Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy appeared on Alex Jones' radio show today to do damage control over comments he made about "the Negro" and how he wonders whether blacks were "better off as slaves" than on government assistance.
During the appearance, Bundy denied that he is racist, called on The New York Times to retract their accurate quotes of him discussing "cotton picking," and repeatedly restated his offensive views on slavery. Bundy also defended himself by explaining "there's a black man right in my front yard right now" as part of the militia siding with him against the government.
Alex Jones, who has been one of Bundy's many media allies during his fight against the government, introduced the appearance by telling Bundy, "you're a man of your word and honorable. I believe you're a good man."
Bundy responded by explaining that he wants to tell "the black community" that he has "gained more respect and more love for you in the last few weeks than I ever had." He then reiterated his appalling view that he has been "wondering" whether black people were better off under slavery:
BUNDY: Put it this way, I said I'm wondering, I'm wondering if you're better off. The young women are having abortions, and the young men are being thrown in jail, and your older women are sitting out on the sidewalk with your children and grandchildren and they don't seem to be happy. And what I'm wondering is are you better off in this type of slavery than when you were home with your family unit with your gardens, with your chickens, with your men working and your family life. Are you better off now or were you better off then? I'm a-wondering these things.
Trying to explain away the offensive nature of Bundy's comments, Jones said Bundy had told him on the phone that "they've traded a new form of slavery for an old form of slavery." Jones characterized that assertion as a "libertarian, conservative refrain that I've heard from every libertarian and conservative black leader I've had on this show."
Jones proceeded to ask Bundy what he thinks "of The New York Times trying to take this out of context and spin it." Bundy responded that the Times is "totally wrong" if they think he's a racist, before restating that he's "not saying the one way or the other, but I am wondering -- it seems to me like maybe they were happier, maybe they did have better families,and their family structure was better" under slavery. (For his part, Jones clarified that he was "not endorsing slavery or segregation.")
During the interview Jones prodded Bundy on whether the Times had quoted him accurately. After Bundy claimed he "didn't say nothing about picking cotton" (he did), Jones called his supposed debunking a "bombshell," "unbelievable," and "amazing." (During the interview, Jones appeared to be unaware that video exists of Bundy's remarks.) At Jones' prompting, Bundy declared that the Times "should" retract their report.
In response to a question from Jones about whether he would support a black farmer in a similar situation, Bundy explained to Jones that "there's a black man right in my front yard, right now, in the militia, and he has been protecting my family, he's been coming to my home, eating my -- eating with me and eating with my family, mingling back and forth through my house, day and night and I can't see anything different about him than any of the other boys that's coming in and out of here."
He added, "We love him and respect him the same as we do anyone else. I think he feels as comfortable as anybody else, that's really the way we're supposed to feel about each other."