MSNBC apologizes for smearing conservatives as racists

MSNBC took the coward’s way out and deleted the incredibly offensive Twitter message that touched off an online firestorm, but Twitchy preserved it for posterity:




This is the Cheerios Super Bowl ad in question:

It’s the second ad featuring adorable Gracie Colbert, who does indeed have inter-racial parents, although they are portrayed by actors in the commercial.  (Tell me you didn’t melt into a puddle of goo when she skated an extra Cheerio into the family diagram and said “This is me!”  Fortunately, as a hardcore capitalist, I’m under no compulsion to complain about corporations tugging at my heartstrings to sell me breakfast cereal.)

The first ad produced what AdWeek described as “an endless flame war, with references to Nazis, ‘troglodytes,’ and ‘racial genocide,'” prompting General Mills to disable comments on the video.  However, positive comments outnumbered the Nazi-troglodyte stuff by a factor of 10 to 1.  It would not be safe to assume that all of the ugly crap came from white people upset by the black father in the ad.

Leave it to MSNBC to turn this into a vicious and hateful attack on the “rightwing.”  That’s what they do.  It’s almost all they do, aside from Rachel Maddow’s occasional fabrication of Koch Brothers conspiracy theories.  MSNBC is a fever swamp of hatred; it would be portrayed in the rest of the media as a national crisis, a national embarrassment, if it wasn’t left-wing.  It’s a matter of editorial policy – presumably unwritten, because writing it down is unnecessary – for the network to denounce all opposition to Barack Obama as racist in nature.  It’s the network that told its viewers words like “golf,” “Chicago,” and “IRS” are part of a secret code used by bigots.

More to the point, it’s also the network that recently got busted for… making fun of Mitt Romney’s inter-racial family.  I wonder if they’d have been able to restrain themselves from pulling the same number on this Cheerios ad, if General Mills had decided to put Mom or Dad in a “Romney 2012” shirt.

That makes the MSNBC apology, issued after intense criticism that included a great deal of blowback from biracial conservative couples, either dishonest or delusional:



No, this is an accurate reflection of your position, MSNBC.  This is who you are.  It’s what your network has peddled on a fairly constant basis, particularly since the election of Barack Obama.  As noted above, it’s not the first time you’ve had to apologize for going too far with it.  Chris Matthews should spend the rest of his life apologizing for what he’s said.

I wonder how the folks at General Mills feel about their lovely Super Bowl ad being abused by MSNBC in this manner.  I suspect a fair number of conservatives eat Cheerios.

As far as I know, MSNBC has not identified the individual who posted the offensive Tweet or terminated their employment.  Those would be important steps toward making a real change in the network’s despicable position.  Perhaps the people who have been obsessing over the “atmosphere” that led some of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s people to think closing a couple of bridge lanes in an act of political retaliation was okay could hold a frank on-air discussion about the “atmosphere” at MSNBC, which made whoever was running their Twitter account last night think it would be cool to publish a disgusting racist slander under the network’s name.

The MSNBC crew certainly seems to think Gov. Christie should be held more stringently responsible for that atmosphere.  Would the network care to show the strength of its convictions by trotting out the people who led the way in making conservative political views synonymous with racism at their offices, and telling us all how they will be disciplined?  It’s long past time for MSNBC to admit it has a serious problem, and take concrete steps toward addressing it.  Don’t make us send Nick Searcy down there to straighten you out, kids.

Perpetual assumptions of racist intent are themselves an act of bigotry.  Sometimes liberals express this bigotry toward white people in general (with the exception of their own exalted selves, of course.)  Sometimes they use it as a crude partisan weapon.  Some of the people who say all opposition to Obama is racist are old enough to have been veterans of the battle to destroy Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  They’ll instantly stop equating dissent from a black president with racism the instant a Republican black president is elected.  Some of them will look honestly puzzled when accused of hypocrisy on that day, because they’re totalitarians, not hypocrites.  Adherence to the correct political dogma is what matters, not what people actually say and do.

Update: RNC chairman Reince Priebus has issued a memo to all Republicans announcing that he will ban all staffers from appearing on MSNBC, and asks all Republican officials and their surrogates to do the same, until MSNBC president Phil Griffin personally “take responsibility and apologize for the disgusting Tweet” and carry out “internal corrective action,” by which he presumably means identifying the author of the message and taking disciplinary action.

Priebus minces no words:

We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC, but using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC’s standards.  It only coarsens our political discourse.

MSNBC hosts – including Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow just to name a few – have had a troubling streak in the last several weeks of making comments that belittle and demean Americans without furthering any thoughtful dialogue.  Perhaps it’s time for the executives at MSNBC to consider whether their network is upholding a meaningful journalistic mission.

This is more than just a Tweet or an offhand comment.  This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse, and until Phil Griffin personally apologizes and takes corrective action, we cannot be part of this network’s toxic programming.

I am confident that he will want to “lean forward” and prove to the American people that he does not condone this behavior.  I look forward to his apology and corrective action.

Meanwhile, Nick Searcy and I discussed the possibility of sending him to adjust some attitudes down at MSNBC headquarters…





Update: Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit notes that it wasn’t just an offensive Tweet.  The MSNBC article linked by the Tweet, which has undergone a few panicked revisions as this controversy blossomed, began by inventing a phantom “conservative backlash” against the original cereal ad featuring the biracial family.  There was no evidence for this assertion whatsoever; the MSNBC team simply assumed everyone who posted a nasty note on the original YouTube video was conservative, and that together they represented mainstream conservative thought in some way.

Now that they’re under fire, the cowards at MSNBC have stealth-edited their post to remove the “conservative backlash” reference.

Update: MSNBC chief Phil Griffin delivered the apology Priebus demanded, read on the air:

“The Tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable,” said Griffin’s statement.  “We immediately acknowledged it was offensive and wrong, apologized and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC, we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues, and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change. Signed, Phil Griffin.”

I notice he didn’t address the stealth edit of the full post that smeared conservatives – have the authors of that line also been dismissed?  Will it continue to be MSNBC’s policy to alter its news posts without informing readers?  Are we going to get a candid discussion of the editorial atmosphere that led at least one, and probably more than one, MSNBC employee to throw out these casual slanders, or are we going right back to 24-hour coverage of the atmosphere at Chris Christie’s office?