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MSNBC's Hayes Goes Soft on Jesse Jackson's 'Known Murderer' Label of Zimmerman

Media Research CenterOn Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes gave the Reverend Jesse Jackson a softball interview in which the civil rights activist accused George Zimmerman of being "a known murderer" and invoked murder victims like Emmett Till and Medgar Evers from the civil rights movement.

Unlike Friday's show, when he corrected a guest who claimed that Zimmerman "murdered Trayvon Martin," Hayes voiced no exception with the Reverend Jackson's assertions. After Jackson brought up other black men who were killed under controversial circumstances in recent decades, Hayes accepted the liberal activist's premise as he followed up:

Reverend, if, when you've just named a number of young black men who have lost their lives to gunshots, some by police officers, some by not. All of which raise tremendous amounts of outrage and frustration and grief.

And my question to you is, if what is playing into these deaths, if what played into the death of Trayvon Martin are hundreds of years of history, of stereotyping, of prejudice and bias, of apprehensions of young black men, of the way that they are portrayed in our society, in the policies that target them, as a practical matter of law enforcement, what is the solution, then? If we can't undo that history, what will prevent the next Trayvon Martin in your mind?

After Jackson alluded to Civil Rights Movement-era murders, and accused Zimmerman of murder, Hayes merely changed the subject to the case of Marissa Alexander, who was convicted in court for firing warning shots at her husband.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, July 16, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Reverend, my first question to you is, do you get a sense, there's a consensus emerging about what the next steps are, what the fights are now that the verdict is in? The first organizing around this case was to get a trial, was to get an arrest and charges for George Zimmerman. Then there was a verdict. What are the next steps now? What are the next demands that organizers are making?

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: The backdrop is the Supreme Court removing federal protections from voter oversight which is a real long-term threat that must be addressed in a most meaningful way. There's the case of Trayvon which really symbolizes these times. There's a Trayvon in every town. There's an Oscar Grant in Oakland, for some movie is made, Fruitvale.

There is the Diallo case got shot 41 times in New York and killed. Chicago, last year, 57 police shootings, 93 percent black or brown.

So there's a sense that this season of undercurrent is crystallized in the Trayvon Martin case. I think you'll see massive protests. They ought to be massive and with dignity and nonviolence and discipline, also into registration, and that preparation to protect us from these rigid states rights laws, the Supreme Court has opened us up to two weeks ago.

HAYES: Reverend, if, when you've just named a number of young black men who have lost their lives to gunshots, some by police officers, some by not. All of which raise tremendous amounts of outrage and frustration and grief.

And my question to you is, if what is playing into these deaths, if what played into the death of Trayvon Martin are hundreds of years of history, of stereotyping, of prejudice and bias, of apprehensions of young black men, of the way that they are portrayed in our society, in the policies that target them, as a practical matter of law enforcement, what is the solution, then? If we can't undo that history, what will prevent the next Trayvon Martin in your mind?

JACKSON: Well, it's slow progress. It is, in fact, Emmett Till who was killed and the juror said they know that the killers were guilty but they didn't see his life worth a white men going to jail for. Then you have another dimension when Medgar Evers was killed in the same basic premise, an all-white jury that frees the known killers.

Now, you have the case here of a known murderer who profiled, racially profiled Trayvon and pursued him over the objections of the dispatchers, didn't want to let another little punk get away, then he murdered him and walked away from the dead body and gave his gun to the police department where he found sanctuary for 44 days. It is amazing the similarities of pattern. But yet again, this undercurrent of retrogression. We see progress in so many areas. We will not let even this break our spirit.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center