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Tom Brokaw in Hot Water

Jan 28, 2019  •  Post A Comment

NBC News stalwart Tom Brokaw is doing damage control — or at least trying to — after he made comments on the air about Hispanics that offended some viewers.

Appearing on “Meet the Press,” Brokaw reportedly said “the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” with that comment being poorly received by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, among others. (Click here to read the full NAHJ response.)

The New York Post quotes Brokaw saying during the “Meet the Press” appearance: “A lot of this we don’t want to talk about but the fact is on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary important new constituency in American politics — Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats. I hear when I push people a little harder, ‘I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.’ That’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.”

One of his fellow “Meet the Press” panelists, PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, was among those condemning Brokaw’s comments after the segment.

The Post quotes Alcindor saying: “I would just say that we also need to adjust what we think of as America. You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”

Brokaw got busy on social media following the incident, attempting to do damage control and offering an apology. But his efforts may have made matters worse.

Among his comments on Twitter, Brokaw wrote: “I feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture. From my days reporting on cesar chavez to documenting the many contributions of hispanics in all parts of our culture I’ve worked hard to knock down false stereo types. In my final comment in Meet i said ALL sides hv to work harder at finding common ground — which i strongly believe dialogue not division.”

The NAHJ was less than convinced, responding: “The ‘sorry some Hispanics were offended’ apology tweeted by Tom Brokaw earlier this evening is not an apology at all. It only further demonstrates Brokaw’s lack of understanding of what forced assimilation does to communities.”

Click here to read the full response by the NAHJ.

3 Comments

  1. Time for this old bag to retire.

  2. Time for jealous youngsters to be more respectful to their elders.

  3. Yes, he is an elder, and during his long career he’s been empathetic with, and as best a white man can be sympathetic to, the long struggles of minority Americans to gain equal status. That’s not an opinion of a reader but a fact: the Civil Rights Museum recognized his lifetime’s work in 2014 (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/30/civil-rights-museum-to-honor-tom-brokaw/).

    Unfortunately, our growing reliance on snippets of information (the bits and bytes presented as headlines or summaries of news stories) has no room for context–in this case, the lifetime of a man who has long supported civil rights for all. Given this history, he has earned presumption of innocence. It’s unfortunate that pop spinsters driven by short-term hits can’t take the time to realize who this man is and what he has done.

    Brokaw’s follow-up to a poor choice of words had nothing to do with “saving face”–those are the words of silly people looking for a headline. It was to acknowledge how his words may have hurt someone. This is precisely what you expect from a person of Brokaw’s character. He deserves a chance to explain himself and to have his apologies recognized.

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