more of our
own energy, we are consuming less energy and we are importing less from
other countries. The housing market is coming back. The stock market has
rebounded. Our deficits are shrinking at the fastest pace in 50 years.


SHARPTON: Yes, we have had good news. But we can`t stop now. Wages are
still at a standstill and we still are waiting for see the full effects of
the GOP`s automatic budget cuts. This is the stuff we need to be talking
about. And it`s a conversation we`re going to make the GOP have whether
they like it or not.

Joining me now is Jared Bernstein.

Jared, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You are welcome, Reverend. Thanks for
inviting me.

SHARPTON: Now, the economy is improving, Jared, but how do we keep it
moving in the right direction?

BERNSTEIN: Well, two things come to mind. First of all, no more self-
inflicted wounds. You mentioned sequestration. Back in March, 25 percent
of Americans said they were negatively affected by that. In May, that was
up to 37 percent. You don`t see it as much in the macroeconomic numbers
yet, but I think you will later in the year as more of the furloughs take
hold. But kids are losing head start slots, seniors are losing meals. You
know, the flying public has been protected from this the more visible
stuff. So that`s number one. No more self-inflicted wounds.

Number two, this is a great time for some investment in infrastructure.
You don`t have to look too far across this nation to see obvious problems
with our roads, our bridges and other parts of our public goods. This is a
great time to pull forward some of that work that were ultimately going to
have to do anyway. Let`s start it now.

SHARPTON: Now, when we see the recovery of 45 percent of wealth, which is
the average U.S. household, that`s a move in the right direction. How do
we keep that going?

BERNSTEIN: Well, a lot of that has to do with recovery in the housing
market. Just to be clear, we have recovered on average about 45 percent of
the trillions of dollars of wealth lost when the housing bubble burst. But
some of that has a lot to do with the stock market, as well. And remember,
something like 30 percent of stock market wealth is held by just the top
one percent the wealthiest households. If you don`t own a house, then
appreciating home prices don`t help you that much. So the thing you said
earlier is really important. It`s great to see the housing market, the
stock market moving upwards. Some of that absolutely does affect average
folks. Maybe you have a 401(k) or pension in the stock market. But we
have to get the paychecks moving up and that`s a labor market issue.

SHARPTON: Now, the president has made it clear that he`s going to focus on
the economy and he`s going to focus on working for the middle class while
they keep focusing on scandals. Let me show you something he said.


OBAMA: I know it can seem frustrating sometimes when it seems like
Washington`s priorities aren`t the same as your priorities. I know it
often seems like folks down there are more concerned with their jobs than
with yours. Others may get distracted by chasing every fleeting issue that
passes by. But the middle class will always be my number one focus.


SHARPTON: You know, you look at the focus he has, you look at how the
stock market has been going. He must be the worst socialist in history.

BERNSTEIN: He is. I mean, I posted a graph this morning that showed since
the expansion, economic expansion began in the second half of 2009,
adjusting for inflation, the stock market is up about 60 percent while
wages and median incomes are flat.

Look, the budget deficit is moving in the right direction. We talked about
the stock market, housing prices, even consumer confidence. Now is the
time to focus on the jobs deficit, OK? We talked about the budget deficit
until were blew in the face.

Enough already. It`s time to focus on the jobs can deficit, you`re not
serving the American people. Now, infrastructure is a great way to do
that. Interest rates are low. Eventually, we will have a transportation
bill that addresses the roads and the bridges and all those deficits out
there, that`s what we ought to be focusing on now and I believe that that`s
what our representatives ought to be working on.

SHARPTON: Jared Bernstein, thank you for your time tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a big admission from George Zimmerman`s lawyer that opens
up all kinds of questions about his defense.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: "All in the family` was a ground breaking television show that
changed the way America talked about race. Tonight, we remember the
actors, Jean Stapleton, Archie Bunker lovingly called her ding bat. And we
will look at how this country has change since "All right, in the Family."



