In a classic case of a liberal saying “Do as I say, not as I do,” MSNBC correspondent Mariana Atencio sparked a firestorm last week when she and her camera crew blocked two handicapped parking spaces and the loading area at an early voting facility in Houston.
As a result, James Berrie -- a disabled Air Force veteran in a power chair -- was forced to find somewhere else to park his van so he could cast his ballot for the midterm election.
According to an article written by Larry Seward, a reporter for the CBS local KHOU 11 television station,
Berrie and his wife, Sarah, “drove their van to the center for early voting.”
When they arrived around 8 a.m., the couple saw MSNBC blocking the only van-accessible parking spot.
So the Berries parked in a back lot. Cars crammed around the couple’s van left little room for Berrie’s ramp and power chair to move.
Berrie, who also has multiple sclerosis, said the crew agreed to move when confronted. However, 15 minutes later, when the couple finished voting and returned outside, Atencio and the MSNBC crew remained.
“They had made no effort whatsoever to move,” the veteran said. “Their job is more important than accessibility. There were so many other places to do [their live shot]. But you chose to do it here. We’re like, ‘No. We gotta stand up.’”
“I didn’t even know what to do or to say because I was just shocked," he stated.
“The couple asked MSNBC’s crew to move again,” Seward noted. “Even with help from a group of firefighters standing nearby, nothing changed.”
Atencio and the crew “kept coming back like: ‘We’ll move in two minutes,'” Berrie said. “'We’ll move in like three minutes. We’re going live. We’ve got a shot. We’re going live in like three minutes. We gotta do this' and we’re just like, 'No. You have to move. It’s not right. You know it’s not right.'”
Seward then noted that the Berries “became angry and even stepped into the crew's live shot, forcing MSNBC to cut the feed and move their van to another location.”
Berrie, who called the situation a “different kind of voter suppression,” also stated:
If I couldn’t park, I couldn’t vote. Their van had no handicap placards. And this happens all the time.
Handicap spots are not loading zones for gear and equipment. Figure something else out. Especially at a public event where people are going to need the spots.
Soon after that, the veteran thanked people online “for your support. This has gotten bigger than I thought, but that is a good thing. People are talking about this, having the conversation. Please keep going.”
“This is a very big election this year,” he added. “News will be out in force, now and until the general. The media needs to be aware. Call them out if you see this.”
Meanwhile, Atencio tweeted out an apology. “We made the wrong call today by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX. There’s no excuse.”
She added: “I apologize to the two people who were on their way to vote as it’s one of the most important parts of our democracy; we’d never want to jeopardize anyone’s ability to do so.”
Berrie responded on Facebook by saying:
With everything that has happened, I would love to sit with Mariana Atencio (w/ MSNBC) and discuss the issue.
Not to bring shame, demand an apology or anything like that. But to bring awareness to the issue, and discuss what's going on.
“They should know better,” Berrie stated. “I’m hopeful that in the future, it won’t happen again.”
It’s always interesting when liberals get caught between their high-sounding words and what happens in real life. Apparently, it’s still easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.