Morning Joe Libs Sweep Sherrod, Voter Intimidation Under Carpet: Let's Not 'Scratch A Sore'

It's pretty hard—even for media liberals—to defend a guy in paramilitary duds swinging a billy club outside a polling site, or a government official bragging about having declined to do everything in her power to help someone because of the white color of his skin.  So on today's Morning Joe, Margaret Carlson, Norah O'Donnell and Mike Barnicle were obliged to engage in a modicum of hand-wringing over the incidents.  But once having discharged that duty, the trio set about doing what libs do best: finding ways to minimize the matters and excuse the MSM's failure to cover them.

To be sure, Carlson did call the statement by the USDA official "hateful" and said one should be "ashamed." And Norah O'Donnell and Mike Barnicle agreed with Joe Scarborough that the MSM can fairly be criticized for undercovering these stories.

But then the three started their excuse-a-thon:

Carlson: "I mean, there's more [racism] on one side [whites] then the other," though that didn't change the fact that what Sherrod did was wrong.

O'Donnell: On this [Sherrod] particular case, while this is egregious in my mind, it is an isolated, we believe, incident.  There's no suggestion that the USDA is doing this as a systematic problem.  So I worry that in a climate that there have now been, that there is an effort to pile up a lot of these racially-charged stories, that concern me about things, that we're, you know, setting up these black versus white stories in this country, that these instances are, because, are trying to create some kind of narrative about where we are in this country.  And that makes me nervous.  Do you know what I'm trying to say?  Do you know what I'm trying to say?  

Barnicle: Out there, in this big large universe beyond television, that people are more obsessed with other issues like their jobs and their incomes than they are with what someone said in March working for the Department of Agriculture.

After agreeing that if the polling site intimidators would, if white, have been immediately arrested and that there would have been more media coverage, Barnicle continued . . .

BARNICLE: At this point, the incessant coverage of it, with all of the questions, it's like scratching a sore.  That's all it's doing. It's pulling a scab.

As Joe Scarborough observed: "But who's covered it? Fox has covered it, but even the Washington Post said nobody else has covered it."

After Scarborough accused the MSM of ignoring the stories, Carlson had the last word.

CARLSON: Maybe not ignored.  I mean, there's so many stories that slip by and go through the cracks, you don't know . . . They did prosecute the guy who was holding the billy club at an almost all-black precinct.  So, intimidating white voters at an all-black precinct?  Would you go to another precinct where there might be more [abruptly ends at hard commercial break].

Let's summarize the libs' arguments: 

  • The media shouldn't make too much of all this. The Sherrod thing was an isolated case.
  • Covering these stories is just going to stir up bad feelings. 
  • And anyhow, the stories aren't that important, compared to the economy. 
  • And, hey, lots of stories slip through the media cracks: these just happened to be two of them.
  • And you know, the voter intimidation was really pretty harmless.  

All of which goes to prove a point that Scarborough made: with media liberals who think like this, were the racial tables turned, these stories would have been the subject of 28-part front page series.

Update: Since posting this item, I've learned, thanks to FR reader NoNAIS, that Sherrod has stated that the incident occurred 24 years ago when she was working at another agency, not the USDA, and that she's since had a change of heart.   The Morning Joe crew would likely have mentioned that had they been aware of it.  They were thus presumably making their comments on the assumption that the incident had been relatively recent.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.