Melissa Harris-Perry delivered a heartfelt and tearful, but unnecessary apology to Mitt Romney today that demonstrated the hypocrisy of the media’s treatment of the left.
Last Sunday, we invited a panel of comedians for a year in review program. It’s what we call our look back in laughter. But in one of the segments, we looked at a number of photos that caught our attention over the course of the year. In that segment, I asked my guests to provide kind of off the cuff ideas for captions of the photos that we were seeing. Among the images we aired was one of the Romney family that showed Governor Mitt Romney’s grandchildren, including his adopted grandson, who’s African-American.
Now given my own family history, I identify with that picture and I intended to say positive and celebratory things about it, but whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive. And showing the photo in that context, that segment, was poor judgment.
So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family. Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits, and for that I am sorry.
Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through transracial adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule. On this program we are dedicated to advocating for a wide diversity of families. It is one of our core principles, and I am reminded that when we are doing so, it must always be with the utmost respect.
We’re generally appreciative of everyone who offered serious criticisms of last Sunday’s program, and I am reminded that our fiercest critics can sometimes be our best teachers.
Harris-Perry took responsibility for the segment, even though she never said what the right accused her of saying. Her apology was heartfelt, intelligent, and insightful. It was typical of what viewers see on her program every weekend. What it wasn’t was necessary.
MHP brought up a great point about families being off limits, but that is something that the same critics that have called for her to be fired have ignored when it comes to President Obama and his family. The fact that Harris-Perry has now apologized multiple times raises the question why do those on the left have to apologize multiple times for things that Republicans get away with daily?
Please spare me the argument that the left is somehow morally superior to the right, and thus held to a higher standard. The left, right, and center are all the same. Partisans like to think that they are morally superior, but each are still human being expressing political views that should be held to the same standard.
The problem is that there is a basic hypocrisy in the media that allows the right to not be held accountable bad behavior. Not only is the right allowed to get away with worse things than the MHP segment on a daily basis, but no one on the left is ever cut the same slack.
Harris-Perry turned her apology into a teaching moment. She demonstrated once again why she is one of the best on cable news. However, the apology was unnecessary. The left should resolve to only apologize when the right is held to the same standard of accountability for their behavior. The only way that the media will ever treat them fairly is if it is demanded.
Stop buying into the right’s faux outrage and manipulation and offering apologies. No matter how brilliant it may be, an unnecessary apology is another victory for conservative media manipulation.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association