CNN’s crisis-management strategy: No comment


Roland Martin, victim of people who misconstrue stuff. (Stephen Lovekin/GETTY IMAGES)

Another exemplar: “Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass”.

Gay activists and others have forced Martin to cough up two laughable quasi-apologies, both of which expressed regret to those who had “construed” his message as anti-gay, when in fact nothing as enterprising as construal is necessary to find homophobia in the tweet.

But at least Martin has said something.

The same cannot be said of CNN, which gives Martin a platform for his views as a network analyst. Though Martin’s homophobic outburst surfaced on social media two days ago, CNN hasn’t issued a statement yet. It hasn’t even issued its famous little press release about how a contributor may have “viewpoints” that trouble others.

“They haven’t responded to requests for comment from us. We think it’s important for the public to hear from them,” says Herndon Graddick, a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Graddick formerly worked for CNN). “Every 15-year-old knows what ’whip the ass of the guy in the pink suit’ is code for.”

The network’s silence makes sense on one level: Issuing a statement, after all, might require CNN to align itself with the hilarious Roland-Martin dodge that the whole thing was about his attempt to make fun of soccer. No corporate flack wants the messy work of trying to write around that claim.

Yet CNN’s refusal to go on the record is starting to make a statement of its own. And it’s an ugly one: We don’t care about anti-gay violence.

As for Martin, he appears to be back to business as usual. CNN this afternoon posted an analysis piece by him, and his Twitter feed suggests he’s in Atlanta getting ready for tonight’s political coverage.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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