On Thursday, Kristine Marsh at NewsBusters noted that "none of the big three networks or cable news found time" to report Louisiana Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond's "vile sexual joke" directed the previous evening at Trump presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.
The fact that the establishment press's lead gatekeepers at the Associated Press and the New York Times had no story likely influenced that nonresponse — and despite Richmond's determination to claim that he didn't mean what he really said and refusal to apologize, the gatekeepers still haven't.
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As Marsh reported on Thursday (link is in original; bolds are mine):
At the annual fundraising dinner hosted by the Washington Press Club Foundation, politicians and journalists mingled for a light-hearted night where Congressmen like Tim Scott and Cedric Richmond headlined.
After Republican Senator Scott joked about the media’s uproar over that photo of Kellyanne Conway kneeling on an Oval Office couch as a silly thing to get upset about because “a whole lot worse” had happened on that couch, that led Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond to follow up with this remark:
CEDRIC RICHMOND: Tim, you kind’ve opened the door. You even mentioned Kellyanne and the picture on the sofa. But I really just want to know what was going on there, because, I won't tell anybody. And you can just explain to me that — that circumstance, because she really looked kind of familiar there in that position there. But don't answer. And I don't want you to refer back to the ’90s.
According to the (Washington) Post, the joke left the room in an awkward silence, unlike Scott’s joke which had left the audience laughing.
Unlike the networks, the Post found Richmond’s remarks worth reporting on, calling them “cringe-worthy” and “downright offensive” ...
Here's video of Richmond's risible remarks:
Richmond, as quoted in a separate Washington Post item, claimed that he didn't really say what everyone knew he really said:
"Since some people have interpreted my joke to mean something that it didn’t. I think it is important to clarify what I meant, ” he said in a statement. “Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting ‘familiar’ simply means that they are behaving too comfortably.”
Jake Tapper at CNN was among many journalists who found Richmond's pathetic "denial of what he was suggesting ... insulting."
The Louisiana Republican Party issued a statement carried at TV station WWL in New Orleans:
"Yesterday, Congressman Cedric Richmond made a deeply offensive remark regarding Kellyanne Conway, and he owes her a sincere and prompt apology. Using inappropriate sexual innuendos to demean women is sexism at its worse. Given that March is Women’s History Month, Congressman Richmond’s remarks about the first woman to successfully manage a US presidential campaign are especially disgusting. We’d hope that Governor John Bel Edwards and LA Democrat Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson will join us in demanding Congressman Richmond apologize immediately."
Searches on Richmond's full name (not in quotes) at the AP's main national site, the wire service's Big Story site, and at the New York Times at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday morning all returned no relevant results.
No one can possibly believe that the AP, the Times, or any of the networks Marsh cited would overlook similar remarks made by a Republican or conservative.
The comments made by Richmond, Louisiana's only Democratic member of Congress, are inarguably deserving of national attention, especially because he is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and his attitude could be seen as reflecting that of his CBC peers.
There is a clear and relatively unusual disconnect between the two gatekeeping sites' and other news outlets' judgments as to whether Richmond's remarks deserve exposure. A Google News search on Richmond's full name (in quotes, with duplicates, though there appear to have been very few actual duplicates) at Noon Eastern Time on Saturday returned roughly 120 relevant items. Among them:
- At NOLA.com, the web site of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, columnist Jarvis DeBerry demanded "A real apology. Not one of those 'if you were offended' statements that are popular in Washington. He needs to own up to the ugliness, to the sexism, contained in his remark and make it plain that he's truly sorry."
- Cosmopolitan's Tess Koman noted swift negative reaction on Twitter, including many leftists who despise Donald Trump, expressing outrage or demanding an apology.
- Judy Kurtz at The Hill, covering the dinner event, reported Richmond's remarks, but merely noted that they "appeared to fall flat."
- Heavy.com revealed that Richmond "once had his law license suspended after falsifying a sworn statement," and has "supported the display of a painting depicting police as pigs."
I think we've figured out who the real pig is here — and the identities of the swine who for some reason feel it's their duty to protect him.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.