Nets Don't Disclose Bill Clinton Confronted African-American

Update: Rush Reads From Item

Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.

If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?

I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.

Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.

View video here.

I learned the identity of the man, Robert Holeman [shown here illustrating how Pres. Clinton allegedly gave him a little "pop" in the face], by watching today's Morning Joe. MSNBC is of course part of the NBC News operation. But the cable show's audience is a small fraction of its broadcast parent's.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Last night I got an email from one of our embeds [Ed.: and Bill's campaigning is increasingly resembling a war zone] saying that Bill Clinton was wagging his finger, poked his finger, actually hit a guy, and then we got an email an hour or two later saying he was shouting at a pro-life [inaudible] --

WILLIE GEIST: This is the first incident here; this is just video, you can see, he's in Canton, Ohio. Apparently during his speech where he was campaigning for his wife there was this person, a pro-Obama person, sort of heckling him during the speech. He got up in the guy's face there on the rope line.

SCARBOROUGH: Look how close he is to the guy's face!
Mika Brzezinski rode to Bill's defense.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Maybe he's talking to him!

GEIST: There's the [finger] point, there's the Clinton point.

BRZEZINSKI: I don't get the issue.

GEIST: Now as far as whether or not he made physical contact, it doesn't appear there's a whole lot of evidence that that actually happened, the guy says "I think he might have hit me in the face." Let's listen to the man's account of his confrontation with Bill Clinton.
Cut to clip of Robert Holeman.
ROBERT HOLEMAN: The president became very angry, he was very irate. And this is what I could see: they're about to lose. When you're losing you become almost uncontrollable; you're not able to talk clearly or illustrate your -- so all this name-calling, it's like the bully in the yard, he can't have his way, he can't get nothing done. He got very heated, I think he even hit me in the face with his hand, to back me up a little bit, but I, I, the Secret Service got him off me real quick. I noticed that! But he did give me a little pop. That was OK because I understand his tenacity for his wife.
Joe Scarborough got off the line of the morning.
SCARBOROUGH: I thought the Secret Service was supposed to protect people from striking the president! In this case the gentleman says the Secret Service pulled the president off [him].
So again: same set of facts, but in Pres. Clinton's place, a very prominent Republican backer of John McCain. What are the odds none of the broadcast-network morning news shows reveal the interlocutor's African-American identity?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.