ESPN Pardon the Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon is no fan of comedian Seth MacFarlane's performance as emcee of Sunday night's Oscar awards. But rather than leave his criticisms confined to the merits of MacFarlane's performance, the liberal former Washington Post sports columnist whipped out the race card on Washington, D.C.'s ESPN 980, reports WTOP.com:
"They got tired of famous black people, so they've got to go get a white guy? Affirmative action Academy Awards host?" Wilbon said. "Is that what this is about? Really?"
We at NewsBusters have, of course, had our share of criticisms of MacFarlane, but Wilbon's use of "affirmative action," without any real evidence to back up the claim, is utterly specious. And while MacFarlane offended everyone from the Parents Television Council to gay activists to feminists, it appears he was a good return on the investment for the Academy, given the spike in ratings over last year. Reported the New York Times:
[T]he ratings were good, and almost nothing counts for more where the Oscar enterprise is concerned. The show drew an average audience of 40.3 million viewers, up about 3 percent from 39.3 million viewers last year, according to the Nielsen ratings service. The audience among those between the ages of 18 and 34 grew 20 percent, to post an 11.3 rating, compared to 9.4 last year, when Billy Crystal was the host.
At any rate, it appears Wilbon doesn't have anything to worry about with MacFarlane signaling he isn't interested in hosting again anytime soon.