Conservative radio host Michael Berry said Monday that the black teens who were confronted by police last week at a pool party in McKinney, Texas acted like “jungle animals.”This is hardly the first time Berry has said something like this. A few month ago, when video of a black teenage girl beating another black girl in a Brooklyn McDonald's went viral, Berry said, "We have people living in our country who are savages. Absolutely, positively savages." He also said, "The dirty little secret is, black people don't believe that black lives matter."
Berry [is] host of the “The Michael Berry Show” on KTRH in Houston....
“Let me ask you, how many among you would put on a badge and a police uniform today?” Berry said. “How many of you would put on a badge, police uniform and be the first to respond -- by yourself -- to a crowd of teenagers, amped up -- watch ‘em! Man, they’re screaming! ‘Get outta here! Who are you?! You don’t know what you! You go! You get! Who are you?! You can’t do that! No man, we gon’ get you! You bet -- !’ I mean you’re talking about like jungle animals. I mean this is wild, crazy, out of control.”
And that's standard-issue Berry. In the following radio clip, posted to YouTube in early 2014, he plays excerpts from a black UCLA law student's discussion of racial isolation and says (at approximately 3:26),
Black people, get the F over yourself. Okay? I don't need to feel your supposed self-made struggle. You know what? Everybody's got a struggle.
And the "Obamaphone" song he posted to YouTube in 2012 ... well, there are no words:
Berry has other targets for his anger. During the fight over a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan in 2010, Berry said, “I'll tell you this -- if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up,” adding, “I hope the mosque isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that.”
In 2011, he praised a radio ad by a gun instructor who told potential customers,
If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required under the law. Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Moslem, I will not teach you the class.Berry, who is married with two kids, also had a moment of embarrassment in 2012 when he was caught on surveillance video leaving a gay bar, after which he reportedly "drove his Chevy Tahoe in reverse for 70 feet ... before hitting a parked car, causing $1,500 in damage, and fleeing the scene." (He claimed he just went to the gay bar because it had "cold beer.")
I bring all this up because, in January 2014, Berry's wife, Nandita Berry, was named Texas secretary of state by then-governor Rick Perry. She served in that capacity for a year, until Greg Abbott replaced Perry as governor and appointed a new secretary of state.
Which leads me to ask: Is there anything Michael Berry could have done over the course of his career that would have made him so radioactive that it would have been politically impossible to appoint his wife to a prominent position in the Texas government? Or is there just no limit to what a conservative can say and do in the reddest states, short of donning a sheet and burning a cross?
UPDATE, THURSDAY: Media Matters has much more on Berry.