An MSNBC contributor has been sidelined from the network’s Democratic primary coverage after espousing relentlessly anti-Bernie Sanders opinions, culminating in a characterization of Sanders supporters as “racist, liberal whites,” according to The Daily Beast.
Jason Johnson is a politics and journalism professor at Morgan State University and the politics editor for The Root, in addition to being a regular guest on several MSNBC programs. The Daily Beast calculated that Johnson has appeared on the network 40 times in 2020.
Last week, during an interview on “The Karen Hunter Show” on SiriusXM, Johnson was heavily critical of the racial dynamics surrounding the Sanders campaign.
“I do find it fascinating that racist, liberal whites seem to love them some Bernie Sanders,” Johnson said. “And always have a problem with any person of color who doesn’t want to follow with the orthodoxy of their lord and savior Bernie Sanders. He cares nothing for intersectionality. I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit black girls you throw out there to defend you.”
Briahna Joy Gray, the national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, who is black, responded to Johnson on Twitter, saying “I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism.”
Although MSNBC has not commented publicly on Johnson’s situation, he was not involved in the network’s coverage of the Nevada caucuses (which Sanders won convincingly) on Feb. 22 or analysis of the South Carolina Democratic primary debate. That absence was conspicuous after Johnson was basically on MSNBC all day for the Nevada debate on Feb. 19:
In fact, during last week’s Nevada debate, Johnson was a fixture on the network’s panels, beginning the day with an appearance on Morning Joe and staying on through MSNBC’s post-debate analysis, which didn’t wrap until after midnight.
His most recent MSNBC appearance came during the Feb. 21 broadcast of The Last Word, which aired hours before his fateful radio interview that resulted in his benching.
Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, has criticized MSNBC’s coverage of the Vermont senator, saying that even Fox News has been more fair to Sanders.
“You can feel the disdain they have for Bernie Sanders’s supporters,” Shakir told Vanity Fair.