House liberals win their tactical standoff in infrastructure negotiations. Conspiracy theorist and right-wing agitator Alex Jones faces a reckoning. Charlamagne tha God speaks out. The crisis in Haiti is examined, as the United Nations issues a warning.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.
Hi, Ari. Happy Friday.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Happy Friday. Thank you so much, Nicolle.
And we are jumping right into the big story on THE BEAT, House liberals winning their tactical standoff last night. Today, President Biden went to the scene of the pushback, going to Congress to huddle with House Democrats in private.
And one sign of the stakes, this is actually his first meeting with the caucus since taking office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Permission to come aboard.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Well, if I had a whistle, I would whistle you aboard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Speaker Pelosi insisted she would get a floor vote last night. But she didn`t.
Liberals held firm on that vow to block any watered-down package that fails to expand the safety net, many of them touting this as a procedural win. That`s one headline.
The progressive economist Paul Krugman, meanwhile, saying he views the plan as something where liberals gave Biden a tactical victory here, holding the line, and smoking out new information from the conservative holdouts in the Senate.
Pelosi, for her part, projecting cool confidence about the negotiating left to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: After hours of meetings, the two sides still seem trillions of dollars apart. How do you bridge this gap?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We`re not trillions of dollars apart.
QUESTION: Speaker Pelosi, will there be a vote today?
PELOSI: When we have the votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The votes require those liberals in the House.
And one of their most prominent leaders, AOC, is channeling Tom Petty vibes by insisting Democrats won`t back down, saying they won`t compromise by taking any more vague frameworks from the likes of Joe Manchin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Is a framework enough, an agreed-upon framework?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We need to vote. We need to be real. Are we going to deliver universal pre-K to this country or not? Are we going to expand health care to our seniors and include vision and dental or not?
Are we going to invest in housing, so that people back home in NYCHA can actually get hot water in wintertime or not? That`s what we need to know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It is true that this week`s showdown brought new details out of Senator Manchin, while the other holdout in the Senate, Sinema, remains vague, but in touch. She was actually seen on the phone with President Biden right as he headed to that House meeting today.
We have been covering this. And that is basically how the week is ending. Democrats know more than they did Monday. Progressives proved they can hold the line. And the Senate conservatives are engaged.
Now, are the Democrats closer to their goal of passing both Biden packages, infrastructure and the safety net? Still hard to say as the week ends.
But after a pandemic and a Biden stimulus, passing over $3 trillion in new spending was probably not going to be quick or easy. It`s a massive amount of money. It`s hard to imagine a million dollars, let alone a billion. People talk about the three comma club of those rare people with billions.
And that`s a lot of money. And then you try to think about a trillion. Well, a trillion is 1,000 billion. And Biden is talking about over three of those, 3,000 billions. Forget the billionaires. This is big time. This is the four comma club.
To paraphrase the Atlanta poet Nayvadius Wilburn, Biden is trying to mess up some commas. Yes, to mess up some commas, specifically, four of them. And as the rich got richer in the pandemic, Biden`s advocating a money shower for working people, from stimulus checks, to family leave to education.
And as anyone who knows anything about making commas, it`s a grind and it takes time.
Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," and Daniella Gibbs Leger with the Center for American Progress.
Daniella, I quote Future not as an endorsement of everything or anything that he stands for. But he was talking about commas. Four is a lot of commas. Do you think the Democrats are closer to the line or, as I mentioned, it`s hard to tell at this hour?
DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think they`re closer to the line, honestly, because they`re still talking. I think there`s an understanding that they need to get something done and that they need to pass both bills.
So what we`re talking about now really is process and trying to get an actual figure, a number from the Senate to start negotiations and figure out what they need to do to be able to pass both bills.
So, look, it wasn`t a no-vote. It`s a no vote, but I will I will take that over no bills whatsoever. So I view what happened today, especially what Biden said, up there at the House, as progress.
MELBER: Yes, the president was busy today.
David, take a listen to what Biden said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I`m telling you, we`re going to get this done.
BIDEN: It doesn`t matter when. It doesn`t matter whether it`s in six minutes, six days or six weeks. We`re going to get it done.
QUESTION: Why has it been so challenging to unite your party, Mr. President? Why has it been so challenging to unite the party?
Why isn`t the party united? Why isn`t the party united?
