Memo to Greta Van Susteren and Herman Cain: You owe your viewers an apology for your misbegotten comments the other night about the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary supposed snub of Senator Tim Scott. In reality, it was Scott who snubbed the event. Are you going to invite him on and grill him over it?
To refresh our readers’ memory, on Wednesday night, Van Susteren and Cain sniped at the Martin Luther King-themed celebration over Scott’s absence from the speaker's lineup. Instead of doing any actual reporting, Van Susteren asked for Cain’s opinion as to why Scott had not been invited. Cain, who had no apparent involvement in the event and who has no role in Congress, was in no position to know. But that didn’t stop him from declaring that Scott had been passed over because he’s a conservative. Van Susteren’s only “challenge” was to ask whether Scott’s omission had been an accidental oversight. Cain, of course, had no idea, but he insisted that Scott had been deliberately excluded - and that Scott "would have moved heaven and earth in order to be there if he were invited." Meanwhile, in concert with the meme, a Fox News banner on the lower third of the screen blared: “TIM SCOTT SNUBBED: BLACK GOP SEN SNUBBED AT MLK ANNIVERSARY.”
At the time, I wrote that there had been reports that Scott had been invited. Since then, Roll Call has confirmed it:
The invitation, sent Aug. 8 from the Coalition for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, appears to have been a form letter to all members of Congress, with invitees listed as “Representative” rather than by name.
Within a day, Rachel Shelbourne, a staff assistant to Scott, had replied to the email with the following message:
“Thank you for extending to Senator Tim Scott the invitation to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28th. Unfortunately, the Senator will be in South Carolina during this time, so he will be unable to attend the event. Please do, however, keep him in mind for future events you may be hosting.”
While the invitation did not include a request for Scott to speak, Roll Call’s source said, “Much of the speaking program was created based on those who were able to confirm availability to attend the event, and thus were able to speak at the event.”
Had Scott cared about this event, he would have attended anyway and/or asked to speak. But the record shows that he’s the one who did the snubbing. That Fox News dug up a phony slight, didn’t bother to check its facts and then turned it into a prime time discussion is the real transgression here. And let’s not forget that Fox likes to point to Van Susteren as a liberal balance to Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly in prime time.
Bill O’Reilly had the decency to apologize for his intemperate remark that no Republicans had been invited to the March on Washington anniversary. Van Susteren should do the same, only more prominently given how long and how vigorously her show hyped such misinformation. More importantly she ought to question why Scott, along with every other Republican invited, failed to attend. That's the real story here and what On The Record did was worse than missing it.
Van Susteren's August 28th discussion with Cain is below.
The comments to this blog post are absolutely disgusting!
- - not so much.
1) Start race war.
2) Reap ratings off race war.
3) Blame race war on others.
4) try again with women and the LBGT community.
5) Remember that they’re supposed to be a news network.