SHARPTON: In exactly one week, lawyers will begin selecting the jury in
the miles per hour trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing
17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and
claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Now, Zimmerman`s attorney Mark O`Mara is admitting to a mistake about what
he hoped might be part of his case. Last week Mr. O`Mara asked the judge
to allow material that some say was designed to paint Trayvon Martin in a
negative light. The hearing was covered live on national television.
Millions of people watched as Mr. O`Mara described a video he says was
found on Trayvon Martin`s cell phone.


MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: Keep your mind open when we
present you the videos of him at these fights, not just as a pure
spectator, but refereeing one and being involved in taping one where two
buddies of him are beating up a homeless guy.


SHARPTON: But it turns out not all of that is true. That video doesn`t
show Trayvon Martin`s two buddies beating up a homeless guy. In fact it`s
a video of two homeless men fighting over a bike. Mr. O`Mara`s office
issued an apology and correction on his Web site yesterday. Quote, "Mr.
O`Mara misstated the nature of the video from Trayvon Martin`s cell phone.
Though it was unintentional, it is a particular concern to us because we
are and have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of
this case, not causing it. For that, Mr. O`Mara apologizes."

The mistake was made live on national television in a court of law. But
the apology was only posted online over the weekend.

Joining me now is veteran prosecutor Paul Henderson and legal analyst Lisa

Thanks for being here.



SHARPTON: Paul, let me start with you. How could this affect the jury
pool in this case?

HENDERSON: Well, once again, it`s disparaging against the victim and
again, I just keep reminding people again and again and again, Trayvon
Martin is not on trial. So all of this character assassination in the form
of this evidence is not good. It`s not helpful. Nor is it going to be
admitted into the trial. And what we don`t want is for this to taint the
jury pool and for the public to hear and see all of this information that
in this case in particular isn`t even true to try and paint the victim in a
negative light. And so that`s the harm that`s being done. That`s the

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the fact, Lisa, that Mr. O`Mara makes the
statement live television, knows that millions are watching and then he
apologizes over the weekend online, I mean, aside from anyone`s view of
that certainly is not comparable to what happens, he apologizes after he
throws it out there. Isn`t the fact that these kinds of things that are
thrown out there potentially leading to some potential jurors getting an
image in their mind that is hard to get out of their minds if they are in
fact selected to be on the jury?

BLOOM: Reverend Al, I`m glad you`re broadcasting the apology on National
TV so that people can hear about it, but I`m really not concerned. You
know, my informal poll of a bunch of people in the news business, exactly
zero had heard about this video. I think most have not heard about it.
Those of us who are in the media, who analyze it every day, we know about
it. By the time trial comes around, I can guarantee you these jurors are
going to analyze the evidence.

I`ve tried and analyzed hundreds of cases in my legal career and not once
has the jury ever come back and said, we reached this decision because of
something we heard about on cable TV two months ago. It`s not the way it
works. Jurors rise to the occasion, they decide the case based on the
evidence and I think that`s what`s going to happen here.

SHARPTON: But Lisa, one of the reasons that I raise it and took note is
that there was a headline in the Orlando Sentinel which is the major
newspaper in that area where the jury will be selected from, saying that he
in fact had a video of Trayvon Martin filming two of his buddies beating up
a homeless man.

BLOOM: Right.

SHARPTON: That was a headline in the paper there where it will most

BLOOM: So here is the good news for the court system and the bad news for
the media. Jurors are more distrustful of the media than they are of
lawyers. Jurors know that the media sometimes gets things wrong. And they
are not going to rely on something they read in the newspaper. You know,
this is going to be a complicated, difficult trial. I think it`s a self-
defense case and it`s true that Trayvon Martin is not on trial, but every
little action that happened during that incident that was witnessed, eye
witnessed and ear witnessed by a number of people is going to be poured
over by this jury. And that`s what`s going to be determinative about this
trial, not whether there is a video on Trayvon Martin`s phone. And if
there was what it depicted.

