MSNBC President Phil Griffin issued a statement saying the staffer
responsible for the Wednesday night tweet had been fired.
"The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable," Griffin
said. "We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong,
apologized, and deleted it ... I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus
and to everyone offended."
Priebus had banned RNC staffers from appearing on MSNBC, urged other
Republicans to follow suit and demanded an apology because of the
The cable news network's tweet said: "Maybe the rightwing will hate
it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/
biracial family." The tweet was sent to promote an MSNBC story on
the breakfast cereal commercial, which will be broadcast during
Sunday's Super Bowl.
The ad stars Grace Colbert, 6, as the daughter of a fictional
biracial couple. Last year, she was in a similar Cheerios
commercial, which triggered racist comments when it was posted on
YouTube, Google Inc's video-sharing site.
An RNC statement said Priebus and Griffin spoke by phone on Thursday
and that the party would continue to monitor the network, which is
seen as having a liberal bent.
"We don't expect their liberal bias to change but we will call them
out when political commentary devolves into personal and belittling
attacks," the statement said.
In a letter to Griffin, Priebus had said the Cheerios tweet showed
that MSNBC "is poisoned by this pattern of behavior."
"Sadly, such petty and demeaning attacks have become a pattern at
your network," Priebus said. "With increasing frequency many of your
hosts have personally denigrated Americans — especially conservative
and Republican Americans — without even attempting further
meaningful political dialogue."
[to top of second column]
Earlier this month, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized on
the air for a segment that joked about the adopted black grandson of
Mitt Romney, the Republicans' unsuccessful 2012 presidential
The segment featured a photo of Romney and his wife with their
grandchildren and members of a panel were asked to suggest captions.
Actress Pia Glenn sang that "one of these things is not like the
others," while comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the photo "really
sums up the diversity of the Republican Party." Romney later
accepted Harris-Perry's apology.
In December, correspondent Martin Bashir apologized and resigned
from MSNBC because of graphic on-air comments he made about former
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In November,
actor Alec Baldwin was suspended from his MSNBC show after he used a
homophobic term in a confrontation with a photographer on a New York
street. Baldwin's show was later canceled.
MSNBC is owned by Comcast Corp.
(Reporting and writing by Bill Trott; editing by Peter Cooney, G
Crosse and Mohammad Zargham)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.