Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been aggressively attacked over the past week for a racial slur that she uttered 30 years ago. Countless media outlets have condemned her, and corporate sponsors have dropped her like a crate of anvils – to the tune of $12.5 million. As her empire has crumbled around her, Deen has apologized multiple times, but that’s still not enough for everyone in the media.
On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, fill-in host Betty Nguyen brought on entertainment editor Chris Witherspoon of TheGrio.com to discuss the Deen controversy. Nguyen read a statement from Jimmy Carter in which the former president asserted that Deen has already been punished, perhaps overly severely. But Carter’s call for forgiveness did not fully resonate with Witherspoon. When asked for reaction to Carter’s words, he replied: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The three major networks devoted four times as much coverage to obsessing over Paula Deen's use of a racial epithet 30 years ago than they did of outspoken liberal Alec Baldwin's anti-gay rant on Twitter. Over the first three days of the revelation that Deen used the N-word in 1983, ABC, CBS and NBC featured the story for 32 minutes and 41 seconds. Over the three days since Baldwin's tirade, the same networks allowed a mere seven minutes and 49 seconds-- not counting nearly five minutes on ABC, wondering if there was a double standard in reaction to the two cases. [See a chart below, also video. MP3 audio here.]
The biggest disparity came on CBS. The network covered Deen for almost seven and a half minutes, but a meager seven seconds for Baldwin. Over the first three day period, the CBS Evening News never discussed Baldwin. From June 20 through the 22, ABC investigated Deen's actual offense for a whopping 12 and a half minutes. Yet, the network, from June 28 to the 30th, featured a scant two minutes and 16 seconds on Baldwin's attack against the "toxic little queen" who wrote a negative story about his wife.
On Saturday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, as host Ed Schultz ranted about the Supreme Court decision on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, he asserted that "keep[ing] a minority down" was one of the few things that "satisfies the conservative movement." Schultz: