NBC's Jonathan Alter Shoe-Horns Bush Slam Into Don Imus Debate

On last night's Hardball NBC's Jonathan Alter managed to shoe-horn an anti-Bush jab during a discussion about Don Imus. When substitute host David Gregory asked Alter to comment on what the Imus flare-up meant for the overall discussion about race, NBC's contributing correspondent made a tortured argument that the uproar over Imus was a sign of "a thirst" from the public for the kind of accountability that they're not getting from the Bush administration.

The following conversation occurred on the April 10th Hardball:

David Gregory: "Jonathan, let me start with you. We talked a little bit earlier on the phone about whether this incident has created a race moment for America. Do you think that is the case? And how would you define that?"

Jonathan Alter, NBC News contributing correspondent: "I think it has created what you could call a teachable moment, the same way that, a couple of weeks ago, when Elizabeth Edwards' cancer recurred and Tony Snow's did, you know, we had a kind of a national conversation about surviving cancer. And I this does give us a chance to talk about the coarsening of discourse in America, about accountability. As, as Reverend Sharpton said, what does accountability mean? Does it necessarily mean firing the person? Or is sometimes changed behavior enough form of, of accountability? You know, David, in the YouTube culture that we have now, everything that somebody says is going to get replayed, and replayed again. And the question becomes, what's the response? And I think something that has happened in the, just in the last couple of years, there has been such a negative reaction against President Bush's failure to apologize, failure to seem like he is being accountable to where the people are, that we've got more of a thirst for people apologizing when they screw up, and then changing their behavior as a result of having been called to account."

MSNBC Hardball