BIDEN: ... 50/50. Come on, man. Unite the party; 50/50. I got it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: "Fifty/fifty. I got it."
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there`s no freefalling yet. He`s just trying to run down a dream, to quote Tom Petty even further.
CORN: And I think -- you can do it, I can do it.
MELBER: Well, David, you have to be fair. David, if you quote the Petty, are you going to quote the mess up some commas, as it were, or are you going to leave that to the side?
CORN: Stop dragging my heart around, Ari, OK?
CORN: What`s happening now is that there was an artificial deadline that the few moderates, which is a very small number of House Democrats, had called for. They wanted to have this infrastructure bill, the bipartisan bill, passed yesterday.
Why? There`s still over a year before the next election, or certainly a lot of time before the next campaign begins. But they pressed for this, and the progressives, really, what they`re doing here is they`re rebelling or revolting. They are supporting Biden`s own agenda.
It was Biden a few months ago who said he`d like to see both passed at the same time. And they have the fear that, unless Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema commit to a certain deal at the end of the day, may not be the $1.5 trillion that Manchin is talking about now, but come up with a deal, and that it looks like it`s heading for a vote, that they`re just not going to give the thing that he and Kyrsten Sinema and the few House Democratic moderates already want and that they have already agreed to.
So, right now, they`re the ones who are defending the Biden agenda. But I think, at the end of the day, all Democrats know that if they don`t get these things passed, they are cooked. They are cooked next November.
There is still a lot of time. And there`s a lot of incentive to concentrate the mind of all sides here. So something`s going to get done. Biden said, well, maybe not in six minutes, maybe not in six weeks, but somewhere down the road.
Well, David, you mentioned Manchin. Paul Simon asked who am I to blow against the wind and can you push the river, proverbially, and people were out in the water doing a little kayak protest of his house boat.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our chance. We can`t wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to tax the rich.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It`s going to go broke in 2026. Let us fix...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that`s not true. Tax the rich.
MANCHIN: We`re taxing the rich. I agree. We`re going to make the rich and the famous pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: They call themselves the kayaktivists. And shout-out to water- based activism.
David, you could see that Senator Manchin there chose to engage. He was in a little bit of a back-and-forth. It`s kind of a funny scene. But he did say, well, he is for taxing the rich. Of course, he`s not necessarily for rolling back all the phalanx of Republican tax cuts that have made the tax code this way.
He also said in his statement that anything above $1.5 trillion, which is the sort of self-described moderate Biden agenda, would raise a sort of entitlement mentality. Your thoughts?
CORN: Well, I think the activists are trying to build a bridge over troubled waters.
But if you look at the statement that he made about this leading to an entitlement mentality, I think that`s almost like Mitt Romney`s 47 percent remark. He`s saying that if we give people -- if we give seniors better health benefits with vision, hearing and dental, if we give universal pre- K, if we let young adults go to community college if they can`t afford it now, give them that opportunity, we will develop an entitlement mentality, we will get lazy and expect government handouts?
All these things are about expanding opportunity for people. Actually, it`s about putting people to work and giving them -- making them work harder, right, hitting the books, or making those pre-K kids, stop lazing around the house. We`re going to put you in preschool.
And so it`s part of that right-wing pabulum that government activism makes people lazy and it`s just a handout. And it was really, I think, upsetting at least for me to hear him say that and not have any reporter call him on it, because kit isn`t what is at play here.
MELBER: Well, and 47 percent was something that damaged Mitt Romney, even though, as you say, it was a commonly held a statement on parts of the right. But it actually didn`t work in a national election, where people were very offended by that, especially people who know just how much government time, energy and money goes towards subsidizing corporate welfare, et cetera.
And you know who broke that story?
CORN: Yes, I`m familiar with him.
MELBER: David Corn, for those who remember who breaks which story, which sometimes I feel like only journalists remember, but that was a big scoop. And it obviously had an impact on that campaign. So shout-out to David.
And the 47 percent analogy is interesting there.
Daniella, I`m curious What do you think of that and really where do you think Manchin goes? I mean, is it 1.5 T. and a little bit more, so it`s 1.6, 1.7, and that`s really the likely end of all this or is there more unpredictability ahead?
GIBBS LEGER: Yes, I think there`s more unpredictability ahead.
