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MRC Attacks MSNBC’s Chris Matthews For Asking Black Leader To “Evolve” On Same-Sex Marriage

May 15, 2012 5:18 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Media Research Center (MRC) senior news analyst Scott Whitlock wasn’t thrilled with last night’s episode of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, which included a segment discussing President Obama’s recently announced support for marriage equality. The segment featured the notoriously anti-gay Bishop Harry Jackson, who criticized Obama’s position and compared same-sex marriage to polygamy.

At the end of the interview, Matthews joked with Jackson, saying “Bishop, I hope you evolve. Thank you very much. I’m just teasing.”

Within an hour, Whitlock published a column on MRC’s Newsbusters website attacking Matthews for asking a black leader to “evolve”:

Hardball anchor Chris Matthews, who routinely smears his political opponents as racist, on Monday lectured an African American minister who opposes gay marriage, "I hope you evolve." The host patronizingly added, "I'm just teasing." ... How would he (or MSNBC for that matter) react if a conservative said such a thing to a black leader?


Fellow black minister, Reverend Delman Coates also appeared on the show. After Coates indicated he supported gay marriage, Jackson retorted, "Why not let the Muslims have polygamy and bigamy?"

This prompted Matthews to insultingly suggest: "I hope you evolve...I'm just teasing."

Considering Matthews routinely plays the race card, will he apologize for telling a black man to "evolve?" [emphasis original]

Whitlock’s criticism has been promoted up by a number of conservative commentators, including Michelle Malkin and Dana Loesch. It’s also been touted by anti-gay extremists like American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, and Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber.

Whitlock seems to be oblivious to the fact that political commentators have been using ‘evolve’ rhetoric since late 2010 to describe Obama’s position on same-sex marriage. In fact, it was Obama himself who, in October 2010, told gay activist Joe Sudbay that his attitude toward same-sex marriage was ‘evolving.’ He reiterated his position several months later, telling reporters that his feelings about marriage equality were “constantly evolving.”

In the following months, “evolve already” became a mantra among gay activists who were frustrated by Obama’s unwillingness to fully endorse marriage equality. AMERICAblog even started an “evolve already” T-shirt collection.

‘Evolution’ rhetoric hasn’t been limited to the LGBT community, either. Earlier this year, Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stated that she wanted Obama to “evolve” on same-sex marriage. In the wake of Obama’s announcement, mainstream news outlets including The New York TimesWashington Post, and Associated Press have commented on the president’s ‘evolution.’ Even conservative outlets like and have adopted similar language.

Considering that Matthews and Jackson were specifically discussing Obama’s recent support for same-sex marriage, it’s not surprising that Matthews would tease his anti-gay guest to “evolve” as well. Whitlock’s criticism isn’t evidence of some kind of subtle racism as much it is evidence of MRC’s ongoing habit of finding any excuse to attack pro-equality figures in the media.


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