Following Bryant Gumbel's remarks on HBO's Real Sports, in which he stated that the "paucity of blacks" at the Winter Olympics "makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention," John Gibson accused Gumbel of "granting himself the right to be racist just to throw an elbow at Republicans." Additionally, Sean Hannity falsely accused Gumbel of "insinuating" that Republicans are racist.
Following sports broadcaster Bryant Gumbel's remarks on the February 7 edition of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, in which he stated that the "paucity of blacks" at the Winter Olympics "makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention," Fox News host John Gibson accused Gumbel of "granting himself the right to be racist just to throw an elbow at Republicans." Gibson made his comments on the February 17 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson. The following week on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity falsely accused Gumbel of "insinuating" that Republicans are racist.
A portion of Gumbel's criticism of the Winter Olympics was rebroadcast on the February 16 edition of CNN's Showbiz Tonight:
GUMBEL: So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a "kiss-and-cry area" while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sports writers pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon, and all those other events they don't understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years.
Gibson asserted that in making this statement, Gumbel was "granting himself the right to be racist just to throw an elbow at Republicans."
From the February 17 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: Now it's time for "My Word." I was thinking about what Bryant Gumbel said. Believe it or not, I don't mean the part about the Winter Olympics being so white it looks like a GOP convention. That was only Bryant granting himself the right to be racist just to throw an elbow at Republicans. Yeah, we know, Bryant, you're lib. Fine. We get it.
Additionally, Hannity falsely accused Gumbel of "insinuating that a group of people" -- specifically Republicans -- "are racist."
From the February 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, which featured Democratic strategist Michael Brown and conservative author John McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:
HANNITY: Michael Brown, let me go to you. There's nothing about being overly sensitive to, or tongue-in-cheek about, basically insinuating that a group of people are racist, and that's what Bryant Gumbel did here.
And he is overtly playing a race card, which is despicable and ought to be condemned by people, because it's inaccurate, number one; it's not productive, number two; and it's offensive to people that are Republican that -- that -- you know, when we look at a president that has appointed more people to higher positions that are African-American than any other president --
BROWN: Sean, you and I have talked about this a million times.
HANNITY: -- it's offensive. It's offensive.
McWHORTER: And when we look at the Republican Party who created welfare reform, which is decreasing black child poverty rates and has ever since 1996, the idea that Republicans are anti-black is also just medication. It's an old-fashioned idea. If we all vote for one party, we're powerless.
Notwithstanding the characterizations of Gumbel's statement by Gibson, Hannity, and McWhorter, Gumbel is not the first to note the racial homogeneity of Republican conventions. Discussing the racial composition of the 2000 Republican National Convention, New York Times columnist David Brooks -- then a senior editor at The Weekly Standard -- wrote in the August 14, 2000, issue of the Standard:
It started on Monday with a Hispanic girl singing the national anthem, a black Baptist minister preaching by video from the pulpit of his church, an Asian-American woman celebrating the virtues of voluntarism, and a black retired general defending affirmative action. It concluded on Thursday with a California politician delivering a speech in Spanish, a Mexican dancer in a big sombrero crooning Latin tunes that were cliches back in the day of Ricky Ricardo, and the African-American singer Chaka Khan singing a final number as the delegates walked out into the night. This wasn't a normal political convention. This was reparative therapy for Caucasians. The people in the stands were mostly white, while the people performing were mostly minority, just like at a Utah Jazz basketball game.