If there's a national shortage of apology cards, blame MSNBC. Even if the network actually cared about news, executives wouldn't have time for it with all the mea culpas the company is pumping out. Following a daily pattern of "offend, rinse, repeat," MSNBC is becoming the place where personal attacks aren't just tolerated but encouraged.
The network's latest bit of nastiness came earlier this week, when an episode of MSNBC's race-baiting went horribly wrong. In a tweet about Cheerios' new Super Bowl ad, an employee tweeted from the company's official account: "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family"—implying that conservatives are nothing but a bunch of white racists. It was nauseating, even by MSNBC standards. By now, most Americans know that the network is incapable of civil debate.
But that doesn't mean the country was going to take the insinuation sitting down. Photos of right-wing biracial families started flooding Twitter, as conservatives like Michelle Malkin led the public shaming of a network that just finished cleaning up another mess with host Melissa Harris-Perry. Obviously, MSNBC didn't learn a thing from that scandal, when Harris-Perry cried her way into the good graces of the network after mocking Mitt Romney's black grandson. She got to keep her job—unlike Martin Bashir, who lost his after wishing someone would defecate in Sarah Palin's mouth. Journalism at its finest.
This time, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was ready to play hardball. He issued a committee-wide ban on any RNC appearances on MSNBC until the network personally apologized.
"We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC, but using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous attacks is low," he said. "It only coarsens our political discourse. This is more than just a tweet or an offhand comment. This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse, and until Phil Griffin personally apologizes and takes corrective action, we cannot be part of this network's toxic programming."
Within hours, Griffin, MSNBC's president, announced that he'd fired the person responsible for the tweet, with MSNBC.com's executive editor insisting, "That's not who we are at MSNBC."
But unfortunately, it is what the network's culture has become. For the last few years, the network has refused to engage in a debate over the merits of any policy or position—and instead labeled anyone who disagrees with them as a bigot. And that kind of hostility isn't lost on viewers. Even before this scandal, only 3 percent chose NBC or MSNBC as their most-trusted network.
Meanwhile, we should give Reince Preibus credit for sticking up for conservatives and demanding an apology. All too often, Republicans refuse to stand up to the totalitarian tactics of the left. The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to him.
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council.