Laura Ingraham Rips NYT Columnist for Calling Dallas Tea Party a Minstrel Show

April 19th, 2010 3:05 PM

Laura Ingraham on Monday took New York Times columnist Charles Blow to task for calling last Thursday's Dallas Tea Party a minstrel show.

In his column published Saturday, Blow said of the tax day gathering he witnessed in the Lone Star State:

Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness and for those engaged in the subterfuge of intolerance. I was not amused. 

With this in mind, Ingraham invited Blow on her radio program Monday to explain how he came to this conclusion.

The conservative talk radio host quickly got the Times columnist to admit that he hadn't seen any overt acts of racism at the Party, but he refused to explain what made it a minstrel show (audio available here, interview starts at 3:30, partial transcript and commentary follows, file photo):

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: So, what was the worst display of overt racism that you witnessed?

CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: I didn't say I had witnessed any overt...

INGRAHAM: You called it a minstrel show, Charles. Those are kind of loaded terms, don't you think?

BLOW: Did I say that I had witnessed any overt racism at...

INGRAHAM: What's a minstrel, what's a minstrel show?

BLOW: What is racism to you, Laura?

INGRAHAM: No, the other way around where racism is someone...

BLOW: What is racism to you, Laura?

INGRAHAM: You know what I think is racism? I think racism is someone who judges another person based on the color of his or her skin without knowing anything about the individual, without talking to the individual, without interviewing the individual, without having a conversation with the individual.

From here, Blow for some reason moved on to Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's interview with GQ magazine. Ingraham was having none of it:

INGRAHAM: Why are we on GQ magazine? Why aren't we on the Tea Party. I'm interested in how you came to the conclusion that this was a minstrel show and you're avoiding the topic by going to a Michael Steele interview. Why?

BLOW: Because you're trying to pretend that racism does not exist, and...

INGRAHAM: Did I say that? When did I say that?

BLOW: Did I say that I saw any racism, overt racism at the conference? That's not what I, did I write that? Did you read that somewhere? Or are you making that up?

INGRAHAM: "Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness..." Now, I like the sentence because it's well-written, but what I don't understand is what is an acceptable minstrel show then, a non-racist minstrel show?

BLOW: That is, that is a ridiculous question? What does that even mean?

INGRAHAM: Actually it's a, actually it's a good question, and it points out the absurdity of your column, because you would have written this column regardless of what you saw.

BLOW: You're really a, are you serious? Is that a real question?

INGRAHAM: So, in other words you can't answer the question.

BLOW: Is that a real question?

INGRAHAM: You said you're not describing this as overtly racist. I quoted your column back to you, and your response is to say, "Is that really a question?" I don't, we had you on because I actually was interested to hear why you came away from this column, this event, as calling it a minstrel show. And you can't answer that question which I find disturbing for a New York Times columnist.

As do I.

After all, Blow's column was entitled, "A Mighty Pale Tea." The entire piece gave hints of racist activity or intent transpiring at the Tea Party he attended in Dallas, and concluded with him calling it a minstrel show.

Yet, Blow admitted to Ingraham that he didn't see any overt racism at the event, and refused to explain how it qualified as a minstrel show.

As Ingraham noted, that is indeed disturbing for a New York Times columnist: if he hadn't seen any overt acts of racism at this event, he shouldn't have written an article implying he had. 

Nice job, Laura. Brava!