March 27, 2015
MSNBC Apologizes For Equating Country Music With ‘Killing Muslims’

MSNBC is apologizing again, this time for a guest who likened country music with "killing some Muslims."

Wednesday afternoon, a panel on Now with Alex Wagner (Ari Melber sitting in as host for the absent Wagner) was talking about Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the newly announced GOP presidential candidate, revealing for whatever reason that he became a country music fan after 9/11, apparently given its more patriotic underpinnings in his view.

Guest Jamilah Lemieux, in an apparent attempt to be funny, dismissively reacted to the Cruz CBS News clip as follows.

"Nothing says 'Let's go kill some Muslims' like country music, fresh from Lynchburg, Virginia. Someone who obviously does not want to be a polarizing candidate, he wants to bring people together, I mean — really? That's absurd."
The other panelists joined Lemieux in laughter, but to his credit and perhaps sensing that the comment was out of bounds, Melber steered clear of the merriment, noting that "there's plenty of country music that doesn't have that message, right?"

Later in the broadcast, Melber issued a formal apology on behalf of MSNBC.

"We have a programming note. A few minutes ago on this show, a guest made a comment about country music. That comment was not appropriate, and we want to be clear this network does not condone it."
Parenthetically, almost exactly a year ago, Lemieux, apparently an Ebony editor, prompted a race-based controversy on social media "in which she blasted away at Raffi Williams of the Republican National Committee on Twitter: 'Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing. Pass.' Williams is black, turns out. Ebony apologized," The Washington Post noted.

While all news networks issue retractions from time to time for miscues, the ratings-challenged liberal channel has encountered on-air difficulties of this nature before. In January, it was forced to cut ties with one of its regular guest experts after he made a racially charged slur against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is of Indian heritage.

MSNBC host Martin Bashir left his network gig in December 2013 following some vile scripted remarks about former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Last May, The Cycle host Toure apologized on Twitter for previously tweeting that Jews who managed to survive Hitler's genocide in the Holocaust did so because of "the power of whiteness." In the same month, the network issued multiple apologies for a segment about Cinco de Mayo that many found offensive.

You may also recall that host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized three times for mocking 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's African-American grandchild. And earlier in 2014, MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized for a racially offensive tweet about a Cheerios commercial that would supposedly be hated by "right-wingers." The MSNBC employee responsible for the tweet was fired.

In the spring of 2011, Ed Schultz was suspended for one week from his MSNBC platform The Ed Show after calling conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut." Schultz apologized to Ingraham on the air prior to serving out the suspension.

Watch this latest MSNBC apology, and the comment about country music that prompted it, below.

[Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images Entertainment]