Fox News' Alan Colmes noted the inconsistencies in media accounts of an alleged incident in which political opponents of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele -- an African-American Republican -- purportedly threw Oreo cookies at him. Media Matters for America has previously documented the many conflicting -- and often contradictory -- accounts of the alleged Oreo incident offered by the media and by Steele himself.
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On the April 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes noted the inconsistencies in media accounts of an alleged incident during which political opponents of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele -- an African-American Republican -- purportedly threw Oreo cookies at him. Media Matters for America has previously documented (here, here, and here) the many conflicting -- and often contradictory -- accounts of the alleged Oreo incident offered by the media and by Steele himself.
The Oreo incident is alleged to have occurred at the September 26, 2002, Maryland gubernatorial debate between Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. As Media Matters noted, members of the media have characterized the purported incident as a racial slur of Steele, who is now running for U.S. Senate -- Oreo cookies being "black on the outside" but "white on the inside." But initial accounts of the debate by the media and Steele himself made no mention of Oreo cookies. The Oreo allegations originated well after the debate -- made by members of Ehrlich's staff -- and are disputed by eyewitnesses present at the event.
In interviewing Steele, Colmes referred to "a story about you being 'pelted' ... with Oreo cookies," but noted that "then the Associated Press said that as you left this particular debate, where this allegedly happened, there were Oreos rolled up on the floor and that pelting didn't exactly take place." He then invited Steele to offer his description of what took place at the debate.
As Media Matters previously noted, the allegation that Steele was "pelt[ed]" with Oreos originated in a November 2, 2005, Washington Times article by reporter S.A. Miller, who later backed away from his story. Members of the Ehrlich administration had not previously alleged that Steele was hit by Oreo cookies. Colmes apparently also referred to a November 14, 2005, AP article in which Steele was quoted saying that Oreo cookies "fell on the floor" and "rolled up next to my shoe" as he left the debate.
In his interview with Colmes, Steele offered a description of the alleged Oreo incident similar to the account he gave to the AP. But as Media Matters previously noted, this is only one of the several versions of the story Steele has offered -- one of which included the allegation that Oreo cookies "hit my shoes," while another included the statement that "I've never claimed that I was hit."
From the November 14, 2005, AP article:
Steele told The Associated Press Monday that Oreo cookies were tossed in his general direction as he left the debate at Morgan State University.
"They fell on the floor; two rolled up next to my shoe," Steele said. "I remember turning to someone and saying, 'Anyone got a glass of milk?"'
Ehrlich said he did not personally see cookies thrown at Steele because he was on stage. He also said he doesn't know who might have thrown them. But spokesmen Greg Massoni and Paul Schurick, who were with the governor in College Park, reiterated Monday that the cookie-throwing had occurred.
From the April 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
COLMES: Let me ask you this. You were -- there was a story about you being "pelted" was the word used, with Oreo cookies, which is a terrible thing. It shouldn't happen.
COLMES: And then the Associated Press said that as you left this particular debate where this allegedly happened, there were Oreos rolled up on the floor and that pelting didn't exactly take place. How would you describe what actually happened?
STEELE: Well, what actually -- and, you know, let's just be clear about what happened since I was there. When I finished -- when we finished the debate, this was for the debate for Governor Ehrlich and myself for this office in 2002.
When the debate was over, I was leaving. As I was leaving the auditorium, I noticed at my feet Oreo cookies, and they were there. There were two or three there. I turned to a friend and said, "Got milk?" You know, I was like, "Hey, what's up with this?"
I got the joke. You know, here is a guy, he's black on the outside, white on the inside, ha ha. It happened.
But what it speaks to is this -- a certain sadness by some who don't understand that that's what people hate about politics. They hate that kind of political behavior that seeks personal destruction as opposed to let's battle it out on the ideas of the day, to come to some consensus on how we move together and move forward.
And, you know, it's just part of what you have to go through as a black Republican, where people are afraid of your message and how you deliver and the response you're getting from people.