Because racist jokes are always national news, right?
The NBC News nation hasn’t had the best week. First, we discover the powers that be at 30 Rock realize David Gregory isn’t holding up end of the deal so they make Will.I.Am a political commentator. You know, because that’s what we all think of that guy.
And then yesterday came — it was Cinco de Mayo.
A day that most people confuse for Mexican Independence Day, which in itself is offensive to many Mexican people. However, MSNBC couldn’t resist the temptation for its beleaguered network. They needed a catchy segment, something that would grab attention. Somberos, tequila, chips, salsa, and … oh, that’s right … racism?!
Whelp, it worked.
From maracas to margaritas, can we all admit we have Cinco de Mayo wrong? Not to be politically correct because I really don’t care about all that, but from a historical perspective, it’s just wrong.
Corona is wrong. Your local TexMex establishment is wrong. And most certainly, a certain national news network was wrong. In summary, Cinco de Mayo is May 5, but also the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, honoring a military victory for Mexico over the French forces of Napoleon III in 1862. Yeah, that’s it. On with the show.
Tell ya’ what, let’s get this out of the way…
So that just happened. That is the not-so-much warm-up show for MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ called ‘Way Too Early.’ And that must be the explanation because the executive producer probably overslept, which is why some intern fill-in thought this segment would get by the censors.
During the segment, dubbed “Mexican Heritage Celebration,” host Thomas Roberts tried discussing the significance of the holiday while producer Louis Burgdorf walked around in a sombrero, chugging tequila, and shaking a maraca.
“It’s also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis,” Roberts said, later adding “you have to drink the whole thing and eat the worm.”
And then, real Mexican Americans got terse. Specifically, Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, who criticized the segment, calling it “abominable.”
“This is simply the worst example I have seen of a discriminatory stereotypical portrayal of any community by any media. The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable. This wasn’t a chance occurrence. This was a planned segment where many journalists agreed on the content and execution which concluded on what was seen nationwide. It feeds to the ignorant misconceptions of a rich and proud people who unfortunately are too often portrayed as caricatures to be scoffed at. NAHJ denounces the actions taken by MSNBC’s “Way Too Early” team for their capricious actions, lack of judgment, insensitivity and attack at the Mexican community. NAHJ demands that the employees involved in the planning and production of this segment be disciplined and made to publicly apologize for their actions.”
To wit, you know that sound a dump truck makes when it backs up? That was MSNBC.
On Monday, Cinco De Mayo, ‘Way Too Early’ made sarcastic references to the way some Americans celebrate the holiday. It was not our intention to be disrespectful and we sincerely apologize for the ill-advised references.
From a PR perspective, we get it. Your ratings suck. You need viewers. And you wanted to rattle the cage a skosh. However, let’s try not offending 40 percent of the nation in the process, mmmkay? Thanks.