MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan Reacts Furiously to Calls for Firing

Pat Buchanan and his extremist allies are up in arms over liberal media watchdog groups’ recently launched campaign to get him fired from his news analyst position at MSNBC.

Following Buchanan’s Saturday appearance on James Edwards’ racist radio program “Political Cesspool,” to promote his new book, Suicide of a Superpower, Color of Change and Media Matters for America initiated a call for MSNBC to terminate Buchanan’s position. (Full disclosure: Color of Change was co-founded by James Rucker, a member of the board at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes this blog.)

Said Color of Change in a letter that doubled as a petition: “For years, Pat Buchanan has passed off white supremacist ideology as legitimate mainstream political commentary. And MSNBC continues to pay him and give him a platform on national TV to do it. Buchanan has just published a book which says that increasing racial diversity is a threat to this country and will mean the ‘End of White America.’This weekend, to promote his book, he went on a white supremacist radio show whose host has said things like ‘MLK’s dream is our nightmare,’ and ‘interracial sex is white genocide.’ Buchanan has the right to express his views, but he's not entitled to a platform that lets him broadcast bigotry and hate to millions. If MSNBC wants to be seen as a trusted, mainstream source of news and commentary, it needs to fire Buchanan now.”

Media Matters said much the same: “For too long, your network has ignored Buchanan's bigotry. But, enough is enough. MSNBC has the power to send a message — that it will not tolerate bigotry by its employees, on its airwaves or off.”

That letter, which also doubles as a petition, closed by suggesting MSNBC executives review documentation (here and here) detailing Buchanan’s history of bigoted comments, and asking that they “Please … take the necessary steps to ensure that MSNBC stops supporting Buchanan's bigotry.”

Some on the extreme right are incensed by the watchdogs’ campaign.

Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation (one of the Tea Party movement’s most extreme factions) – has leaped to Buchanan’s defense. In a blog post yesterday, Phillips – who claims not to be a Buchanan fan – wrote: “The racist in this story is the group, the Color of Change. … MSNBC does have some conservative voices. Pat Buchanan is one of them. … [T]he left wing racist nuts at the Color of Change want that to end.” And the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist hate group that has called blacks a “retrograde species of humanity,” also expressed strong support for Buchanan and Edwards.

Buchanan obviously takes the watchdog groups’ calls for his termination seriously. In an angry message posted this morning on his Suicide of a Superpower blog, he accused the two groups of “attempting to gag” him. “Using charged racist language, gross misinterpretations, out of context quotes, and sugar-coated anti-Catholic sentiments, Media Matters has written 16 vile posts in the past 12 days in an orchestrated campaign of hate and bigotry,” he wrote.

Yes, you read that right. According to Buchanan (or whoever writes for him at Suicide of a Superpower’s official blog), he is victim. He said as much yesterday during an interview with NPR’s Diane Rehm (listen here), who noted that the Anti-Defamation League has described Political Cesspool as anti-Semitic and white supremacist, and asked if he regretted his Saturday appearance on the show.

Buchanan went on the attack.

“I think there’s an awful lot of smearing being done by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL], frankly, over the years of individuals who simply disagree maybe with U.S. policy towards Israel, and a lot of name calling,” he said. “Am I supposed to vet all the people on these shows and get the list from [ADL National Director] Abe Foxman on what shows I can go on to?”

No, Buchanan doesn’t need Foxman’s help to understand Edwards’ sympathies — after all, he’s appeared on “Political Cesspool” twice before, and has been called on it each time. Edwards also worked for Buchanan’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Moreover, the ADL is hardly the only group to have called out Edwards for bigotry. The radio host’s history of anti-Semitism and white supremacism has been well documented by plenty of organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In fact, it’s amply documented by Edwards himself. Buchanan need only have glanced at “Political Cesspool’s” website to see the young white supremacist’s boast that in a single 30-day span, he had hosted such extreme-right luminaries as:

  • Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic and racist California State University professor who says Jews are genetically impelled to undermine the majority populations of the societies they live in;
  • Mark Weber, head of the Institute for Historical Review, an outfit devoted entirely to Holocaust denial that is also a sponsor of “Political Cesspool.”
  • Ex-Klansman David Duke, a repeat “Cesspool” guest who once fantasized about having Buchanan as his running mate for U.S. president.
  • Virginia Abernethy, a former professor at Vanderbilt Medical School and self-described “white separatist.” Abernethy is on the board of the American Third Position, a hate group whose founder has sought the deportation of every American with an “ascertainable trace of Negro blood.”
  • Jerome Corsi, chief propagandist of “birtherism” and the anti-Kerry “Swift Boat “ campaign.
  • Anti-immigrant essayist Frosty Wooldridge, who says, among other things, that Muslims, blacks, and immigrants destroyed Detroit
  • Peter Brimelow, founder of the white nationalist website VDARE, which is a gathering place for racists, anti-Semites, and nativists to exchange ideas and foment hatred and resentment of non-whites.

Buchanan told Rehm he’d “heard things” about “Political Cesspool,” but defended his appearance by saying he’d done his due diligence by listening to audio clips of the show in advance. Edwards, Buchanan said, “was very interested in the race issue, but … I wouldn’t be on a program if somebody started calling racial or ethnic names. Or I rather might be on it, but I’d say that’s the last time we’re going on that one,” he said.

Edwards, to be sure, does seem to make a point of keeping himself away from the lowest dregs of the extreme right. The "Cesspool" host is a rising star of the white nationalist movement because he's articulate and equally at ease in a television studio, behind a radio microphone, or standing in front of a crowd. Edwards carefully avoids using crudely derogatory language. Though he allies himself with hate group leaders who call black people "niggers," he doesn't drop the N-bomb himself. Instead he speaks in the more or less polished code of a suit-and-tie racist, calling blacks "heathen savages," "subhumans," and "black animals," exclusively in the context of discussing violent black-on-white crime.

None of this makes him any less racist. But Buchanan’s avoidance of crude terms doesn’t negate his extremism either. The veteran culture warrior is no mere “paleoconservative” — he is an open white nationalist who thinks minorities, immigrants, and non-Christians are undermining America. He has defended the conclusions, though not the methods, of Norwegian anti-Muslim terrorist Anders Breivik, and backs up the theses of his most recent book with material from a bevy of racist, anti-Semitic and extreme-right sources. They include H.A. Scott Trask, who has called intermarriage “racial suicide;” VDARE’s Peter Brimelow; Thomas E. Woods, a sometimes-member of the theocratic and neo-Confederate League of the South; and others like them. In his 2002 book, Buchanan cited an op-ed by the late William Pierce, founder and leader of the National Alliance, which until Pierce’s death was the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi organization in America. The National Alliance was explicitly genocidal in its ideology, and Pierce’s novel, The Turner Diaries, was the inspiration for Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City and many other acts of terror.

In an E-mail yesterday, Hatewatch asked MSNBC for comment on Buchanan in light of the calls for his firing. A media relations spokesperson responded this morning, saying via E-mail, “We don’t have a comment at this time.”

Edwards, for his part, is thrilled by all the attention. “On Saturday night, we were rejoined on the air by Pat Buchanan for an interview that has caused the liberal media to go absolutely berserk. If you listen closely you can probably hear their howls, as we are currently under a vicious and hateful attack from the supposed advocates of ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity,’” he crowed yesterday in an E-mail to supporters. “In fact, my cordial conversation with Pat has now become one of the top political news stories in America.”