The new round of controversial gaffes from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — including his comparison of the nation’s African-American and Latino communities — went completely unmentioned by MSNBC’s primetime hosts for three nights in a row.
While MSNBC covered Biden’s mea culpa addressing his racially charged remarks on Friday morning, its biggest stars continued their blackout of coverage on the network’s most-watched shows.
None of the collective nine hours worth of programming — from hosts Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi, who was filling in this week for Lawrence O’Donnell — addressed the former VP’s rhetorical flubs.
CNN’s first primetime mention of Biden’s gaffes came Friday night on “Cuomo Prime Time.” However, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo strangely did not play the actual clip from Biden’s interview from the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).
Instead, Cuomo read Biden’s comments — about what the former vice president viewed as a lack of “diversity” in the African American community — out loud to discuss with his guest.
Before Friday, there was a virtual blackout of coverage by both MSNBC and CNN since the preview clip from Biden’s rocky interview was released Wednesday morning.
In that clip, Biden had a heated spat with CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett, who questioned the former VP about whether he has taken a cognitive test.
“No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man. That’s like saying you, before you got on this program, you take a test whether you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?” Biden told Barnett, who is Black.
MSNBC mentioned the “Are you a junkie?” gaffe twice Wednesday, once during the 11 a.m. timeslot and the other during the 11 p.m. timeslot. CNN completely avoided the exchange.
In the full interview, broadcast Thursday, Biden contrasted the Black and Latino communities, saying “unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”
Later in the day, Biden repeated those remarks while speaking virtually to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference. In that appearance, he vowed that if elected, his administration would reflect “the full diversity of this nation” as well as “the full diversity of the Latino communities.”
“Now what I mean [by] full diversity [is] unlike the African American community and many other communities, you’re from everywhere,” Biden explained. “You’re from Europe, from the tip of South America, all the way to our border in Mexico, and the Caribbean. And [of] different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos. We’re gonna get a chance to do that if we win in November.”
MSNBC completely ignored Biden’s “diversity” remarks until Friday morning, which was after Biden “clarified” his remarks on Twitter. Meanwhile, CNN addressed it only once on Thursday and that was when anchor John King appeared to defend the Democratic candidate from attacks he had received from President Trump.
“Is it very insulting?” King asked, alluding to Trump’s criticism. “Did Joe Biden disparage and insult the Black community?”
Before members of the accompanying panel were able to respond, King seemed to attempt to answer his own question.
“He’s trying to make the point, and maybe he didn’t make it articulately as he would have liked, [but] I believe the point he was trying to make is that most African Americans overwhelmingly support Democrats, and if you go around the country — you go to Florida, for example, you have the Cuban American population, or you might have a Puerto Rican population that has moved to Florida that has a different view than, let’s say, a Latino in Nevada or Arizona,” King elaborated.
Errin Haines, editor-at-large of the media outlet The 19th, agreed with King, calling Biden’s comments “inartful” and accusing Trump of “seizing” on the gaffe in an attempt to make inroads with Black voters.