Radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham accused President Obama of “play[ing] to the sentiment” of the audience when responding to a question on race relations from Black Entertainment Television (BET), arguing that Obama made different remarks during an ABC interview on the same subject. In fact, Obama's answers during the interviews were similar, emphasizing the progress made in the United States on race since the Civil Rights era.
Ingraham Accuses Obama Of Changing His Answers On Race Relations For BET Interview
Ingraham: Obama Changed Answer On Racial Progress For BET Because He Was “Channeling Their Sentiment” On Racism. On the December 8 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, radio host Ingraham claimed that Obama struck “quite a different note” during his December 8 BET interview than he did with comments made during a previous ABC interview on racial progress. Ingraham claimed that during his BET interview, Obama was “channeling their sentiment that it's all rigged”:
INGRAHAM: It's is quite a different note than he struck when he was with Stephanopoulos, he said you can't say things haven't got better over the last 20, 30, 40 years, things have gotten better in this country. It's weird, does he change his answer depending on what forum he's speaking to? So when he's speaking to BET, he's channeling their sentiment that it's all rigged, and black people can't get ahead, there's institutional racism, in university settings, police settings, entertainment industry, military, pretty much everywhere there's racism. So he kind of plays to that sentiment, then when he goes on ABC it's, no, well, we have hurdles but things have gotten better. I hate it when people do that. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 12/8/14]
Obama's BET Interview Echoed Comments Made On ABC, Where He Said Progress Has Been Made On Race
Obama On BET: It's “Important To Recognize The Progress The United States Has Made On Civil Rights.” According to Yahoo News, during his interview on BET, President Obama said it's “important to recognize the progress the United States has made on civil rights” (emphasis added):
“This is something that's deeply rooted in our society, it's deeply rooted in our history,” Obama told BET News in the interview. “But the two things that are going to allow us to solve it: No. 1 is the understanding that we have made progress. And so it's important to recognize -- as painful as these incidents are -- we can't equate what's happening now to what was happening 50 years ago.
”If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they'll tell you that things are better -- not good, in some cases, but better," he continued. “And the reason it's important for us to understand progress has been made is that then gives us hope that we can make even more progress.” [Yahoo News, 12/8/14]
Obama On ABC: “My Own Experience Tells Me That Race Relations Continue To Improve.” During a November 23 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, “There's no way to say that somehow race relations are worse now than they were 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or 50 years ago” (emphasis added):
OBAMA: Well, you know, we go in sort of ebbs and flows. I think that my own experience tells me that race relations continue to improve. If you think about just in our lifetimes -- we're about the same age - where we've traveled, there's no way to say that somehow race relations are worse now than they were 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or 50 years ago. Part of what happens is that they get a lot more attention today -- occasionally problems that used to be pretty common 20, 30 years ago weren't videotaped. [ABC, This Week, 11/23/14]