SHARPTON: Paul, here is something that O`Mara was saying in the days ahead
of evidence hearing. Look at this.


MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: If they go into Trayvon`s past,
Trayvon is peaceful, I might be able to say Trayvon is aggressive.

We have the one eyewitness that says George is on the bottom getting

Trayvon was 17-years-old, it seems that from the text message that involved
himself in some street fighting. If we`re talking about who Trayvon Martin
was that night, if that becomes relevant according to how the state
presented, then the idea that this is a person who is familiar with
fighting, familiar with getting on top of somebody another text, I think
that`s very relevant.


SHARPTON: Paul, you`ve been a prosecutor. Prosecute this. He is on this
campaign clearly to paint a certain picture. Lisa says, it won`t matter to
the juries. But maybe it will.

HENDERSON: It may. And we have to look at what the source is. And so
while the public is absolutely aware that the media is one source of
information, if we peel the onion back, what is the actual source of this
information, the source of this information and it`s misinformation is
coming from the defense team. Right? So these are statements that are
being made in court. And you hear him talking about Trayvon Martin being
aggressive. You hear him talking about Trayvon Martin being associated
with fighting.

And all of that information is not necessarily going to come into the trial
and instead it`s being distributed into the media and into the public
knowledge and so this is where the jury is going to come from. So they`re
seeing this information and they know it`s not just coming from a random
article or a random television program. It`s it actually coming from the
defense team and that`s what`s troubling. And this is exactly why we have
the prosecution asking for a gag order again and again and again.

And this new incident I think is going to give them more credibility in
asking for a gag order because now we have the defense team saying they are
sending out misinformation that I believe they knew or should have known
before they made those statements in court. I really don`t understand how
a defense attorney is introducing evidence that he has not personally
reviewed in a case that`s as important as this that specifically just
speaks to these standard and tired old prejudice and stereotype perspective
that we have associated with the victims. That`s my real concern. That`s
what I think that all matters.

SHARPTON: Lisa, isn`t it interesting, though, that all of this is being
done around the person who was killed yet the accused is protected that his
past acts cannot be brought up because he in fact had been arrested and
dealt with on things they know that can`t be brought up at trial. So
you`re doing all of this when you know that it can`t be done to your client
who is the one accused of a crime. No one has accused Trayvon Martin of a

BLOOM: You put your finger on really the third rail most sensitive issue
in the case. And that is that George Zimmerman like all of us has certain
constitutional rights and they`re not going to bring up his prior bad acts
unless they are directly relevant to something at trial. And so far I`m
not seeing that. And you`re right, Trayvon Martin who is the victim, who
is deceased, who was an unarmed young man, a minor and who is now deceased
and can`t speak for himself, is going to be trashed to some extent at trial
because it`s a self-defense case.

And that`s what happens in a self-defense case. But I think we all need to
steel ourselves for that. That`s the way it`s going to go down. It
doesn`t mean that there is not going to be a conviction in this case. I
mean, that`s what the jury is going to have to decide.

SHARPTON: Well, Lisa Bloom and Paul Henderson, I`m going to have to leave
it there. We are going to have to steel ourselves, but it doesn`t mean
we`d have to be quiet while we`re steeling ourselves. We`re going to
discuss all sides of this all the way through this. Thank you both for
your time tonight.

BLOOM: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: And full disclosure in civil court, George Zimmerman has sued
NBC Universal for defamation and the company has strongly denied his

Ahead, Chris Christie makes my mailbag. And you want to hear why. Plus,
Jean Stapleton`s passing reminds us just how ground breaking "All In The
Family" was. But today, we`re realizing there is a long way to go. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: Should police be allowed to take a DNA sample from people they
arrest even without a warrant and if the person has not been convicted?
Today, a sharply divided Supreme Court said yes, that is allowed under the
constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the five justice majority,
quote, "Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is like
fingerprinting and photographing. A legitimate police booking procedure
that is reasonable under the fourth amendment."