And let me just say, like, the 47 percent comment from Mitt Romney seems like 100 million years ago right now. I think we focus on a number because that`s what Manchin and others are saying, but, really, what it`s going to boil down to is, what programs are you going to cut or scale back? Or what do you think you can get away with paring back to have -- still have maximum impact?
Because, at the end of the day, this is about people`s lives. And we have to remember that it`s not about this political gamesmanship that`s going on here in Washington, D.C.
GIBBS LEGER: it`s about helping to unrig the system that has been working for the wealthiest Americans for decades.
And it`s not a government handout or anything like that. It is giving the rest of the American people a helping hand to help make the system a little bit more equitable.
I was trying to think of a Tom Petty quote, and the one that came to mind is that they don`t know how we feel, to paraphrase. Look, people in D.C. don`t understand what`s happening on the ground. The American people want Democrats, who they put into office over Donald Trump, over Republicans in the Senate and the House, to get both bills done. And so that`s what needs to happen.
CORN: Well, I think that`s right.
I do think we politicize and gamify what`s going on. And it`s $3.5 trillion. It sounds like a lot. That`s over 10 years, too. So it`s $350 billion a billion a year. And that`s getting kind of close to how much Jeff Bezos has all by himself. So this is something that is affordable, if you roll back -- certainly, if you wanted to roll back the Trump tax cut, it would almost pay for most of this.
So it`s really a decision about what we want to say about our society. Do we want to expand opportunity for kids, for young adults to go to college? Do we want to do something to make it even easier for the elderly -- and I say that as somebody who is getting close to that -- to stay in the work force?
I mean, that`s what -- you give people better health care, you give people parental and medical leave, and there`s actually a boost in productivity in the workplace. So these are all things that aren`t about making life just easier for people, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it`s about making our society more dynamic, and create more opportunity.
And so that`s why -- so Manchin is just looking at the dollar, and he just wants to sort of show that he can fight back against spending. But that`s really not going to help West Virginia, which -- I checked on this today. It`s has the six worst poverty rate in the country.
And so maybe he should be concerned about helping the people there than worrying about how he looks -- whether he looks like an anti-spending crusader.
MELBER: It`s great point.
I mean, two things here. One, you both speak about the actual underlying values and the humanity at stake at a time of great pain, which we have covered and I think is important.
And then, two, David you made a mild irreverent reference to being elderly. It`s fine to be elderly, but we don`t think of you as old. We just think of your Simon and Garfunkel references as old.
CORN: Well, indeed they are old.
And one thing we also need to -- we talk about the social services here a lot, but the climate change aspect is really tremendous. And there may be a Tom Petty song about things getting hot, but we have seen it all along this past year what is happening.
And I don`t hear Manchin really talking about that either. So, these are important things. The country is kind of at an inflection point, I think politically, culturally, demographically, generationally.
And it`s kind of weird that it`s Biden who`s trying to lead us to the next phase, something that I hadn`t expected we`d see a couple years ago. And I would like Manchin to get on the train.
Well, part of wrapping it all together there is the point about climate, about education about what these programs actually fund is, many of them, if they work -- and you always have to keep an open mind about what does or doesn`t work in policy, but if they work, many of them pay it forward for America.
In other words, in the long term, they pay for themselves, because not dealing with a climate crisis will be expensive to deal with it only on emergency basis. And helping people go to school and get educated and build up their communities and their own financial independence is good for them. It`s also good for America.
So you sort of end up back in that domain, which is, I think, really important. As for the funding issues, we have something really special on that coming up.
So I will say thank you to David and Daniella for kicking us off. David comes back for something special later.
But we`re going to get into, as mentioned, why people say -- you may have heard this -- well, America can`t afford something. They can`t afford Medicare funding. They can`t afford pre-K. But then you think, wait a minute, how much did those tax cuts cost and funding the wars? We have a very special guest on that.
Also, new tonight -- we haven`t hit this story all week -- a huge legal defeat for the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. It`s an important loss in court that also could affect open cases.
And by the end of the night, we will be speaking to the one and only Charlamagne tha God, who has his own show coming out with Colbert, after his big interviews with everyone, from all the musicians we love to former President Obama himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You got to do a better job of letting people know, hey, I wanted to do a lot more for people, especially black people, but I couldn`t.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, that`s why I wrote the book. You have seen created in Republican politics this sense that white males are victims, like they`re the ones who are like under attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Obama level conversations, boss moves, the new Colbert show, we will get into all of it with the one and only Charlamagne by the end of the hour.
