A lot of work goes in to orchestrating a national party’s Presidential nominating convention. State and local politicians spend hours perfecting five-minute speeches that will introduce them to the national political audience. Organizers spend months preparing every detail. Even the news organizations that cover these events spend countless man-hours preparing for and analyzing each moment. These conventions are a huge deal and they take a lot of work.
That’s why it’s even more distressing to see the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida overshadowed by two despicable incidents that have nothing to do with hard work, patriotism or even professionalism.
First, during last night’s festivities, a black camerawoman from CNN was accosted by two convention-goers. No one has released the names of these people, so it’s impossible to know if they were delegates, donors or just observers. The pair threw peanuts at the camerawoman and remarked, “This is how we feed animals.” To their credit, the RNC acted quickly, removing the two and condemning their actions as “deplorable,” “inexcusable,” and “unacceptable.” Obviously, they are treating this issue seriously. CNN, for it’s part, is attempting to keep the incident out of the spotlight.
Then, it was the commentators time to act horribly. This disgusting bit of vulgarity came from Yahoo News Washington bureau chief, David Chalian. Chalian was discussing Hurricane Isaac and did not realize that he was on air. He said, ”They’re not concerned at all. They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning,” referring to Mitt and Ann Romney. The statement is obviously inappropriate, out-of-line and completely unfair to the Republican nominee for President. Chalian has been immediately terminated from his position with Yahoo News.
I think we can all agree that both of these acts are horrible. They both make me angry, to the point where I find my fingers a little shaky as I write about them.
What’s more than that, they both have taken over the media coverage the convention. With these two awful acts, they’ve drowned out a lot of hard work done by great people. Whether you agree with the Republican platform or not, and I don’t, it’s terrible to see their shining moment marred by this nastiness. It’s sad that these instances have pulled focus from what’s important and substantive at the RNC.
As my wonderful colleague Ruth Graham pointed out, not both sides of the political spectrum just have something to be mad about. Pundits have something to get hyperbolic about. And everyone gets to ignore the important issues of this election just a little bit longer. No one is winning here.
Both of these acts deserve to be condemned, but I hope that once that’s done, we can pay attention to all of the really dedicated professionals who are doing their best in Tampa this week. Their hard work deserves our attention and consideration much more than the bad behavior of a few people.