‘You Have To Be Clearer’: Joy Behar Challenges Sunny Hostin Over ‘Defund The Police’ Narrative


Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Joy Behar challenged “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin on Wednesday’s broadcast, saying the “defund the police” slogan was too vague to be as effective as many hoped.

Hostin disagreed, beginning the segment with criticism for former President Barack Obama over his comments on the topic.


Obama stated that the “defund the police” slogan may have done more to alienate people than to rally them behind a coherent cause. (RELATED: ‘A Bulwark Against You’: Bill Maher Says Democrats Have Made Themselves Toxic To Half The Country)

“I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘defund the police,’ but you know you’ve lost a big audience the minute you say it which makes it a lot less likely that you are actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama said.

Hostin said that, while she didn’t like to criticize Obama, she disagreed with his assessment.

“When you think about defund the police, that’s not a term that was crowdsourced or tested in focus groups. That was a rallying cry of over-policing of black and brown communities. Borne of frustration of seeing black and brown people killed by police officers,” Hostin said, explaining that what she thought was really meant by the term was to reallocate funds in an effort to better educate and prepare police officers and other officials to handle problems differently.

Co-host Sara Haines then weighed in, saying she tended to agree with Obama. Haines added that “defund the police” had been explained differently by different people — some of whom did advocate dismantling police departments in their entirety — and that she had been confused by the disparity.


Behar tied in the Black Lives Matter slogan, saying that she had explained that to a liberal friend who wasn’t sure why it was so bad to say “all lives matter.”

“You had to explain Black Lives Matter. Why change the slogan if you need to, you know, for people because they don’t understand it or because, you know, you need to explain it?” Hostin pushed back. “Again, this — this term is a policy demand. It is a demand for change, and I do not — I always will think it is a mistake to allow opponents to define language and to define narratives.”

“OK. To say — to say Black Lives Matter is true,'” Behar replied. “To say ‘defund the police’ is not completely true. They are not going to defund the police —”

“I think it is true,” Hostin interrupted.

“They are going to re-allocate,” Behar resumed. “It’s different. Black Lives Matter is a true story. It’s a true fact. ‘Defunding the police’ is vague. That’s my argument, and I’m — I think you have to be clearer.”

“I don’t think it’s vague at all. I think ‘defund the police’ means exactly what they’re saying. It means take some of the funds and re-allocate them. Doesn’t — it’s not completely ‘defund the police.’ It’s not abolish the police,” Hostin concluded, saying that it was incumbent upon those who cared about the issue to make sure that they explained the nuances to those who didn’t understand.

“If we were the only ones telling the story, you would be absolutely right,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg said, wrapping up the segment. “Unfortunately that’s not how it works. So someone gets something that says ‘defund the police,’ and the narrative then becomes, they want to get rid of the police departments, and then someone runs with that. It turns into something that it isn’t, and you are stuck explaining and explaining, and lots of people lost because of that.” (RELATED: ‘Stop Sloganeering’: Clyburn Says ‘Defund The Police’ Cost Jamie Harrison In Race To Unseat Lindsey Graham)

Among others, House Majority Whip James Clyburn said after the election that “sloganeering” and the wholesale adoption of catchy phrases like “defund the police” had cost Democrats, especially in more conservative and moderate areas.