MELBER: All eyes on Capitol Hill.
Democrats trying to hammer out a deal. Much of the debate has been framed around cost. Joe Manchin, as we were discussing, says that, basically, it boils down to the fact that he doesn`t think the United States can afford to spend what President Biden has proposed on things like Medicare or education.
The stance is, well, similar to many Republican attacks on Democratic priorities. And there`s a term we`re hearing a lot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): They`re not a Democratic Party anymore. They`re a socialist, big government party.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Democrats don`t want to just refill their socialist prescription. They want to double the dose.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): In their freight train to socialism.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Soviet-style infrastructure, what they`re talking about.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): It is truly the gateway to socialism.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): To remake America into a socialist, almost Marxist- type economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So, depending on what you watch, people, some people are hearing a lot about that type of attack.
But this is always a budget conversation about priorities, regardless of the language or the scare tactics. So, a lot of what the Republican Party has done historically is spend -- that is, as a budgetary matter, it costs the government money -- and give money essentially to people who already have it, corporations and the very wealthy.
It`s what I referred to recently as the corporate welfare. And how does that compare to what is called welfare or programs for the middle class and the working poor?
Well, these are not rhetorical questions, because this is the news. So we`re going to show you. The Bush tax cuts cost about $1.5 trillion, then the Trump tax cuts another $1.9 trillion all in, or, since the horrific 9/11 attacks, the United States, which expanded its foreign policy footprint, has spent over $8 trillion dollars, roughly, according to Brown University, on wars abroad.
This is all about what you want to pay for. Now, some of those programs I just mentioned had bipartisan support, certainly the initial Middle Eastern foreign policy. Some of them, like the big tax cuts, were more from the Republican Party.
But Republicans and Democrats like Joe Manchin don`t seem to have a problem with massive spending, trillions upon trillions, depending on what it`s for. And that`s why even if somebody, whoever it may, be wants to sound like a -- quote, unquote -- "fiscal conservative," or, as David Corn and I were just discussing, someone wants to sound like, well, the magic limit is $1.5 trillion, well, you went over that limit on the Trump tax cuts, and a lot of that money just went to corporations.
So we don`t even get into the deeper, honest debate here sometimes.
Now, here`s something you probably didn`t hear about. This was from about a week ago. The Congress that is having this debate that stalled out over the spending, well, it passed a $768 billion bill for the Pentagon and the military.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yeas are 316, the nays are 113. The bill is passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That was just last week. There certainly wasn`t the kind of showdown debates we`re hearing right now, well, not even a lot of attention, but also had enormous cost to taxpayers.
And if you put the number in context, that`s an annual Pentagon budget, just annual, comes out to $7.6 trillion, when you march it out over a decade, which is, as you can see, far more than the $3.5 trillion progressives want for the safety net.
A former Obama adviser discussing this today, saying military spending it`s almost no debate, while less than half of the cost of investing of people and saving the planet is so hard to pass.
Very important to think about if we want to understand what`s happening on Capitol Hill today. And we have special guests to get into it when we`re back in just 60 seconds.
MELBER: We have a special eye on what things cost and what we can afford.
And I want to bring back Daniella Gibbs Leger from CAP and my colleague, friend of THE BEAT, and the host of the new MSNBC show, "AYMAN," Ayman Mohyeldin.
Welcome to both of you.
Ayman, you have covered these issues abroad with what it takes when the U.S. makes these commitments abroad, the cost in every sense of the word, and also, as mentioned, your show -- and I think viewers know -- a keen eye on American politics as well.
With that in mind, I want to go back. It`s a throwback. It`s not Paul Simon, but it is Dwight Eisenhower making this very point, which could sound to some like a liberal point today. He wasn`t a liberal, and he didn`t mean it as a liberal thought. He meant it as a fact. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold, and are not clothed.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: You know, Ari, I`m going to raise you on and quote someone for you.
And it was one of the most poignant quotes I have probably heard. It said: Don`t tell me about what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.