I don`t often agree with Justice Antonin Scalia, but today, I do. Scalia
wrote the dissenting opinion siding with three other justices. Elena
Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Scalia reading today,
"Make no mistake about it because of today`s decision, your DNA can be
taken and entered into a national data base if you are ever arrested
rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason."

He is saying that privacy should be protected. And he is saying that it is
wrong. I don`t often agree with Justice Scalia, but on this one, me and
Scalia are on the same page. That`s pigs flying around the studio.


SHARPTON: There is very few television shows or television actors that
helped change the culture in America. But the actress Jean Stapleton did
just that. She passed away last Friday at age of 90. She was best known
simply as Edith Bunker, Archie`s long suffering wife on that 1970s hit all
in the family. The show premiered in 1971 centering on the bigoted Archie
Bunker. It was the top show in the country for five straight years.

And it broke new ground. The show tackled difficult subjects, including
race relations, war, gun control and gay rights. Some thought the show`s
humor made light of Archie Bunker`s racism. But others felt it exposed the
silliness of his prejudice like in this conversation with his son-in-law,
known to the world as meathead. The language in this clip was language of
that era.


CARROLL O`CONNOR, ACTOR, AUGUST 1924 - JUNE, 2001: Get out there and
hustle for it just like I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. But Archie, you`re forgetting one thing. You
didn`t have to hustle with black skin.

O`CONNOR: No, I didn`t have to hustle with one arm and one leg either.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So you`re admitting the black man is handicapped.

O`CONNOR: Oh, ho, he`s just as good as mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now I suppose you`ll going to tell me that the black
than has had the same opportunity in this country as you?

O`CONNOR: He`s had more. I didn`t have no million people out there
marching and protesting to get me my job.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No, his uncle got it for him.


SHARPTON: Archie frequently sparred with his liberal son-in-law who he
called a hippie.


O`CONNOR: Well, I thought there was somebody at the door.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That`s Michael out there, isn`t it?

O`CONNOR: There`s a beard out there with a nobody under it.


SHARPTON: And "All In The Family" was one of the first sitcoms to feature
real political debate like when Archie argued with his wife`s cousin played
by Bea Arthur about Franklin Roosevelt.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: People adored him. He was a saint. That man had

O`CONNOR: I don`t care if he was sick.


He always had his big mouth open at them fire side chats.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Those fire side chats kept this country informed. And
one my friends from Roosevelt was worth a barrel full of let me make this
perfectly clear.


SHARPTON: And the show also presented what was then the most famous kiss
seen on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want one picture taken with Archie bunker, my friend
and me.

O`CONNOR: You and me?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On three, OK? One, two, three.



SHARPTON: There was of course Sammy Davis, Jr. More than 40 years after
the show debuted, it still inspires strong emotion.

Joining me now is Matt Zoller Seitz, New York magazine TV critic. Thank
you for joining me.

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: You know, Matt, you wrote a piece for Salon on why all in the
family still matters. And I`m quoting you. You say, quote, "The cultural
fault lines and hot button topics all have modern equivalence. Racial,
ethnic and sexual upheaval. Check and unemployment. Double check liberal
conservative rancor. And how terrorism and war. You better believe it,
buddy." How modern is this show?

SEITZ: This show is very modern and in fact, as you were showing those
clips, I was laughing at the show as if it were a modern show. And all of
the references are very particular to the era. They`re talking about
Nixon, they`re talking about the civil rights movement, they`re talking
about Vietnam. But it`s pretty easy to transpose those and especially now
in the era of Obama.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, I showed a clip of Sammy Davis kissing him. Let
me show you another clip of that episode with Sammy Davis.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He`s not a bad guy, Mr. Davis. I mean like he`d never
burn a cross on your lawn.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But if he saw one burning, he`s liable to toast a
marshmallow on it.


