During a short segment on MSNBC on Wednesday morning, while an on-screen graphic read "Romney's KKK Slogan?," anchor Thomas Roberts mentioned a story from AMERICAblog, which linked a Romney stump phrase to a twenties rally cry used by the Ku Klux Klan. The phrase is "Keep America American." Roberts said:
So you may not hear Mitt Romney say "Keep America American" anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the KKK group, and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews, and the progressive AMERICAblog was the first to catch on to that.
AMERICAblog's story appeared on its site on Tuesday, and it's backed by sources that indicate that the phrase was indeed used by the Klan. So then why did Hardball host Chris Matthews issue a vehement apology on behalf of MSNBC? That's precisely what the author of the AMERICAblog post John Aravosis wants to know. Matthews made the apology during the 5 p.m. hour:
The network reported on a blog item that compared a phrase used by the Romney campaign to one used by the KKK way back in the 1920s. It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this, and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize, we really do, to the Romney campaign.
But here's another I word: Was the report that Romney used a phrase once embraced by an extremist, white-clad hate group inaccurate? It appears not.
Matthews issued the MSNBC mea culpa for reporting what he termed an irresponsible and incendiary story, though, not an inaccuracy. Romney's campaign didn't specify what was misreported either, according to the New York Times.
We don't doubt that MSNBC is sorry for choosing the story, but probably not for the reasons cited.