NBC’s Meet The Press and its host Chuck Todd are under fire for airing a segment on gun violence that showed only African-Americans in the wake of the racially motivated Mother Emanuel AME church shooting.
During the segment above, Todd spoke about the Charleston massacre – which left nine dead – and then aired a video featuring Black men discussing the crimes that landed them in prison.
The segment portrayed the emotional conflicts inmates face following their actions, but offered little insight into how to fix gun violence, Think Progress notes. Todd was called out on the video by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who was invited to discuss the Charleston shooting on the show.
“It wasn’t a terribly diverse set of people who were talking,” he noted. “Right now, we’re talking about a horrific crime committed by a white man…this is not just an African American problem.”
“And it wasn’t intended to be that way,” Todd, who had just shown a video portraying gun violence as exclusively an African American problem, replied. He then informed his audience that the New York Police Department had loved the video, which should tell you all you need to know.
Todd responded to the backlash by claiming he didn’t want to make the topic a Black and White issue.
“The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday’s massacre,” he said. “However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception – not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke. We decided against delaying the segment because we wanted to show multiple sides of what gun violence does in this country. We thought the issue of gun violence in our culture and society was an important conversation to continue — too important to put off for another week. The consequences of gun violence should not be hidden.”
He also insisted gun violence is part of the Charleston shooting issue, even while activists and protesters point out the tragedy should be focused on race. Gunman Dylann Roof reportedly told authorities he intended to kill Black people to “start a race war.”