Blow Says No to Conservative Talk After Tussling With Laura Ingraham Over 'Minstrel Show' Smear

Charles Blow conducts a testy interview with host Laura Ingraham in which he admits he saw no "overt racism" at the Tea Party he attended, and refused to explain why he still accused minority Tea Party activists as conducting a "minstrel show."
Times columnist Charles Blow accused black Tea Party activists of engaging in "a political minstrel show" for the mostly white movement in his Saturday column, "A Mighty Pale Tea." In response, radio host Laura Ingraham invited him on her show to explain himself. Blow admitted he saw no "overt racism" at the Tea Party he attended, yet refused to explain why he still accused minority Tea Party activists as conducting a "minstrel show."

You can listen to the audio at Eyeblast. The partial transcript below starts roughly around the 3:30 mark.)

Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters provided the audio link and also a transcript of the first part of the testy ten-minute interview:

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: So, what was the worst display of overt racism that you witnessed?


CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: I didn't say I had witnessed any overt...

INGRAHAM: You called it a minstrel show, Charles. Those are kind of loaded terms, don't you think?

BLOW: Did I say that I had witnessed any overt racism at...

INGRAHAM: What's a minstrel, what's a minstrel show?

BLOW: What is racism to you, Laura?

INGRAHAM: No, the other way around where racism is someone...

BLOW: What is racism to you, Laura?

INGRAHAM: You know what I think is racism? I think racism is someone who judges another person based on the color of his or her skin without knowing anything about the individual, without talking to the individual, without interviewing the individual, without having a conversation with the individual.

Blow then moved on to Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's interview with GQ magazine.

INGRAHAM: Why are we on GQ magazine? Why aren't we on the Tea Party. I'm interested in how you came to the conclusion that this was a minstrel show and you're avoiding the topic by going to a Michael Steele interview. Why?

BLOW: Because you're trying to pretend that racism does not exist, and...

INGRAHAM: Did I say that? When did I say that?

BLOW: Did I say that I saw any racism, overt racism at the conference? That's not what I, did I write that? Did you read that somewhere? Or are you making that up?

INGRAHAM: "Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness..." Now, I like the sentence because it's well-written, but what I don't understand is what is an acceptable minstrel show then, a non-racist minstrel show?

BLOW: That is, that is a ridiculous question. What does that even mean?

INGRAHAM: Actually it's a, actually it's a good question, and it points out the absurdity of your column, because you would have written this column regardless of what you saw.

BLOW: You're really a - are you serious? Is that a real question?

INGRAHAM: So, in other words you can't answer the question.

BLOW: Is that a real question?

INGRAHAM: You said you're not describing this as overtly racist. I quoted your column back to you, and your response is to say, "Is that really a question?" I don't, we had you on because I actually was interested to hear why you came away from this column, this event, as calling it a minstrel show. And you can't answer that question which I find disturbing for a New York Times columnist.

Not surprisingly, Monday's appearance was apparently Blow's first and last on conservative talk radio. He wrote on his Twitter account:

Alright, I'm finished with the Laura Ingraham show. Now I need a shower. Gross.

Blow followed up later:

Now I'm getting more requests from conservative radio shows. Too bad. Did my tour in crazy town today. Ur too late.