The Democratic Party cheerleaders over at MSNBC just can’t get enough of Republican slip-ups. Whenever any Republican experiences a lapse in judgment and utters an offensive comment, you can bet the left-wing Lean Forward network will be all over the case. They will use that one person’s comment as an indictment of the whole GOP, regardless of whether the comment was made by a U.S. congressman or a county party chairman from Illinois, and regardless of how admirably and swiftly party officials move to remedy the situation.
Enter Jim Allen, GOP chairman of Montgomery County, Illinois. Allen wrote a despicable email attacking Erika Harold, a biracial former Miss America who is running for the Republican nomination for Illinois’ 13th congressional district. The email was horribly racist, tinged with sexism, and deserved to be condemned. And that’s exactly what Republicans did.
Harold’s opponent for the nomination, incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis, disavowed Allen’s comments and called on him to resign. National party chairman Reince Priebus also spoke out, deeming Allen’s remarks “astonishingly offensive” and calling on him to resign immediately. Soon afterward, Allen did resign. Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican party, accepted his resignation, saying that “These types of offensive and inappropriate remarks have no place in our Republican Party.”
It was a swift and appropriate response by more responsible Republican leaders to one rogue idiot. But that’s not what MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts saw. Yesterday, Roberts posted this snide remark on his Facebook wall: “Remember that Republican Party re-branding effort designed to reach more women and minority voters? Yeah, about that...” He then linked to an msnbc.com article about Allen’s comments.
MSNBC.com digital producer Emma Margolin, the author of the article, led with this triumphant declaration: “Another setback to the GOP’s stated mission of reaching out to women and minorities.” That was the angle of the story, despite the fact that Margolin subsequently reported on the condemnations of Dorgan, Priebus, and Davis.
These comments may have come from one obscure party official in Illinois, and other Republicans may have condemned him immediately afterwards, but MSNBC couldn’t resist the temptation to link his remarks to the entire GOP. During Roberts’ usual 11:00 a.m. time slot on Friday, fill-in host Craig Melvin began his discussion of the incident with this question: “[W]hat does this tell us about the GOP's outreach effort?”
Here’s another question: what does it tell us about MSNBC when they remained mostly silent last month after outgoing South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian publicly expressed his desire to see Governor Nikki Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from?” That was a similarly racist remark from the other side of the aisle, yet only Chris Jansing and the Morning Joe crew mentioned it in the days after it happened. Nobody at the network used Harpootlian’s comment to slam the entire Democratic party. And Harpootlian was no mere county chairman; he was the head of the statewide Democratic party.
Also, in October 2011, Harpootlian insisted that Republicans were interested in committing "electoral genocide" on African-Americans, a highly incendiary and irresponsible charge. Thomas Roberts noted the comment on his show but did not object to it.
The double standard is a byproduct of MSNBC’s ideology. Allen was a Republican, so Roberts used his comments to attack the entire GOP as a racist and sexist party that can’t seem to change its ways. That is the narrative MSNBC wants to advance.