ABC's Claiborne Presses MLK Niece to 'Understand, At Least, How Some' See Beck Rally as 'Affront' to Civil Rights Movement
On Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC, during an interview with Dr. Alveda King - a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. known for her pro-life activism - substitute host Ron Claiborne challenged her to defend her participation in conservative talker Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in two out of the three questions he posed to her. The ABC host asked if she was "comfortable aligning yourself" with Beck - considered "inflammatory and divisive" by "many people." After failing to get Dr. King to criticize the conservative talker, Claiborne seemed to appeal to her to "understand at least" why some agree with Democratic Congressman John Lewis's assessment of the Beck rally as an "affront" to the Civil Rights Movement. Claiborne's second and third questions:
Many people call Glenn Beck's political views and style inflammatory and divisive. Are you comfortable, are you comfortable aligning yourself with someone who once called President Obama a racist?
Well, Congressman John Lewis, who, of course, stood beside your uncle 47 years ago and marched many times for civil rights, has said that Beck's rally is an affront to what the Civil Rights Movement stood for. When you hear that kind of talk, can you understand, at least, how some people could interpret it that way?
The interview with Dr. King came right after a report filed by correspondent Claire Shipman which, similarly to her report from Friday's GMA, assigned such labels at "right-wing" and "controversial" to Beck, while the Reverend Al Sharpton's own controversial history was not mentioned, nor was his liberal ideology.
Below are complete transcripts of Shipman's report and Claiborne's interview with Dr. King from the Saturday, August 28, Good Morning America on ABC, with critical portions in bold:
RON CLAIBORNE, IN OPENING TEASER: And rally uproar: Glenn Beck holds his controversial rally on the Washington Mall this morning. And there will be counterprotests by those who say he's trying to hijack the legacy of Martin Luther King.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Turning to Washington, D.C., now, Glenn Beck says tens of thousands of people are going to join him at the Lincoln Memorial in just a few hours for his "Restoring Honor" rally. It's already stirring up emotion and controversy on this anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Claire Shipman is in Washington, D.C., with more. Good morning, Claire.
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, Bianna. You know, the crowd here is already enormous, and a lot of the people have been here for hours. Some of them camped out overnight so they could get closer to the heart of Glenn Beck's message today. But, as you mentioned, the debate over who should control, honor, mark this anniversary has been intense. The buses have been pulling out for days, from all over the country. Tea Party activists and Glenn Beck supporters are on their way to Washington, well aware that the day has multiple meanings.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There's a lot of us that have a dream now. And the dream is that government gets off our backs.
SHIPMAN: Forty-seven years ago today, same place, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King delivered the words still buried in our psyche.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I have a dream.
SHIPMAN: But this year is Glenn Beck's rally for America's honor, and it will feature Sarah Palin. And it's meant to support American troops.
CLIP OF AD: It's time to restore America.
GLENN BECK, FNC HOST: I believe in divine providence.
SHIPMAN: The right-wing radio show host insists the timing was an oversight, but he seized on the King legacy as compatible with his message.
BECK: We reclaim the Civil Rights Movement.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Sharpton, keeping it real.
SHIPMAN: The Reverend Al Sharpton, among others, worries that their day and King's legacy has been hijacked.
SHARPTON, TO PODIUM: They're having an anti-government march on a day that King came to appeal to government. You can't have it both ways.
SHIPMAN: He is planning a countermarch today. Beck himself seems intent on making it a day of toned-down rhetoric, suggesting to one reporter that he made a mistake when he made this controversial statement last year:
BECK: This President has a deep-seeded hatred for white people or the white culture.
SHIPMAN: He insists he intends to honor the memory of Dr. King. As one King follower put it, if all sides can channel Dr. King today, it will keep this commemoration at least in the spirit of the original. And so far, it does seem that everybody here this morning wants to honor that legacy, Ron.
RON CLAIBORNE: All right. Thank you very much, Claire Shipman reporting from Washington. And joining me now, from just outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is Dr. Alveda King. She is the, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,'s niece. She'll be speaking at the Glenn Beck rally that is starting later today. Welcome to the show.
DR. ALVEDA KING, NIECE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Well, thank you. Good morning.
CLAIBORNE: Okay, good morning to you. Dr. King, why are you attending this rally, the Glenn Beck rally there in D.C. today?
KING: I am attending this rally to help reclaim America. You know, when Glenn said he's reclaiming the civil rights movement, I don't need to be reclaimed. I am the civil rights movement. And so I'm joining Glenn to talk about faith, hope, charity, honor. Those are things that America needs to reclaim. Our children need to remember how to love each other, how to honor each other, their parents, God and their neighbors. So I agree with Glenn on all those principles. And for me, it's principle over politics. And that's why I'm here. My uncle talked about love. My uncle talked about faith, hope and charity. My uncle talked about honor. And I'm expecting to honor my uncle today. My daddy, Reverend A.D. King, my grandaddy, Martin Luther King, Sr., we're a family of faith, hope and love. And that's why I'm here today.
CLAIBORNE: And Dr. Martin Luther King, as you said, also talked about bringing people together, healing racial divisions. Many people call Glenn Beck's political views and style inflammatory and divisive. Are you comfortable, are you comfortable aligning yourself with someone who once called President Obama a racist?
KING: Well, I've never called President Obama a racist. I love President Obama. I pray for him all the time. God loves President Obama. God loves Glenn. God loves you. And God loves me. And that's the message I'm here for. And for me, it's principle over politics. I talk to Glenn about that all the time. When Glenn says that there's one human race, I agree with him. So we're not here to divide. I'm about unity. And really, that's why I'm here. And I want to honor my uncle today.
CLAIBORNE: Well, Congressman John Lewis, who, of course, stood beside your uncle 47 years ago and marched many times for civil rights, has said that Beck's rally is an affront to what the Civil Rights Movement stood for. When you hear that kind of talk, can you understand, at least, how some people could interpret it that way?
KING: You know, my daddy, A. D. King, was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis. I marched and went to jail. I believe Congressman Lewis remembers that. My home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed. And so, I really remember that history. But right in the middle of that history, I remember my family talking about faith, hope, love. And we've got to honor each other. So I'm calling on the Congressman, Reverend Sharpton, I talked to him about that last night. I'm calling for everybody to remember that my uncle talked about bringing everybody together, not dividing. I tell Glenn that all the time. And we're talking about the one human race that needs to be loved and honored. And we're loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
KING: That's really what Glenn and I talk about.
CLAIBORNE: Thank you very much, Alveda King, for joining us this morning. You'll be at that rally, the Glenn Beck rally, later today. Bianna?
GOLODRYDA: A lot of different voices there.
CLAIBORNE: A lot of controversy.
CLAIBORNE: Dueling rallies taking place there.
GOLODRYGA: In the nation's capital.
-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.