And you know who said that? It was President Joe Biden. He said that about 2008 about the American budget in terms of it revealing what America values. And you raised a very good point. What is it that our budget reflects about our values? And you just talked about the American military and how much it spent, $4 trillion in Afghanistan alone, on a war that the American military says it, strategically, was a failure.
And so when it comes to the health and wealth and the environment of our children and our education and the families in this country, you have to ask whether or not our values and our budget reflects these values. And the short answer to it is, when you look at what the progressives and the Democrats are fighting for, with the exception of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, it doesn`t reflect the values of what elected Democrats into office.
The Democrats that were voted into office did so on a platform of expanding child care, tax credits, helping the working class, helping the poor in this country. And this right now is being stonewalled by two senators, who don`t obviously reflect those values in the broad sense of the word.
And you`re talking about some of the military spending. The values, if you look at the military budget, reflects what appears to be a confrontation with China. You`re talking about a budget of $750 billion.
Even when the Democrats, Representative Mark Pocan, tried to reduce that by 10 percent, it failed in the House by nearly 2-1 margins. So you can`t even get an honest conversation about whether or not the military budget in this country at this point is actually the priority of what this country needs at this moment.
And, Daniella, you alluded to this earlier. Part of the political rhetorical reason is, some of this stuff so popular, even in the center and the center-right, that even conservative Democrats or red state Democrats don`t want to say they`re against it.
I mean, funding, for example, pre-K to help kids get a real fair start, or the college programs we mentioned, I mean, that`s not that easy to be against. And so there`s a real emphasis on finding some other way and say, we can afford it.
And there are some countries that are so poor, that statement is true. This is a country where, as mentioned, the tax cuts and other things show just how many trillions can slosh around. It`s a kind of crazy thing to say, but it`s true.
And take a listen to Seth Meyers, who sort of did a half-joke/half-truth about whether you really want to be against these things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": I could tell you about all the good this bill would do myself, or you could just listen to a FOX News host try to make it sound bad.
MARK LEVIN, FOX NEWS: Free universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, free 12 weeks of family leave.
They want to extend the temporary child care credit with additional taxpayer subsidies for the rest of time.
MEYERS: If you want to know who Republicans are, just look at what horrifies them. They want sustainable housing, these monsters!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIBBS LEGER: Right. I mean, it`s not funny at all.
And I can only imagine what people who live in other parts of the world, where these things aren`t debated, they`re just done, are thinking about this debate right now.
I used to joke around with my parents about -- when we talk about politics around the dinner table, and say, like, look, the American government seems to be able to find the money for whatever they really want to support.
And I think it`s true. So, like, this argument that we`re having, it is a bad faith argument, because there is money to pay for these programs, which, as you point out, is less than half of the defense budget that was just approved. And there are pay-fors for this.
So the argument that we`re that we`re really having here is that there is one party that does not want to give any assistance to seemingly anyone who isn`t an extremely wealthy person or a corporation. There are a couple of Democrats who I can`t get into their mind, so I cannot tell you what truly their objections are to what`s happening here, because they say they support these things.
But the majority of the American people support all of these policies. We know that they will have a huge benefit, as we talked about earlier, not just for the individual family, but on the productivity of this country.
So this argument that we keep having about, is it this amount or that amount, it`s really infuriating, because, again, we`re talking about impacting everyday lives.
MELBER: Ayman, the bigger question that comes to the security side is, why it`s so much easier to get the U.S. under either party to spend so much on foreign policy and wars, so much easier than this kind of spending.
MOHYELDIN: There`s probably two answers to that, one, the amount of lobbying and corporate interests that are involved in the military spending.
Again, to go back to Dwight Eisenhower, the military industrial complex is a huge factor in this. The amount of money that`s spent in the system, put into the system is also, by design, meant to draw votes to those in Congress.
You know that every part of a military tank or airplane or battleship is made in a blue state and a red state. And when you`re getting that kind of money pumped into your districts and to your states, it becomes much harder to say, I don`t want that going to the employees and to the people who are working in those factories making those weapons.
It doesn`t necessarily reflect how those weapons are going to be used, because you can talk about the F-35 fighter jet, which has been a complete waste of money and a boondoggle, according to the Pentagon itself, by the way. That`s $1.5 trillion that have gone down the drain to build this weapon system that is barely even usable at this point.
So you have to wonder whether or not it`s purely because of politics and internal pressures, as opposed to what it`s actually producing on the outcome side of it. And, as I said yesterday, I made this point, unfortunately, the health and wealth of our children does not -- is not as profitable for lobbyists and others and corporate interest in this country as is the military industrial complex.
MOHYELDIN: That`s just a sad fact and reality of the way bills are made in this country.
MELBER: Yes, the way Washington works under its current rules, which is important to understand, as people are asking these questions.
Daniella, thank you. Ayman, thank you.
And a-shout out to "AYMAN," which is Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.
Up ahead, a legal story that we have not hit all week, but big, bad news for Alex Jones in court. It`s about accountability, and it could have implications for a lot of other pending cases, including on the big lie.
MELBER: Some big legal news. And you need to know about this.
We have been covering a lot of stories, as you may have noticed, including the federal news in Washington, D.C. This is a local story with national implications and a reckoning for the conspiracy theorist and right-wing agitator Alex Jones.
This case has been around for a while, but the news here is big and definitive. A judge has ruled against him today in a defamation suit that was brought by Sandy Hook parents whose kids were murdered in that massacre.
He is being hit with damages, losing a key part of the case. And the suit was brought after Jones was peddling lies and, to be clear, things that he knew completely were lies and were malicious.
Just to give you context, he said something false. He alleged that somehow that shooting was not real or a hoax, that there were actors doing it. The court asked him to provide evidence. He couldn`t, because, of course, it was a lie. And the judge says Jones` conduct in the case was the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for his responsibility and the rules.
The conspiracies and the rhetoric have led to many problems in the real world. There is a wide, wide berth for free speech in this country. I have reported on that. And I have reported on how that requires us to live with and deal with speech we disagree with.
But this is not about that. This was about malicious, knowing defamation. And it led to real-world harassment of those grieving families. I`m a journalist, so I generally try to use the evidence and the facts to show you a story.
I will just tell you, what it led those families to go through was sick. And then came the lawsuit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VERONIQUE DE LA ROSA, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK VICTIM: He no longer gets to desecrate my son`s memory. He no longer gets to negate my pain and profit from it.
You and I both know where we were on that night and the pain that came with that event.
NEIL HESLIN, FATHER OF SANDY HOOK VICTIM: With that false news, he doesn`t -- he just doesn`t care who he hurts, the impact that it has on people who already had the worst thing that happened could ever happen in your life, to lose a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The father there saying -- quote -- "Alex Jones doesn`t care who he hurts," the impact on the people who had the worst thing that could ever happen in your life, to lose a child.
So let me make one other point here. This is a choice these parents had to make. And it`s a choice I don`t think anyone would wish on anyone in that grieving situation. But they did say, enough is enough. And this took years. And the court system does.
But they felt that they had to stand up an act and use the rights afforded to them in our system to hold Mr. Jones accountable. And they won, which is a big deal, because they acted. And that action now and this ruling now is a reminder to other people out there who might want to do similar things or already have.
It`s a warning shot, for example, to right-wing news outlets like Newsmax and FOX News for defaming and lying about people or our voting systems or fanning the flames of conspiracies that have led many to lean into violence in the insurrection.
Free speech protects many, many things. It does protect objectionable ideas. It does not protect malicious defamation or acts which directly incite violence.
That`s an update we wanted to give you on an important story.
We have a lot more on THE BEAT tonight.
As mentioned, Charlamagne tha God is here for a special conversation later.
But, first, we go live on the ground to Haiti amid this migrant crisis, an important story here. Stay with me.
MELBER: Thousands of patients migrants are back in Haiti right now after the Biden administration deported them from a makeshift camp at the Southern border.
The U.N. warning against deporting more migrants to the country, saying the situation in Haiti -- in Haiti -- excuse me -- is a humanitarian problem of dire proportions.
Now, MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff has been covering all of this today. He traveled by U.N. aircraft to see the food distribution efforts in an area devastated by the earthquake. And he joins me live from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
What are you seeing here on the ground that could help us understand this crisis?
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ari.
It`s a very complex and very devastating situation the ground here. And I think the reason that we`re here just up front is that the Biden administration has expelled thousands of migrants back here to Haiti. It`s a place that has extreme political instability following the assassination of the president. It`s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
There`s incredible amounts of food insecurity. So, today, we traveled to Les Cayes by airplane, as you mentioned, with the United Nations, and went to a remote region in -- on the southern peninsula of this country.
