"Meet the Press" marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington by airing its interview with Martin Luther King, Jr., which was originally broadcast three days before his historic "I have a dream" speech.
The re-airing was part of a special two-hour edition of "Meet the Press" on Sunday. In the interview, King defended Bayard Rustin, organizer of the march, against allegations that he was a Communist, and reacted to one panelist's suggestion that civil rights activists were asking for too much too quickly.
"I cannot agree with this at all because there can be no gainsaying of the fact that the Negro has been extremely patient," King responded. "We have waited well-now 345 years for our basic constitutional and God-given rights and we still confront the fact that we are at the bottom of the economic ladder."
Viewers, including MSNBC's Chris Hayes and the Nation's Ari Berman, noted how "hostile" the roundtable was towards King and his fellow guest NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins.Hayes tweeted:
I've watched the entire MLK '63 Meet the Press and it is *amazing* to see how hostile and condescending journos are w /him.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 22, 2013
The special seemed to draw plenty of interest from viewers. CNN's Jessica Yellin said the interview was "fascinating," and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had teased the broadcast earlier, joking that she hoped whoever booked Martin Luther King, Jr. for "Meet the Press" fifty years ago got a "bonus" or "a gold watch."
Even Oprah tweeted:
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) August 25, 2013