MSNBC president Phil Griffin apologized Thursday for a tweet by the network that outraged conservatives, and said that the person who wrote it has been fired.
MSNBC tweeted Wednesday night, "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family." The message referred to the backlash against a Cheerios commercial in 2013, and the network apologized for the tweet shortly thereafter.
Then, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus decided to turn the tweet into his issue of the day, calling on conservatives to boycott MSNBC. He also demanded an apology from Griffin, even though neither he nor Republicans had been mentioned in the tweet.
Griffin, perhaps sensing that the tweet was turning into a major problem, offered a lengthy apology on Thursday afternoon, including a personal apology to Priebus:
The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet.
I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.
In a signal of just how much the political fracas had mushroomed, the RNC later said that Griffin and Priebus spoke on the phone, and that Priebus has accepted Griffin's apology:
RNC: We appreciate Mr. Griffin’s admission that their comment was demeaning and disgusting, and the Chairman accepted his apology
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 30, 2014
This is the latest apology from MSNBC, which has been involved in a string of controversies in recent months. The tweet and network's subsequent response comes after the departures of former MSNBC hosts Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, and Melissa Harris-Perry's apology for joking about Mitt Romney's adopted grandson earlier this month.