And what we saw is just absolutely incredible poverty. And that`s the context in which the Biden administration is expelling people back here. It`s why the Biden administration had a delegation the ground here in Port- au-Prince over the course of the last couple of days.
But when you talk to people, this level of poverty is only alleviated by aid from organizations like the United Nations, who we were with today. And the big question becomes, what of all the migrants that are sent back here? What happens with them?
We saw them all under the bridge in Del Rio, Texas. And once they come back here, it`s a country that many of them haven`t been in for years, some as long as a decade. And this is the situation that they face on the ground. And that is what the Biden administration basically has to answer for with this immigration policy that they put forward.
MELBER: And you`re also reporting on the strain on the hospitals.
Let`s take a look at some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In some area, there are violence. So medical staff do not have access to the health facilities. So that`s why they have to close.
SOBOROFF: For people who have never experienced life in Haiti, what you`re saying is, things are so violent in certain areas of Haiti that doctors, nurses, other health care providers cannot actually get to the hospitals to help patients.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: How does that figure into the humanitarian challenge that you`re seeing?
SOBOROFF: Well, this is one of the most violent big cities in the world, Ari. And that is the chief of mission for MSF, Medecins Sans Frontieres. And what she told me is that their operations had to cease in a part of this country because of, essentially, urban warfare, gang warfare on the streets of Haiti.
And so Doctors Without Borders is operating here at that clinic that we went to, that hospital. What we saw is basically a trauma center, like you would see in the United States. But what they have there are multiple gunshot victims a day, stabbings, people who are getting into car crashes, not because they`re fender benders, but because they`re literally fleeing gang violence.
And, again, that`s just the reality on the ground. I`m not making any assumptions or judgments about the Biden administration immigration policy. But what I can tell you, in watching folks who have been deported and expelled back to this country by the Biden administration, with professes to want to create a fair, safe, equitable, humane system, those Haitians are coming back -- and many Democrats have said this -- coming back to one of the most dangerous, food-insecure and poor countries on the planet.
And the big question is, what is going to happen to these migrants? And what they tell me, many of them that I have talked to both today in Les Cayes and over the course of last couple days at the airport once they get deported here, is that they very well may try again, and the Biden administration may have to be ready for another influx of folks coming from Haiti back to the United States.
MELBER: Right. Right.
It shows what people are up against and why emergency migration, attempted migration is such a tough decision for people, but what they face when they`re turned back can be all that much tougher. And you`re showing some of that, shining a light on it.
Thank you for your reporting and stay safe, Jacob Soboroff.
Up ahead, we have something very special to end the week, part of it serious, part of it fun, and the meaning of justice. Charlamagne tha God and David Corn next.
MELBER: It`s Friday on THE BEAT, so you know it is time to fall back.
And we have two icons tonight, the legendary radio personality Charlamagne tha God, co-host of "The Breakfast Club" with D.J. Envy and Angela Yee. They are now Radio Hall of Famers. They have interviewed everyone from the biggest music stars to presidents like Obama and Joe Biden.
He`s been dubbed hip-hop`s Howard Stern by "Rolling Stone." He`s also a TV host, founder of the Black Effect podcast network, bestselling author. And now Charlamagne is taking his talents to late night. He has a new comedy show on Comedy Central produced by Stephen Colbert, "Tha God`s Honest Truth."
Well, how do you top that? With a legend in his own right, David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones," a bestselling author on his own, three "New York Times" bestsellers, and the winner of the George Polk Award in 2012.
Welcome to both of you.
Charlamagne, you got to know, David was talking music at the top of the hour. He was talking his Simon and Garfunkel, doing his thing.
But it`s great to see you again. Congratulations on your success, as mentioned. And what is on your "Fallback" list, Charlamagne?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: First of all, Ari, thank you.
David Corn, thank you as well.
To be honest with you, man, I`m the one that needs to fall back. I`m tired, man. Me and my wife, we welcomed our fourth child. We welcomed our fourth child into the world on Monday.
MELBER: Mazel tov.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes.
