Rick Tyler, a senior strategist for the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future and a former Newt Gingrich aide, accused MSNBC of race baiting on Tuesday and the Democratic Party of failing the black community on economic and social issues.
But when MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and the Rev. Al Sharpton challenged him on his assertion that the Republican Party's Civil War legacy of opposing slavery and supporting emancipation proved Newt Gingrich wasn't racist, the former aide lost his cool, and ended up playing into one of the most racially charged conspiracy theories out there: the Black Genocide theory.
'I hear a lot of race-baiting'
Tyler went after Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton for their criticism of Newt Gingrich, whom they claim used racially inflammatory remarks to win over voters in South Carolina and in Florida. He accused them of being the ones playing on people's worst instincts, not his own candidate.
I hear a lot of race-baiting, and I'm going to defend [Gingrich], Tyler said.
He has said over and over again, he's trying to get all Americans ahead. Latinos, African-Americans, all kinds.
Tyler, who is white, went on to argue that the Republican Party had a proud history of fighting for equal rights during the Civil War, while the Democratic Party had fought for the rights of slaveholders.
'Democrats want to abort their babies'
But when Maddow and Sharpton challenged him on this point, the former Gingrich aide lost his cool.
What about tonight? Maddow countered, pointing out that Gingrich had specifically said America's welfare problem was getting black people off of food stamps, not the poor.
There is a pattern here of, I think, obviously racially coded language that has nothing to do with the parties and the Civil War, Maddow concluded.
Al Sharpton agreed. Newt Gingrich is the one who brought race up! he said. He's brought race in the campaign by name. You cannot then turn around and act like Rachel or I are bringing up race.
I don't get it! Tyler replied, and it was here that his argument escalated.
The Democrats have failed in the public schools with African Americans, he asserted. They abort their babies, they've done nothing to lift them out of poverty.
Just in case viewers missed it, he repeated his claims later: Poor schools, poor neighborhoods, crime-ridden neighborhood, a destruction of the family, and the Democrats want to abort their babies.
The 'Black Genocide' Theory
Viewers may or may not be able to get behind the Gingrich super PAC strategist's argument that his candidate was trying to stop African-Americans from being forced to shut up, collect a check and vote Democrat.
But his assertion that Democrats were looking to abort their babies feeds into something else, a fringe conspiracy known as the Black Genocide theory.
This idea, which hails from the 1970s onward, argues that legalized abortion is a genocidal scheme to wipe out the black community.
Decades ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson -- now pro-choice -- called abortion genocide, and he is still quoted today by groups like the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), which runs www.BlackGenocide.org, and Life Dynamics, a predominantly white group that runs the site KlannedParenthood.com and has produced a two-hour film entitled Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America.
An anti-abortion billboard in Georgia in 2010, according to Mother Jones' Conspiracy Watch, was emblazoned with the words: Black Children Are An Endangered Species.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has been quoted as saying that America is besieged by a racist abortion policy. Is abortion racist? remains a trending question in Google Search, and the first site it brings up, www.abortionracism.com, pictures the outline of a fetus set against a flaming cross.
Behind the Conspiracy
Black women have 30 percent of all abortions in the U.S., a disproportionately high number. But Planned Parenthood has reported that only 6 percent of its clinics are located in areas where the majority of residents are black. According to the Census Bureau, the African American population is expected to double by 2050.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was known for making racially inflammatory remarks. When speaking of racial minorities and the disabled, she once said that the aim of birth control was More children from the fit, less from the unfit.
But many of her contemporaries who helped her start the sexual and reproductive health care centers were African-American, like Urban League leader James H. Hubert and W.E.B. DuBois. By the 1940s, Sanger was working to recruit ministers to assure blacks that birth control would not exterminate the Negro population and to express her disgust with Nazi Germany. Her quotes have since been taken out of context and used to lambast the organization.
Rick Tyler's comments were unlikely to have been intended to inflame the sentiment of Black Genocide conspiracy theorists. But his words give them credence nonetheless.
In an effort to prove that Newt Gingrich is not racist candidate, his supporter Tyler ended up letting slip some rather inflammatory comments himself.
Watch the full MSNBC exchange below: