Update: MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized for the tweet and said he fired the staffer responsible; the RNC has accepted the apology.
In the aftermath of a Twitter firestorm, the Republican National Committee is shunning MSNBC.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a memo Thursday that he’s demanding an apology from MSNBC president Phil Griffin after a tweet from the liberal cable news channel’s account generated a furor among conservatives.
The since-deleted tweet referred to a Super Bowl ad from Cheerios that portrays a biracial family.
“Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” the tweet read.
MSNBC later apologized.
“Until [Griffin] takes internal corrective action and personally apologizes—not just to the RNC but to all right-of-center Americans—I’m banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” Priebus said in the memo.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer, a frequent guest on MSNBC programs, said that while he has a good relationship with the channel, ultimately Griffin must take responsibility for the tweet.
“At the end of the day, Mr. Griffin is the president of the network,” Spicer told TPM. “He should be held accountable for his network and employees.”
Spicer also echoed Priebus, who pointed to Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir as examples of MSNBC hosts who “have had a troubling streak in the last several weeks of making comments that belittle and demean Americans without furthering any thoughtful dialogue.” Baldwin and Bashir each parted ways with MSNBC following their recent controversies.
“There is a disturbing pattern from the network and its hosts,” Spicer said, although he indicated that the RNC still respects MSNBC programs like “Morning Joe.”
It’s not the first time Priebus has issued an ultimatum to the peacock. He demanded last year that NBC pull a planned miniseries on Hillary Clinton or risk losing its partnerships with the RNC for 2016 presidential debates. The network eventually scrapped the miniseries.
This post has been updated.
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