NEW YORK — MSNBC once again finds itself in hot water owing to a bigoted remark made by one of its employees. This time, it was a tweet describing a Super Bowl ad for Cheerios that made Republicans’ blood pressure skyrocket and threatened to sour the network’s breakfast lineup.
“Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go aww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” read the tweet, which prompted an immediate backlash from the Republican National Committee.
Burnt by the disparaging comments, the RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus called upon all breakfast-related sponsors to withdraw all support for MSNBC’s popular a.m. talk show, “Morning Joe.”
In a letter to MSNBC’s president, Priebus wrote, “With increasing frequency many of your hosts have personally denigrated and demeaned Americans—especially conservative” Americans who, “just want to eat their breakfast in peace without upsetting their stomachs with the thought of there being biracial couples making babies.”
“When Ronald Reagan talked about it being morning in America,” continued Priebus, “he wasn’t talking about the importance of interest rates or inflation, he was talking about the sanctity of the most important meal of the day—breakfast.”
“Morning Joe” was famously “brewed by Starbucks” until late last year, when the four-year partnership with the coffee behemoth suddenly ended after co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested that the steep price of a Starbucks latte “should be subsidized by the government.”
Now facing the loss of another major underwriter, MSNBC president Phil Griffin tried to repair the damage and retain the backing of Cheerios as part of their complete breakfast spread of sponsors.
In a statement the network president wrote, “We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.”
Priebus tentatively accepted the apology and issued a warning to the network. “Now we have to stay on top of it,” said Priebus in an appearance on “Hannity.”
“It’s sort of like being on probation I guess. But the fact of the matter is, we’re here, we’re watching them,” which, he continued, “is a hell of a lot more than I can say of CNN.”
Asked if he would appear on “Morning Joe” in the future, Priebus said it depended on whether “the producers insist on serving [him] black coffee mixed with white cream—it’s kind of disgusting, you know. I’d much rather enjoy a tall glass of white milk.”