CNN contributor Harry Houck -- who recently claimed that black people are prone to criminality -- has a long history of extreme race-baiting on the network, frequently blaming victims of police brutality and describing Black Lives Matter as a “thug group.”
During the July 11 edition of CNN’s New Day, Houck -- a retired NYPD detective who works as a “law enforcement analyst” for CNN -- responded to concerns about the over-policing of black communities by suggesting that African-Americans commit crimes at higher rates than whites. When guest Marc Lamont Hill pointed out that Houck was suggesting black people are “prone to criminality,” Houck responded, “Well, they are!”:
CNN frequently hosts Houck in the wake of high profile stories of police brutality and anti-black violence. He is a reliable race-baiter and police apologist, regularly blaming black people for police mistreatment.
He has repeatedly suggested that minorities, and specifically black people, commit more crime than white people, and that the solution to the problem of police brutality is for black people to “stop committing crimes.” He’s denied that African-Americans receive different treatment from whites in the criminal justice system, and claimed that any police officer who acts inappropriately is punished for it.
Houck consistently finds ways to blame black victims of violence, especially at the hands of police officers. According to Houck:
- Sandra Bland was arrested because she was “very arrogant” and “uncooperative.”
- A South Carolina student who was body slammed by a police officer in her classroom “had no respect for the school… probably has no respect at home or on the street.”
- The police officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice acted “properly.”
- Trayvon Martin was killed because he had a “street attitude.”
Houck’s Twitter presence makes his race-baiting on TV look subtle by comparison. He regularly tweets about the threat posed by “black thugs,” refers to Black Lives Matter as a “thug group,” and decries what he calls “black thug privilage” (sic).
He’s called “Black on Black murders the real problem,” tweeted a link to a white supremacist website, and claimed that the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement is to “turn criminals into victims and cops into criminals.”
Houck also peddles bizarre conspiracy theories. In one tweet, Houck claimed that Saul Alinsky has recruited Hillary Clinton to help promote “racism in every aspect of society” -- including releasing violent criminals from prison -- in order to make minorities dependent on Democrats, “the real slave masters.”
In another, Houck claimed that Democrats “want all the refugees” because they want to “put them on welfare” so that they will “vote for liberals.”
Houck’s inflammatory rhetoric isn’t limited to the black community. He’s called anti-Trump protesters “terrorists” and “the biggest danger we now face in this country.” He’s argued for wrapping the “remains of terrorists in pork fat so they go to hell!” And in October, he posted an image from a right-wing website that read “THIS IS AMERICA… WE SPEAK ENGLISH… IF YOU DONT LIKE IT TOUGH SHIT.”
In July, 2015, the group ColorOfChange launched a petition asking CNN to “Drop Harry Houck,” writing:
Harry Houck has a long record of victim blaming young Black people like Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and now this young Black girl at Spring Valley High School, all while blindly supporting their assailants. It is well passed time CNN dropped Harry Houck from their broadcasts and replace Harry Houck with someone capable of discussing the state of racism and prejudiced policing.
Despite his rhetoric, CNN continues to pay Houck as an expert, bringing his race-baiting to a national audience any time a story of over-policing or police brutality makes headlines.
Marlee Pittman contributed research to this post. Image by Sarah Wasko.