Joy Reid said her phrasing of a question that sought to compare how American media uses the word “radicalizing” in reference to Muslims compared to Christian Trump supporters was not “artful” and that she “should’ve been sensitive” to the harmful stereotypes of how Muslims are portrayed in the media.
“If Trump was a Muslim leader, not the leader of the Christian right, how would we in the media describe what he is doing? I asked that question on Monday, and there was a lot of conversation, particularly online, after the segment aired — some of which was, frankly, not in good faith,” Reid said on her Wednesday show. “But some of the conversation reflected the genuine feelings of people who had been subjected to the kind of stereotyping that I just described and who take matters like this to heart because of it. And we should all be sensitive to that, and I certainly should’ve been sensitive to that.”
On Monday, Reid said during a segment, “When leaders, let’s say in the Muslim world, talk a lot of violent talk and encourage their supporters to be willing to commit violence, including on their own bodies, in order to win against whoever they decide is the enemy, we in the U.S. media describe that as they are ‘radicalizing’ those people — particularly when they’re radicalizing young people. That’s how we talk about the way Muslims act. When you see what Donald Trump is doing, is that any different from what we describe as radicalizing people?”
The question led figures like Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as well as groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to call on Reid to apologize for her comment, which they described as hurtful and Islamophobic. President Trump also weighed in and said MSNBC should fire Reid, albeit misquoting the MSNBC host.
CAIR, which initially thanked NBC News for a meeting the council said took place Wednesday and called on Reid to apologize, released a statement after the show saying Reid’s response was “disappointing.”
“‘I was wrong. I apologize.’ @JoyAnnReid’s refusal to say that tonight was telling & disappointing. Although shedding light on Islamophobia with help from @DaliaMogahed was welcome, you must first own your own mistakes. Don’t deflect. Don’t distract. Just do the right thing,” the organization tweeted late Wednesday night.
“To be clear, the vast majority of the more than 1 billion Muslims on the planet, and the millions in this country, are decidedly unradical, everyday people just living their lives,” Reid also said. “It’s the misportrayal that’s the problem, not the people. And we’re all real quick to call out those who seek to radicalize the small number of mostly young men who are vulnerable to being co-opted by violent people. There have been lengthy treatments of this all over cable news for years. But when white Christians are radicalized, we don’t react the same way. When was the last time Donald Trump or anyone in his campaign was asked if they are willing to condemn the Boogaloo Boys by name? Does Bill Barr ever get asked about them?”