AP, Politico Overly Sensitive to Perceived Racial Slight of Sotomayor?

<p><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/07/ilovelucy.jpg" vspace="3" width="240" align="right" border="0" height="161" hspace="3" />Might Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have some &quot;'splainin' to do&quot; about racial insensitivity? Both Associated Press editor <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_pl701;_ylt=AlEqEJDXv.ZFcssKoeHkMRms0... target="_blank">Michael Giarrusso</a> and <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0709/Coburn_might_have_some_sp... target="_blank">Politico's Glenn Thrush</a> raised the question in blog posts filed this morning. </p><p>Shortly before noon, Giarrusso noted that &quot;Sen. Tom Coburn evoked a 1950s TV show in a quip responding to Sonia Sotomayor’s scenario about what he might do if she -- hypothetically, of course -- attacked him.&quot;</p><p>For online readers unaware of the half-century-old pop culture reference, Giarrusso explained:</p><!--break--><blockquote>In the famous 1950s TV show &quot;I Love Lucy,&quot; the Cuban-American bandleader Ricardo (played by the equally Cuban-American bandleader Desi Arnaz) would often admonish his scatterbrained wife, Lucy, by saying she'd have some &quot;'splainin'&quot; to do. The phrase, &quot;Lucy, you have some 'splainin' to do,&quot; has become part of the popular culture.<br /></blockquote><p>While Giarrusso didn't go so far as to condemn the reference, he did open wide  the door for questioning whether Coburn might have crossed a hazily-defined cultural sensitivity line: </p><blockquote><p>Calling Coburn out for this might be going too far -- those who know him say he often speaks like this -- but it was hard not to notice his inflection and choice of words. At the very least, it suggests a tin ear -- particularly when you're speaking to a woman who may become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.</p></blockquote><p>For his part, Politico's Glenn Thrush -- whose story was filed at 11:00 a.m. EDT -- described the incident as &quot;a funny, slightly cringe-inducing exchange.&quot;</p><p>Unlike Giarrusso, Thrush placed less weight on the &quot;splainin&quot; crack as it being &quot;probably the first time in two-plus centuries of SCOTUS hearings where a nominee suggested he or she would plug a sitting senator, however hypothetically.&quot; </p><p>Politico also has video of the exchange (embedded below), where it's clear the Oklahoma Republican did NOT -- contrary to Giarrusso's suggestion -- evince a cheesy Desi Arnaz impression when cracking the joke. </p><p><i>&quot;I Love Lucy&quot; still via HollywoodYesterday.com</i></p><p>&nbsp;</p><embed src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1155201977" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=29590023001&amp;playerId=1155201977&amp;viewerSecureGatewayURL=https://console.brightcove.com/services/amfgateway&amp;servicesURL=http:... base="http://admin.brightcove.com" name="flashObj" seamlesstabbing="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" swliveconnect="true" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=S... width="486" height="412"></embed>

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters