Chris Wallace joined the pile-on against MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry yesterday in his interview with Mitt Romney. In fact, Wallace put the matter right up there with ObamaCare and the winter Olympics in his introduction to Romney. Unfortunately for Fox News, Romney refused to take the (race) bait.
Unlike Fox News darling, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, whose crude remarks offended a broad swath of African Americans and gays, Harris-Perry has profusely apologized for her snarky jokes about Romney’s African American grandson. Also unlike Robertson – whom Fox likened to Pope Francis, President Obama and even Martin Luther King – Fox seems to find Harris-Perry’s tasteless joking unforgivable.
In his introduction to what was purportedly a hard news interview with Romney on Fox News Sunday yesterday, Wallace elevated Harris-Perry’s “offense” to the significance of terrorism, the Winter Olympics and ObamaCare:
The new year has begun, but we face some of the same old issues: problems with ObamaCare, a terror threat to disrupt the Winter Olympics in Russia, now just a month away, and a disgraceful political attack on a baby.
It’s worth pointing out two things as you watch the video below. One, Romney started off with what PolitiFact rated as a “half truth”: that ObamaCare tells people “precisely what type of coverage they have to have.” But Wallace let it go without challenge, other than to ask if RomneyCare hadn’t done the same thing. Compare that to his behavior when Romney declined to vilify Harris-Perry later. Also, during the discussion, a not-so-fair-and-balanced banner on the screen blared: OBAMACARE ROLLOUT, TRAIL OF BROKEN PROMISES.
However, Wallace did ask a few meaty questions, such as why RomneyCare had no religious exception in its contraception mandate.
The other thing worth noting is that Wallace boasted about being on Romney's Christmas card list. Harris-Perry’s remarks about the Romney family were based on a Christmas card with a photograph of the whole family.
Seguing from the Olympics to Harris-Perry, Wallace said, “(Y)ou send out a wonderful Christmas card each year—and we’ve just put it up on the screen—with your beautiful family. I’m fortunate enough to get the Christmas card, to be on your list.”
Then the following exchange took place in which Wallace spent three minutes trying – and failing - get Romney to go after Harris-Perry, starting at about 9:35:
WALLACE: This year, you had a new member on your lap, your grandson Kieran, an African-American baby adopted by your son Ben.
For some reason, MSNBC decided to make him a target for ridicule. I know it’s distasteful, sir, but here’s a clip of what went on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of these things is not like the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, this must be hurtful, and I know you’re a classy guy and you don’t want to get into it, but I’ve got to ask you, honestly, from the heart, how did you—and, quite frankly, how did Mrs. Romney feel when you heard that your little baby grandson, Kieran, was the target for political ridicule?
ROMNEY: Well, first, let me just note, Chris, that we love this little guy a great deal. He was an answer to prayer and we love that he’s part of our family. He is a part of our family.
That being said, I recognize that people make mistakes. And the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. And they’ve apologized for it. And that’s all can you ask for.
I’m going to move on from that. I’m sure they want to move on from it. Look, I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself. And they’ve apologized for this. And, you know, I think we can go on from there.
WALLACE: Well, let me just ask—and if I can press just a little bit on this, sir, you tend to speak from the head. I know Mrs. Romney tends to speak from the heart. I suspect she took this somewhat more personally. And, you know, the idea that political discourse would include going after a little baby.
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I think people recognize, and the folks at MSNBC who have apologized recognize that people like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming.
But children, that’s a—you know, that’s beyond the line. And I think they understand that and feel that, as well. I think it’s a heartfelt apology. And I think for that reason, we hold no ill will whatsoever.
WALLACE: And, finally, I just want to play it, because the anchor of the segment, as you mentioned, Melissa Harris-Perry, yesterday on her show did apologize for her comments.
Here’s a bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC: I broke the ground rule that families are off limits. And for that, I am sorry. Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through trans-racial adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: On the other hand, I have to point out, during the segment, she had a good laugh and said maybe Kieran would marry Kim Kardashian’s daughter and then you and Kanye West would be in-laws.
Your reactions to her comments then and her apology yesterday, sir?
ROMNEY: You know, I think her apology was clearly heartfelt. And we accept that. And with regards to the rest of the comments, I hadn’t heard those and don’t really have any comment on those.
Wallace gave up and ended the interview at that point.
By the way, while Wallace was appalled about “political discourse” going after a baby, where was he when colleague Andrea Tantaros smeared Malia Obama? Or when Ann Coulter joked – on the Fox Nation website, no less – about killing Meghan McCain? In fact, Coulter suggested on Fox News that “Maybe it’s time to…go after the Obama children.”
On Fox, it always seems to be OK If You’re A Republican to say anything about liberals. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be white, either.
I’m honestly not sure if this is real, or just Romney breaking out a new Mitt. And if he does run 2016, you know that baby’s gonna be front and center, every time Romney makes a racial gaffe. At one point, he had this smirk on his face that really bothers me- The best way to put it is that it’s like he honestly thinks he flipped a table here.
And my answer to that is simply this: I know plenty of racists back home who have a minority grandchild- Either by adoption, or by their kids hooking up with what their parents hate. These people still spew every slur in the book, but they love the child (in public) because it’s their ticket to getting an apology when they say something awful.
Until I see anything genuine from “New Mitt,” I’m seeing him as not much different than “Old Mitt.”
The hypocracy at fox is so thick you can cut it with a knife and they don’t seem to care who knows it.
Further, I didn’t think an apology was necessary but how it was given puts the idiots at fox to shame.
And man, it drives me nuts that even MSM shorthands this whole flap as Harris-Perry having ridiculed the baby. She did not, and her guests did not. They ridiculed the white-privileged Romney family. And I have to say, I feel for this innocent child having to spend his entire life being part of it.
But I’m betting that Chris ain’t making his father Mike too proud.
Now, why wouldn’t Wallace want to talk about that, hmmm? I’m sure it has nothing to do with that Romney probably disclosed that’s off-limits. Or that Ailes seconded that, given that a lot of the golden boys who did win in 2012 have potentially shady in-house dealings with him during the campaign…
Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about the Perry segment- She apologized over and over, she actually meant it, she’s trying to make right, and Romney publicly forgave her. I wanna hear about his trial.