Right on.


SHARPTON: I mean, this was the kind of stuff you never saw discussed on
television like before this show.

SEITZ: Absolutely not. In fact, CBS struggled for a long time about
whether or not to air this show. They took a lot at that pilot, it was
like a big piece of lava in the programmer`s hands. They didn`t want to
put it on the air. And when they did, it turned out to be the right show
at the right time. People wanted to see this, they wanted to hear this,
they wanted to talk about this.

SHARPTON: You know what was surprising to me, Matt, when you write about
Archie Bunker`s position on gun control.


SHARPTON: And it eerily is reminiscent of some of what we hear from the
right wing today. Here`s what he said about preventing air jacking.


O`CONNOR: All you got to do is arm all your passengers.


Then you got no more superiority there. Ain`t going to dare to pull out no
-- and then your airlines wouldn`t have to chase the passengers on the
ground no more. They just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the
trip and pick them up again at the end. Case closed.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s incredible, Archie.


SHARPTON: I mean, it was a joke back then and now you hear people talking
about, everybody is in schools, arm people.


SHARPTON: I mean, and it was funny back then.

SEITZ: It was funny, it was funny back then, it was -- I`m sorry, that
clip just kills me. When I see that clip and when I see common sections of
websites arguing about gun control and saying that the solution is to just
arm everybody, that the solution is more guns, I think of Archie. And in
fact not a week goes by that I don`t read something that makes me think of
Archie and Edith and meathead and Gloria and all in the family. The
conversations are still going on. The nouns and adjectives may have
changed, but it`s the same conversation in a lot of ways.

SHARPTON: What about Archie? Tell me what made Archie so endearing to
Americans even though what he was saying was so repulsive.

SEITZ: I think it was because it was very sympathetic to the fact that he
thought he was the king of the castle. He thought he had privilege. But
he only had a very limited amount of privilege, he only have a little bit
more than say, George Jefferson. He only had a little bit more than a lot
of the neighbors in his neighborhood that he looked down upon. And that
was the tragedy of Archie Bunker. That has kept him from being really

If he had just a little bit more self awareness and just a little bit more
power, he would have been insufferable. Nobody could have looked at that
guy and seen themselves, their father, their mother, their grandmother,

SHARPTON: Wow! It`s interesting when you look back 40 years where we are
now and how many of those issues are still alive and unresolved. But Matt,
good to have you on the show tonight. Thank you for your time.

SEITZ: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now, joining me now is Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a professor of
psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He also worked as a script
consultant on the Cosby Show. "All In The Family" was the first show to be
rated number one for five seasons a feat later matched by the Cosby Show.
Dr. Poussaint, you were an early critic of "All In The Family." Why?

reaction even though I could laugh at some of the clips, my reaction was
that it was making humor out of bigotry. And that was going to make a lot
of people feel, particularly white people feel that it was OK, it was
funny, it was part of the culture, it is something they could do.

I have a hunch that many of the people watching that show in fact had their
own set of racial jokes that they told all the time. They still do. And I
think they were putting all the blame on kind of a working class issue, a
working class white man when a lot of the things he was saying was being
said by politicians, white politicians, wealthy white people and so on.

So he in a sense was a scapegoat and the way they covered up was to say,
well, it`s really a satire, it`s a satire, so it`s poking fun and people
look at that and won`t like to be like Archie Bunker. I don`t think that`s
true. We`re still carrying that on now. We still have these racial
issues. They said, well, it`s going to lead to discussion, they`re
bringing things out in the open. I don`t think all of that really

SHARPTON: So really this whole thing of him feeding stereotypes and saying
things that others said would prompt discussion, you felt it was making it
acceptable and even humorous which made some very deep and heavy things
sort of light and sort of like ha-haish but it was a lot deeper than that.

