November 22, 2016

Charles Kaiser was in the midst of quoting Steve Bannon when he was cut off by CNN host Brooke Baldwin, because the quote included use of the N-bomb, which is never okay to say on or off air.

Kaiser said, "If you don’t want to support the ‘alt right’ don’t choose as your White House counselor a man who uses the word n****r, whose wife says he did not want his daughters to go to a school with too many Jews."

He continued, “And don’t choose as an attorney general a man who calls the NAACP an un-American organization and who we learned in the Guardian today went so far as to prosecute--”

At that point, Baldwin stopped him.

"The more I've sat here and listened to the fact that somebody used the N-word on this show -- it is not okay. It is not okay, Charles Kaiser," Baldwin said.

"The claim that Mr. Bannon used the n-word? I've never heard of this. So there's that," she added, before cutting off to a break.

Charles Kaiser is an author and lecturer, who has spoken on topics such as "The Fascist Threat of Donald Trump" and the French Resistance.

In context, it's unclear that he was quoting anything specific. While it's true that Bannon was shown to be a member of a white supremacist Facebook group that routinely posted racist memes, no evidence has surfaced that he actually used the term, at least not publicly.

Baldwin is right. It's never acceptable to use that word anywhere, on or off-air. It was a poor decision, and she was right to cut the segment.

Update: Kaiser told the Washington Post he confused Senator Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, and apologized for that.

“I do apologize for one thing in particular. I mistook Bannon for Sessions. I was mistaking the one for the other,” he said. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the president-elect’s nominee to serve as attorney general; in 1986, he was rejected for a federal judgeship after allegations that he’d used racist terms. The Guardian reported Monday that he’d faced accusations of referring to a black Alabama official in 1981 as a “n—–.” So that’s the alleged epithet that Kaiser was seeking to mention. Sessions denied having used the term in hearings regarding the judgeship.

He added his reasons for using the full word instead of a sanitized version:

Kaiser tells this blog that he probably wouldn’t have used the word if he had a do-over, and yet: “There’s a part of me that feels you can’t fully express the shocking nature of the first appointments of Donald Trump without using the actual words used by these appointees,” he says.

Possibly. Of course, now it's water under the bridge. The right-wing blogs are screaming like stuck piggies over it, twisting what he said into something far worse than what he meant. It was unfortunate and is really a distraction from far more pressing matters.

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