NPR Anchor Ari Shapiro Asks Joy Reid If Christie, Cruz Were Racist to Insult Obama

January 16th, 2016 4:56 PM

NPR brought on two women to replace David Brooks and E.J. Dionne for their “Week in Politics” segment on Friday’s All Things Considered. For the conservatives, there was Mary Kate Cary, a centrist former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush. For the liberals, there was leftist former MSNBC host Joy Reid. As usual, NPR’s idea of “balance” is two experts who think Ted Cruz is a far-right disaster.

Reid drew quite the softball from openly gay NPR anchor Ari Shapiro who cited “some observers” who said that Chris Christie and Ted Cruz offered nasty criticisms of President Obama at the latest GOP debate that they wouldn’t make about a “white president.”

SHAPIRO: Joy, there were a couple of lines in the debate last night about president Obama that rankled a lot of people. Chris Christie called the president a petulant child, and Ted Cruz said, we're going to kick your rear end out of the White House. And some observers said, you'd never make that remark about a white president. What do you think?

Shapiro got this wrong: Christie actually said both of these things, the “petulant child” part and the “kick your rear end out” part. Reid did not correct him as she unleashed a tirade on anti-Obama paranoia and rage and racism:

REID: Well, I think that gets to the kernel of one of the many ironies of the situation that the establishment of the Republican Party finds itself in because, right? So Chris Christie is a part of that establishment wing, but he speaks about the president in such a degrading way as if the president is a child and not the commander in chief of the United States -- such a disrespectful way. That's suborned the kind of rage and the kind of paranoia, frankly, that you see among the base of the Republican Party. The problem for the establishment is that they've lost control of it. They suborned things quietly like birtherism. They winked and nodded at ideas like death panels. They have sort of allowed this kind of fury and paranoia to help them win midterm elections, but it's now out of control.

So they've both locked themselves out of even the possibility of reaching out, particularly to African-American voters, who read the entire Republican Party -- not just Donald Trump, but all of it, every single part of it -- as being essentially -- sowing hatred of the president based at least in part on race. And that bleeds over to Hispanics. It bleeds over to Asian-Americans. It creates a vibe that the Republican Party can't fix, and Donald Trump is just better at them at exploiting it.

At least Cary objected – oh, not on behalf of Ted Cruz or Chris Christie, but only to say there are many “good Republicans” who aren’t racist haters:

SHAPIRO: Mary Kate, you're shaking your head. You're looking quizzical.

CARY: Wait, wait. (Laughter). I think, Joy, there are certainly elements of what you're saying that are true, but it seems to me that you're painting with a very broad brush. And there are plenty of good Republicans in the world who are not dealing in hatred and vitriol and racism. And I do think over the last few years when we have these candidates who say these crazy things - the birtherism, you know, things like that that you pointed out - there are people who stand up and say, I disavow that, I don't agree with that.

SHAPIRO: But unfortunately, those people don't seem able to speak for the party in the primary right now - unfortunately for them, unfortunately for the establishment Republicans.

Shapiro also placed Cruz and Trump on the “fringe” of the Republican Party. Is Bernie Sanders on a “fringe”? They never discussed Democrats in this segment.

SHAPIRO: And so is there any hope left for the establishment Republicans to get their guy get in there or do they just have to come to grips with the fact that this is going to be a race in which Trump and Cruz and the other people on what's considered the fringe of the party are going to seize the day?

CARY: Well, for most of the establishment Republicans I've been talking to, I think step one right now is bargain with God. Start begging.

On Twitter, Shapiro expressed his delight with everything Reid had to say about the crazy fringy Republicans, and that it should be repeated soon:

.There was no thank-you tweet from Ari to Mary Cary.