NBC Hides Radical Trump-Hating Rant From Ta-Nehisi Coates

On NBC’s Today show Thursday morning, co-host Craig Melvin touted an interview with his “hero” – far-left, Trump-hating author Ta-Nehisi Coates. While Melvin hailed Coates as “an extraordinary and powerful voice,” the network puff piece conveniently ignored the pundit’s most radical and partisan declarations.

“Craig, you have a real interesting conversation to share with journalist, author, and really a hero of yours, Ta-Nehisi Coates,” fellow co-host Hoda Kotb proclaimed during the 8:30 a.m. ET half hour of the Today show. Melvin followed by gushing: “Yeah, you know, his writings on race, Hoda, politics, growing up black in America, have made him one of the leading voices of a generation….Ta-Nehisi Coates is an extraordinary and powerful voice.”

Conveniently missing from the segment was any mention of Coates’s history of race-baiting attacks on Republicans or the fact that he pushed similar smears during his conversation with Melvin.

Only hours later, during his 11:00 a.m. ET hour MSNBC show, did Melvin play an expanded portion of the exchange in which he teed up Coates to trash Trump. “You once wrote an essay in which you called Donald Trump the first white president,” the anchor noted. Coates tried to explain that odd argument:

You know, the point about Trump being the first white president was not that he was the first person to check Caucasian on the census form and be in the White House. The point was that he was the first president whose entire presidency could be focused and was really powered by the hatred of a single individual who was black….Once he got in office, he all but explicitly stated that the entirety of his purpose was to erase Obama’s legacy.

He then went on to stir racial tension: “I’m referring to whiteness as an idea, you know, which is always, always premised on a word I can’t say on national television.” Rather than challenge any of his guest’s assertions – you know, like a journalist would – Melvin instead egged him on:

MELVIN: Why is that, why can’t you say it?

COATES: I probably shouldn’t, I don’t want to get myself in trouble.

MELVIN: I think you can say the word.

COATES: Let’s just say a racialized blackness.

MELVIN: Okay.

COATES: Let’s just say that. It is always premised on a racialized blackness. And that explains a lot about Trump’s rise.

In a comment that was clearly not meant to be a compliment to President Trump, Melvin remarked: “There are some who have suggested that, in the long run, we’ll be better off as a country, as a society, because Donald Trump was in the White House.” Coates vehemently rejected the notion:

Strongly disagree. Strongly, strongly disagree. I think the damage that has been done certainly will outlast my lifetime. Who knows how far it will go? Before Donald Trump, I think people believed that there were certain limits to what could be done and said within American politics. And I think that’s been obliterated. I think people thought there were certain norms for what presidents would and would not do….I think a great deal of damage has been done.

It’s curious that someone like Coates is portrayed as a non-controversial “hero” for Today show viewers but that his true identity of being a incendiary left-wing hack is only revealed within the safety of the MSNBC echo chamber.

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Here is a transcript of Melvin’s exchange with Coates, aired on November 19:

11:45 AM ET

(…)

CRAIG MELVIN: You once wrote an essay in which you called Donald Trump the first white president. If that’s the case, what’s Joe Biden? What does that make him?

TA-NEHISI COATES: Just another president. Just another president. You know, the point about Trump being the first white president was not that he was the first person to check Caucasian on the census form and be in the White House. The point was that he was the first president whose entire presidency could be focused and was really powered by the hatred of a single individual who was black. That’s a very, very different – surely for all, you know, the previous, quote, unquote, “white presidents,” you can point to how, you know, race worked into their ascent. You know what I mean? You can – it’s there, it’s certainly there.

MELVIN: Yeah.

COATES: Donald Trump, though, began his – the entirety – not even his presidential political assent – the entirety of his political assent with birtherism. You know? There really – it wasn’t complicated, there wasn’t much else there. And you know, it is what it is. Once he got in office, he all but explicitly stated that the entirety of his purpose was to erase Obama’s legacy. That’s a specific kind of focus. You know what I mean? That is very, very different. And I would argue was only made possible by the existence of a black president. That’s a different thing. And you know, I’m not referring to his skin color, I’m not referring to the texture of his hair, you know, I’m referring to whiteness as an idea, you know, which is always, always premised on a word I can’t say on national television. But –

MELVIN: Why is that, why can’t you say it?

COATES: I probably shouldn’t, I don’t want to get myself in trouble.

MELVIN: I think you can say the word.

COATES: Let’s just say a racialized blackness.

MELVIN: Okay.

COATES: Let’s just say that. It is always premised on a racialized blackness. And that explains a lot about Trump’s rise. I don’t think he’s president without Obama. Not that Obama did anything, you know, except win the presidency, but I just don’t – I don’t think he happens without that.

MELVIN: There are some who have suggested that, in the long run, we’ll be better off as a country, as a society, because Donald Trump was in the White House.

COATES: Strongly disagree. Strongly, strongly disagree. I think the damage that has been done certainly will outlast my lifetime. Who knows how far it will go? Before Donald Trump, I think people believed that there were certain limits to what could be done and said within American politics. And I think that’s been obliterated. I think people thought there were certain norms for what presidents would and would not do. And I’m not saying everything was great before, you know, that’s not my point. You know, I’m speaking in an area of nuance. And I think people realize that the shackles are off, you know, and that a more competent person could certainly have all the vices that he had and might have gotten away with it. I try to imagine Trump with just a mildly, mildly competent policy on COVID, he might have won. You know, might have won. You know, if he had just made that one concession, you know. So I don’t know. I think a great deal of damage has been done.

MELVIN: What role should writers and thinkers like yourself, what role should they play in a post-Trump world?

COATES: So I’m hesitant to give rules for other writers. I have always thought of my job is as looking out on the complexity, the tangled mess of the world, and trying to divine some sort of order or clarity. I always saw my job as to, you know, illuminate. You know, something happens and we don’t understand why, you know. And I think the highest calling, you know, for journalists and for writers is to explain why, to try to figure out why. And I think I am at my best when I’m actually figuring it out myself, not declaring. Like I don’t understand why either. You know what I mean? So now I’m going to go figure it out. You know, you take a book like Between the World and Me, it’s not like I had it in the back of my head and I sat down and was like oh, here it is, you know. That’s the work of me figuring some things out, you know. So I don’t think that role changes too much for me.

(…)

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