NAHJ President: “The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable”
May 6, 2014
MSNBC sparked outrage and has been forced to apologize after pulling a so-called “racist” stunt during the Cinco de Mayo episode of Way Too Early, a show few would recognize considering the network’s abysmal ratings.
Following Monday’s show, in which Morning Joe co-anchor Louis Burgdorf danced in front of the camera swigging from a tequila bottle while wearing a sombrero, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a sharp rebuke of what he called the network’s “discriminatory stereotypical portrayal.”
“This is simply the worst example I have seen of a discriminatory stereotypical portrayal of any community by any media. The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable,” NAHJ President Hugo Balta wrote.
“This wasn’t a chance occurrence. This was a planned segment where many decision makers at MSNBC’s Way Too Early program agreed on the content and execution which concluded on what was seen nationwide,” Balta said.
In response to the backlash, Way Too Early posted an apologetic message explaining their offensive skit was referring to “the way some Americans celebrate the holiday,” and was not intended to stereotype Mexicans.
“On Monday, Cinco De Mayo, ‘Way Too Early’ made sarcastic references to the way some Americans celebrate the holiday. It was not our intention to be disrespectful and we sincerely apologize for the ill-advised references,” a message appearing today stated.
As Newsbusters’ Mark Finkelstein points out, had the tacky reference been performed by Fox News or any other conservative outfit, all hell would have broken loose, “But it happened on MSNBC, so the PC police probably won’t make a peep.”
“If this had happened, say, on Fox and Friends, MSNBC might have had to interrupt its Donald Sterling coverage with a Breaking News report on the racist outrage at Fox News, and La Raza would have had a picket line up before the end of the program!” Finkelstein noted.
Given the network’s flagging ratings, which Obama also harped on during the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, perhaps the show’s producers thought they’d be safe pulling the stunt because no one would be watching.