POUSSAINT: Right. Right. Right. And even today people still make the
"n" word jokes and all kinds of things, and not see anything wrong with it.
And argue they`re trying to be politically correct. Well, of course Archie
Bunker was totally not politically correct and everybody loved him because
that`s what they wanted to be able to say out loud and to get away with it
and cover it up with humor.

SHARPTON: How important in the context of that was it for you and Dr. Bill
Cosby to do the Cosby show and then the fact that Archie Bunker was out
there doing this, did this have any impact on you and Dr. Cosby?

POUSSAINT: I don`t think so. We never talked about the Archie Bunker show
when we were putting together Cosby show. What we did talk about was a lot
of the racism on television, a lot of the stereotypes on television and
what people were able to get away with and call it humor at the expense of
other people and other ethnic groups. And we wanted to make a show that
ripped TV as much as possible, those stereotypes about black people and
just make it a good show that was humorous behind Bill Cosby`s amazing
sense of humor.

So we didn`t reflect on that show. It was so different from what we did.
In fact probably the whole run of the Cosby show, you didn`t hear
derogatory term about any person in the world out there. We didn`t use put
down humor. I think that the Archie Bunker show used put down humor which
underlying it all can be very, very hostile, very demeaning to the people
he`s targeting.

SHARPTON: What do you hope the legacy of the Cosby show will be?

POUSSAINT: The legacy of the Cosby show should be that we go on to have
good television that people from all ethnic backgrounds participate in,
including sitcoms, including mainstream television shows where every ethnic
group is represented, whether it`s a doctor show, lawyer show or a sitcom.
That television has to represent America. And I don`t think we totally
have representation yet. More from black people.

But we certainly need more representation of Latinos all over television.
The other issue with the Archie Bunker show was his attitude toward women.


POUSSAINT: Remember Jean Stapleton, Edith, was called a ding bat.


POUSSAINT: She was like the universal submissive silly kind of dumb
housewife. And she won Emmys for that role. And I don`t think it would be
one that she would want women to imitate.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, I`m going to have to leave it there, Dr. Alvin
Poussaint. Thank you for your time. I think we`ll have you and Matt on
one night where we can debate some of this out on television. But thank
you for being here tonight.

SEITZ: Thank you.

POUSSAINT: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Obamacare, vote suppression and my diet from for Chris Christie.
My answer to your questions, that`s next.


SHARPTON: It`s time to answer your e-mails and your questions. Remember,
friend or foe, I want to know.

Scott writes, "Hi Reverend Sharpton. Do you think it`s possible that Chris
Christie could get up on a GOP primary stage and use this take no cuff
attitude to break through the right wing fringe?"

Well, we`ll going to see if in fact he runs if he`s going to have the same
attitude on the stage at primaries if he runs than he has with the citizens
of New Jersey. If he becomes a different person, it will make him look
disingenuous and that could be risky.

Next e-mail. Rich asks, Reverend Al, "Will you be able to be sure to stay
on top of any potential election suppression efforts, photo ID,
eliminations of early voting as well as election reeking efforts?"

Absolutely we`ll going to stay on top of it monitoring this year and in the
midterm elections. It is important no matter who people vote for, no
matter what party that the right to vote is protected, that people know
that they`re not going to be suppressed and we`re committed to stay on top
of it and to keep a light on it. We will intend to do this with all of the
fervor we have and to keep watching as Attorney General Eric Holder as
others enforce the law and protect voting rights. It is the American way.

Sharon writes, "Dear Al, I was watching your show on MSNBC the night you
said you would send your diet to Governor Christie. Would you be kind
enough to send it to me?"

Well, I can tell you every diet doesn`t work for everybody. I stopped
eating any red meat, I don`t even eat chicken. Eat fish twice a week. I
eat salads and fruits and I don`t eat late at night. It makes you
healthier, it makes you energetic. You can even button your vest which
adds to your whole wardrobe. And you can even button your jacket which
adds to your self-esteem.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.



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