Who’s in charge of MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan‘s afternoon talk show? Should be pretty obvious considering it’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show.” But well, it’s Ratigan. Damn it. And if you’re a journalist appearing on his show, you’d better not forget it.
The Washington Examiner’s Associate Editor J.P. Freire received the 411 (on who’s in charge of Ratigan’s show) on Monday afternoon when he appeared opposite WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart. The topic was politics, race and USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who resigned for racially tinged comments she made in the 80s. Capehart, who is black, said he was speaking for himself and not WaPo’s editorial page. He said Sherrod should not have resigned.
Freire criticized Capehart’s column and the NAACP. The NAACP called the Sherrod incident shameful and recently said the Tea Party movement tolerated bigotry. “The mistake they (the NAACP) made was they weren’t condemning the racist elements…they were condemning the racism of the Tea Party movement, overall,” Freire said.
Capehart grew upset. “That’s not true, J.P. That’s not true.” Freire inquired, “Can I get in here?” Capehart snapped, “I’m sorry, J.P., I just could not let you get away with that.”
This is when things got weird…
(Will Freire be invited back? Find out after the jump…)
That’s J.P. Freire on the left.
Freire soon ripped into MSNBC, saying the network had edited footage of a black, gun-toting man at a Tea Party rally. The scene was edited so that only the man’s firearm could be seen, but not his features. Ratigan reasoned, “MSNBC cuts costs and pays people that aren’t very experienced to do that. I know that it would be lovely to think there’s a grand conspiracy.”
“I didn’t think that,” Freire said.
Ratigan began discussing what he believes to be “systematic racism” in this country. The host tried to coax Friere into friendly debate, saying, “I want you to forget you are on MSNBC today. I want you to pretend you are talking to your friends Dylan and John today. Can you do that?”
Freire: “Yeah, absolutely. Yo Dylan and John, I was thinkin’ today…”
Freire and Capehart then got tangled in a series of interruptions.
Soon Ratigan lost patience and became schoolmarmish: “J.P., please be quiet. …You’re not behaving in a way that’s constructive. Who hosts the show J.P.?”
Freire complained that Capeheart had eaten up all his time earlier in the segment and that if the show was to be balanced he should get his share of time.
This is where Ratigan went badass. Ratigan said that he’s the host and can run the show any way he pleases. “I might spend the entire time with Jonathan Capehart and not talk to you at all and you can choose to not come on my show ever again,” he told the journalist.
Freire replied, “Okay, and what I’ll do is I’ll interrupt if I want to say something.”
AFTERMATH: Freire told FishbowlDC: “What I’ve always liked about Ratigan’s show is that he is interested in the debate. But watch the clip: I wasn’t allowed to fully flesh out a single argument. Look, with television, it’s always about competing for time and trying to horn your way in. No harm in that. But to have Ratigan completely blow up at me for doing what Jonathan Capehart and he had done throughout the first half of the show was a surprise. Will he have me on again? I’d like to think so, but his tone yesterday didn’t make it seem likely.”
What Freire wanted to say: “Conservatives don’t typically communicate well in the discussion of race because their very real ideological color-blindness (as evidenced by their comfort with a black man carrying a firearm at a tea party, which MSNBC had edited out, which Ratigan claimed was just a fluke). I know conservatives come off as dismissive. …Racial tension is very real and the Tea Party is still learning to frame issues to address the various people who are now watching them. And in this environment, it’s a steep learning curve.”
WILL FRIERE BE INVITED BACK? FishbowlDC sought comment from “The Dylan Ratigan Show” on whether Freire will be invited back. The word is, not likely. A source from the show who did not wish to be quoted by name remarked, “He probably won’t be. Dylan was furious at him because he very much hijacked the segment.”
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