Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus isn’t at all pleased about what MSNBC put on Twitter last night. As discussed here, the network made note of an ad for Cheerios featuring a biracial family. It wrote up a story on it and promoted it with this tweet:
Citing that tweet, Priebus today declared that he had banned “all RNC staff from appearing on, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC.” He communicated the ban in a letter to MSNBC President Phil Griffin and insisted that it would remain in place until Griffin “personally and publicly apologize[s] for this behavior.” He also wrote a memo to “all Republican elected officials, strategists, surrogates, and pundits” asking them to join in the MSNBC freeze-out.
Sean Spicer, the RNC’s communications director, told the Erik Wemple Blog that already a “handful of folks” have gotten in touch to express their solidarity with the ban. As for the insistence that Griffin come out with a public apology, Spicer argues, “He needs to accept responsibility as CEO for the inappropriate behavior of the people who work for him.”
According to Spicer, MSNBC has expressed a willingness to get Griffin on the phone with the RNC. “They’re trying to set something up for the afternoon,” says Spicer. Yet, as the RNC’s missives on the matter make clear, the ban won’t end by virtue of a private phone conversation.
Full Priebus memo here:
FROM: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
TO: All Republican Elected Officials, Strategists, Surrogates, and Pundits
RE: Until MSNBC’s Phil Griffin Apologizes…
Last night, MSNBC sent out a tweet that read as follows.
[Tweet not available]
While we understand MSNBC will go to great lengths to discredit Republicans and conservatives, this kind of attack on the millions of Americans who identify with the political right is offensive and unacceptable. Unfortunately, this tweet is just the latest in a pattern of poor statements by MSNBC and its hosts.
This morning I left a message with MSNBC President Phil Griffin to express my displeasure. I have sent him a letter demanding that he personally, as president of the network, take responsibility and apologize for the disgusting tweet. Until he takes internal corrective action and personally apologizes — not just to the RNC but to all right-of-center Americans — I’m banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC.
As an elected official, strategist, or surrogate, I’m asking for you to agree to the same.
We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC, but using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC’s standards. It only coarsens our political discourse.
MSNBC hosts — including Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow just to name a few — have had a troubling streak in the last several weeks of making comments that belittle and demean Americans without furthering any thoughtful dialogue. Perhaps it’s time for the executives at MSNBC to consider whether their network is upholding a meaningful journalistic mission.
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.
I am confident that he will want to “lean forward” and prove to the American people that he does not condone this behavior. I look forward to his apology and corrective action.