“On Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry (MSMBC) show, the eponymous host led a panel of entertainers in a rundown of the “photos of the year,” which somehow included a Romney family picture that “a lot of people had emotions about,” according to MHP….“Everybody loves a baby picture,” Harris-Perry said, “and this was one that really, a lot of people had emotions about this baby picture this year. This is the Romney family. And, of course, there on Governor Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.” As Harris-Perry made the introduction, panelist Pia Glenn sang “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” a tune whose original lyrics read “one of these things doesn’t belong.” “And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” she added. …Comedian Dean Obeidallah chimed in by reducing the baby to a token. “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.”
Then the host, without missing a beat and without sensing any irony, said that the next segment would be devoted to answering the question, “Hey..is that racist?”
The amount of pure, blind, unreasoning hatred that would have to be present to prompt supposed news professionals to think it is appropriate mock a white family for its adoption of an African American infant is difficult to overstate. This is, after all, MSNBC, where Chris Matthews, among others, stays up nights trying to think of ways that conservative statements are coded racism. This is the realm of Melissa Harris-Perry, who defaults instantly to racism as the explanation for every Obama Administration setback, blunder or embarrassment. Yet here are the NBC host and her guests, giggling and mocking while saying that an innocent, black orphan infant adopted into a wealthy white family is a “thing” that “isn’t the same,” as every viewer hwo has heard the Sesame Street ditty a million times here’s “doesn’t belong” in his head. I’m pretty sure Chris would be on that in a flash.
Such animus and bias don’t belong in the mind and soul of national media professionals, if they are incapable of keeping these poisons from distorting their judgment and coarsening their conduct. Hate as a prime motivation accomplishes no good, and only bad; it begets more hate and divisiveness. MSNBC has now built a brand that is driven not by rational policy debate but by hatred so powerful and accepted that the ethics alarms don’t go off when a segment is devoted to ridiculing a family for giving a loving home to an innocent child.
CNN’s African-American host Don Lemon was shocked by the segment. “If someone on Fox [said], ‘one of these things is not like the other,’ to a black baby in a white family, what do you think would happen?” Lemon asked. Ah, but progressives can use racist words and methods, you see, because everyone knows that they are really good inside, and have the best intentions! Lemon, to his credit, was not endorsing that dodge, describing the (rival, which is not irrelevant) network as “a bunch of people on the left who all agree with each other and there’s no diversity of opinion…and saying mean, smug things about people who may disagree with them.”
Lemon didn’t go far enough. They aren’t just mean and smug; they are vicious, hateful, and hypocritical. Most of all, they are unprofessional to the core, which is an indictment of MSNBC. The indictment of MSNBC viewers is that they endorse hate, as long as it is aimed at figures they disagree with politically, even when it focuses on conduct that decent, fair, ethical people should be applauding. BuzzFeed says the segment has “conservatives crying foul.” Really? Only conservatives think it’s wrong to ridicule a loving family that, unlike so many white families in the U.S., sees not an African American child in need of a loving home, but a child?
Good to know.