MSNBC Posts Disastrous Tweet About Aretha Franklin Attendees, Blatantly Removes Farrakhan from Image


Singing star Aretha Franklin was laid to rest last week in an affair befitting a queen. And that’s how it should have been — she was the Queen of Soul, after all, not to mention a national treasure whose music will likely be as resonant a century from now as it is today.

That said, the funeral produced some news of its own, none of it befitting Franklin’s legacy. There was Bill Clinton demonstrating what they mean when they talk about the “male gaze,” and a pastor touching pop singer Ariana Grande in what many viewers thought was an inappropriate manner.

While that generated plenty of tweets and retweets, one thing didn’t — at least not at first. And yet, it might have been the most egregious thing that happened at the funeral — at least, as far as the media was involved.

Much like other media outlets, MSNBC live-tweeted Franklin’s funeral pretty extensively. One of the network’s tweets captured MSNBC personality/teleprompter-slaughterer Al Sharpton, civil rights icon Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton together:

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A dignified shot of the three men. There was a slight problem in the editing, however. Well, probably not as far as MSNBC was concerned, but there was something out of frame Twitter users may have wanted to know about:

That guy on the far left, of course, is Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who was given a relatively conspicuous seat at the funeral. Franklin’s relationship with Farrakhan was one of the less-savory aspects of her personality, and it had lasted decades.

“In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support,” Farrakhan said in a statement after her death, according to Deadline.

Do you think MSNBC's decision to crop Farrakhan out of the photo was deceptive?

“She asked me if Rev Jesse Jackson had been there to show support. I said, not yet. She said, he’ll be here within 48 hours. Rev Jackson came and stood with the Muslims.”

Well, okay, Farrakhan is a controversial figure. But as self-professed follower of Farrakhan Chuck D of Public Enemy once advised us, don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man. So, all right — let’s do just that.

Farrakhan on Jews (The Weekly Standard): “Don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!”

Farrakhan on Jews and certain German leaders (The New York Times): “The Jews don’t like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that’s a good name. Hitler was a very great man.”

Farrakhan on Jews again (Jewish Virtual Library): “I believe that for the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States, they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government …Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control … “

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Farrakhan on white people (The U.K. Guardian): “White people are potential humans — they haven’t evolved yet.”

Farrakhan on America (Yellowhammer News): “America is in trouble, and I say God is about to wipe this nation from the face of the Earth. I’m not crazy, I’m not drunk, how long do you think a nation can do evil and not face the wrath of God?”

Farrakhan on Hollywood (and oh yeah, Jews) (The U.K. Guardian): “I don’t own Hollywood. Who depicted black people? Who writes the books? Who writes the plays, the songs that make us look less than human? Do you mean to tell me that Jews have never done any evil to black people?”

I think I can now tell Mr. D that I do understand the man, yes. However, according to the rap legend, I’m still apparently just one of those conspiracy folks having a field day by, um, accurately stating the facts:

Well, whatever. I don’t think that Franklin’s mistaken association with Farrakhan should take away from an otherwise amazing life.

But let’s not kid ourselves: It was a mistake. An association with a hate figure isn’t a good look on anyone, no matter what they’ve done for music or civil rights. The fact that these three men, including a former president, were willing to stand in close proximity to Farrakhan also won’t win them any awards for solid judgment.

And as for the media (ABC also cropped out Farrakhan, as Twitchy noted), editing Farrakhan out of the picture does no favors to Franklin or to the truth. If anything, it prolongs our discussion of a critical lapse in judgment — not Franklin’s, but the media’s. And from the standpoint of the mainstream media’s already diminished credibility, the decision is nothing short of disastrous.

If this is what they’re cropping out of just one picture, what else is being cropped out of the narrative?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture