The video in this article contains foul language which may offend some viewers.
Ronald Gasser was recently arrested in connection with a road rage shooting that killed former NFL player Joe McKnight.
At a press conference, Sheriff Newell Normand intended to use the time to thank the people who helped in the arrest of Gasser and future justice for Joe McKnight.
McKnight, an African American, was killed by a white man, which could have resulted in violent clashes between races. Elected officials urged the public to wait for all the facts and not turn a road rage tragedy into a hate crime.
He gave his condolences that they were now being criticized for that stance.
Then the sheriff decided to inform the public, in full detail, of just how hateful the comments were.
The first comment he read was:
“You punk-a** Uncle Tom c**n, we saw you sell out to them, you rata** f****t punk.”
“You a**s-kissing f****t…”
MSNBC was broadcasting live at the time and quickly cut away before he could read any more of the comments.
Tamron Hall, the anchor at the time, apologized:
“Ladies and gentleman we’re going to pivot. Let me apologize, for some language we weren’t expecting…slurs, racial slurs, and homophobic remarks that we were not prepared and frankly did not expect from the sheriff of a police department.”
Twitter users criticized MSNBC for cutting away so quickly:
— Trump Babe (@DeplorableBabe) December 6, 2016
@MSNBC Who do you think you are dealing with out here?You cut away from Louisiana presser to save us from 'some bad words' by the Sheriff ?
— kenamundsen (@kenamundsen) December 6, 2016
So @MSNBC it is OK for people to verbally attack police and elected leaders but a sheriff can't defend himself?!? Keep up the low ratings
— Kirby Grimes (@kirby_grimes) December 6, 2016
MSNBC’s personal narrative may have been at the helm for why they cut away so quickly, but it’s also possible they were just trying to abide by the rules.
The Federal Communications Commission regulates what you can and cannot do on cable TV. Its website has strict policies on obscene, indecent and profane broadcasts:
Federal law prohibits obscene, indecent and profane content from being broadcast on the radio or TV….Profane content includes “grossly offensive” language that is considered a public nuisance.
Based on the words the sheriff was using, even though they weren’t his own, it cannot be ruled out that MSNBC was just afraid of violating FCC standards.
Despite the racially charged language, Sheriff Normand’s message that we all need to disagree respectfully with each other should not be ignored.