MSNBC Panel Mocks Romney's Adopted Black Grandchild; Apologies Follow

MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry lined up a panel of alleged comedians to mock the Christmas picture Mitt Romney posted on Twitter. In a segment with the on-screen question "What's So Funny About 2013?" Harris-Perry announced: “This is the Romney family. And, of course, there on Governor Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, an adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.”

To which comedian and actress Pia Glenn sang the old Sesame Street ditty “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same … “And that little baby, front and center, would be the one.” Laughter ensued. The black website NewsOne reports Glenn issued sincere apologies on Twitter for her insensitivity to transracial adoptions. (Video below)

“I am absolutely aware of the added challenges of interracial adoptive families and I see how I added to that. I did not mean to. Still wrong,” Glenn tweeted. Then, to conservative actor Nick Searcy, who has an adopted black son: “I want to apologize again. I'm sorry.”

This is clearly not a joke they’d make or song they'd sing on MSNBC if it showed Barack Obama with his white mother and grandparents. There’s no reason why they would need to do it when a black child is adopted. Kieran was adopted by Romney’s son Ben and his wife Andelynne, who had no children.

How many black children has the MSNBC panel adopted?

“And isn’t he the most gorgeous?” Harris-Perry responded, perhaps since the joke was already accomplished.  “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”

Sure. West can accuse Romney of being careless about drowning black people, just like David Chalian and the liberal media.

Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah added: “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.”

News One concluded: "Though Glenn’s apology is without a doubt sincere, the incident probably won’t die down until Harris-Perry addresses it on the air."

A few minutes before this outburst, panelist Jamie Kilstein of “Citizen Radio” offered the typical take on MSNBC that all Republicans for all of American history have been racists:

“Can I just say, my newest pet peeve with the Republicans, I was watching MSNBC, – I’m practicing selling out, I have no money – I  was watching and they brought on, you know,  a white racist Republican, and Republicans ...Their like, biggest name-dropping thing, they always try to name drop Abraham Lincoln. They're like, ‘tell me why Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. It's like, Yo! If that's the last dude you have that wasn’t racist, from the Civil War, the one with the top hat who was also kind of racist, you are in a terrible position.”

UPDATE: Harris-Perry has posted apologies on Twitter: “I work by guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those they hurt that they r wrong for hurting.”

And: “Therefore, while I meant no offense, I want to immediately apologize to the Romney family for hurting them.”

This tweet raised the question of why this mockery ever happened in the first place: “As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis