New York City radio show The Breakfast Club took issue with Breitbart News’ coverage of their interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), criticizing Breitbart for reporting on Harris’s apparent claim that she smoked weed while listening to Tupac and Snoop Dogg.
Breakfast Club host Charlamagne tha God awarded Breitbart News, along with Fox News and Meghan McCain, the title of “Donkey of the Day” for similar coverage of Harris’ remarks. These stories focused on an apparent discrepancy in Harris’s autobiography — that “Tupac’s first album — 2Pacalypse Now — was released in 1991, while Snoop Dogg’s first album — Doggystyle — came out in 1993.”
Charlamagne accused these stories of taking Harris’s remarks out of context, claiming that she did not say she smoked weed and listened to rappers Tupac and Snoop Dogg while she was in college — but that she answered one question about smoking weed in college, then answered a separate one about listening to Tupac and Snoop Dogg while she got high.
Co-host DJ Envy added, “she was actually answering me, and people took it that she was answering Charlamagne and said she was lying, which is not true.”
However, a transcript of the exchange is not so clear:
DJ Envy: What does Kamala Harris listen to?
Charlamagne: What were you listening to when you was high?
Harris: Oh my goodness…
Charlemagne: What was on? What song was–
DJ Envy: Was it Snoop?
Harris: Oh yeah, definitely Snoop, uh-huh. Tupac, for sure.
Envy actually asked two questions: one before Charlamagne in the present tense, and one after Charlamagne in the past tense. Since both hosts — immediately before her reply — asked about what she listened to in the past, with one bringing up the context of when she was high, it is more of a stretch to say that Harris was only responding to the first question.
This interpretation of Harris’s answer was not just seen in conservative political publications. Entertainments outlets such as The Fader, The Source, and Hip-Hop Lately came away with the same impression.
However, to allow for the ambiguity in interpretation, Breitbart News has updated its original story.
If Harris was responding to the “when you was high” question, then it means one of two things. It could mean she falsely stated she was listening to Tupac and Snoop Dogg in college, or it could mean she was high after these artists became popular in the early 1990s — that is, once she was working as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office in Alameda County (serving from 1990-1998).
Breitbart News has not received any response from Harris’s office to clarify the remarks since reaching out last Friday.
If Harris was smoking weed listening to those artists, then she may have been smoking weed as a deputy DA — all while developing a tough-on-crime, anti-drug professional resume during her career in law enforcement.
Reason’s Ed Krayewski details Harris’s long history fighting the War on Drugs:
Harris has also been a staunch supporter of the drug war. As San Francisco D.A. she opposed a measure to legalize marijuana, and when she ran for attorney general she argued that legalization would encourage people to work and drive while high. As attorney general, she called for an expansion of the state’s efforts to track prescription drug users. She also opposed cuts to drug enforcement programs that often targeted drug dealers for nonviolent offenses.
The Washington Free Beacon has also called Harris’ marijuana record into question, writing, “Under Harris’s six-year tenure, hundreds were sent to state prisons for marijuana-related offenses, crime records show.”
The Breakfast Club discussion of cannabis came as Harris presented herself as a moderate voice on legalization.
— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) February 11, 2019
“Have you ever smoked?” Charlemagne asked Harris during the interview last week.
“I have… and I inhaled. I did, I did inhale,” Harris said. “It was a long time ago, but yes… I just broke news.”
“Was it in college, or–” Charlemagne said.
“Uh huh,” Harris responded.