And when you at the house, and that water breaks, it`s not a drill. So, since Monday, I felt like I have just been up here. And it`s just, like, today, I just crashed. Everybody`s home. Everybody`s safe. And I`m just like, oh, I can`t wait to sleep.
MELBER: Yes. I hear that. That`s wild.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes.
CORN: You (AUDIO GAP) sleeping about 18 years? Is that what you`re saying?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Huh? Oh.
CORN: About 18 years?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes. And this is my fourth. I got four girls. I got blessed with another blessing in the form of a black woman.
So, I got four beautiful girls. This is my fourth one. I`m four for four when it comes to women, I produce queens.
MELBER: Well, Charlamagne, there`s a big difference between four for four and "4:44." But we won`t even do that right now, a Great Jay-Z album.
I`m going to give Charlamagne dealer`s choice. You can either move to your "Fallback" list, or you could tell us what being a father, what fatherhood has taught you, whatever you want to do.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Oh, man.
I mean, fatherhood, especially being a father of four girls, like, I think it gives you a different level of empathy. You know what I mean? And I think about how I grew up as a child. I had my grandmother and my mother. Like, they instilled that empathy in me.
I love my father to death. But I think he came from a different era. So it was more about discipline more than anything. And I think just me going to therapy the past few years, along with that empathy, it gave me not just empathy for my children, but just for others.
Like, it gave me a sense of empathy for my father as well, because I`m like, you know what, he was just doing the best he could with what he had at the time. That`s the good answer.
The other answer came from my 6-year-old this week. My 6-year-old said to me -- it was the day after my fourth daughter was born.
She said: "So, what is it?"
I was like: "It`s a girl."
It`s my 6-year-old. She goes: "Poor you. Poor you."
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: So, yes, poor me.
MELBER: David, what do you think about this dad talk?
CORN: Well, I would say I`m half as blessed as you, Charlamagne, because I went to for two with daughters.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Wow. Wow.
CORN: And I`m on the other end of this journey that you are, because my youngest daughter just went off to school, to college for her sophomore year...
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Wow.
CORN: ... after COVID, being around us probably more than she wanted to.
And she called me today. And she was very excited, because her favorite professor had asked her to T.A. one of his classes in the winter.
So, I`m here. The birds have flown. I got a mess behind me. I get to sleep when I can, unlike you. But I learned a lot along the way with having my bevy of women in the house.
MELBER: Well, it`s funny. Yes.
CORN: ... keep going after two or three. You`re a brave man, very brave man. And enjoy.
MELBER: And we don`t always get to get into this in the news, Charlamagne, but the point you make about what you learn from your daughters, right, or how that`s affected you and empathy, I mean, I think that`s beautiful to share. You mentioned therapy. Shout-out to therapy.
And now you are making me think of Jay-Z to close the week, because did he not say, times was harder. I had to armor. I had a daughter, I had to get softer.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Absolutely, 100 percent.
And that`s crazy you even mentioned before "4:44" album, because the "4:44" album is actually one of my favorite Jay-Z album, because it provided the soundtrack for my life now, fatherhood, marriage, entrepreneurship, doing the work on yourself, not leading with ego, like, having to kill that ego.
You might need a little bit of ego, because, sometimes, you got to remind these fools, but not to lead with ego, because ego is the enemy, as my man Ryan Holiday says.
Fifteen seconds, David, final for the week.
CORN: Well, I still tear up every time I watch "To Kill a Mockingbird." Anything about a daddy and a daughter gets me. And I think it always will.
So I`m glad to share this week with you and your latest blessing. Thanks from me and from the audience, Charlamagne, for bringing this to the end of this long, long week.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: No, thank you David.
It is very important to note that, since David is an empty nester, he probably doesn`t have any pants on right now.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I mean, which is the beauty of being an empty nester, right? And I cannot wait to feel that.
MELBER: Or sweatpants. Something.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Something.
I can`t wait to feel that in 20 years, yes.
MELBER: There you go.
We didn`t know this was a conversation -- we didn`t know this was the conversation we`re going to have, but here we are, because we listen to our guests on "Fallback." I love it.
Congratulations to you and your wife and your family, Charlamagne, David.
Again, the new show, "Tha God`s Honest Truth," Fridays 10:00 p.m. Comedy central.
I got to get it to Joy. Thanks for watching THE BEAT.
Joy Reid is on now.