Imagine for a moment that there were two men of African-American heritage running for president in the Democratic primary and they were mostly polling in second and third place.
Then imagine that before a scheduled debate, the frontrunner decided to not to participate. In regard to the probability of having high ratings with only the remaining candidates, imagine that a talking head at Fox news made the following statement: “Who’s going to watch a debate between two black guys?”
Surely MSNBC, a stalwart liberal news outlet, would immediately go on a rampage. Outraged representatives of the ACLU would be interviewed. Our local newspaper’s political columnists and its editorial board would write very well-deserved rebukes to such bigoted remarks. The rampage would continue until the talking head was taken off the air.
Now stop imagining and let’s examine the events of last week on MSNBC. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, was commenting on Donald Trump’s boycott of the Republican debate. In regard to how Trump’s absence might affect viewership, he made the following comment referring to Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: “Who’s going to watch a debate between two Cuban guys?”
One would think that mainstream media outlets would surely express their outrage. However, the silence of the media and our local political commentators and editorial boards on this issue is deafening.
I’m grateful that in our country Matthews has the right to express his opinions, and I will continue to defend his right to freely express his bigoted views.
My quarrel isn’t with Matthews. I do, however, take issue with the hypocrisy of the media and how they determine the intensity of their righteous indignation (or lack thereof) to bigotry based on the particular ethnicity or race that is targeted, or by their political affiliation.
Miguel De Grandy, former state legislator, Miami