On Monday morning, only NBC's Today deemed President Obama
being mocked during a rodeo at the Missouri State Fair to be national
news, going so far as to wonder if it was "Rodeo Racism" and playing a sound bite of one spectator declaring the incident to be "Like an effigy at a Klan rally." Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning mentioned the local controversy. [Listen to the audio]
The mockery in question involved a rodeo clown wearing a Barack Obama mask and being chased by a bull, with the announcer shouting: "As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move. He's going to getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!" While certainly inappropriate, the comparison of the event to a "Klan rally" by Perry Beam – a spectator who took video of the incident – was over the top.
Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo described the scene: "Fair-goers say
the crowd cheered as the other clowns prodded him and played with his
lips, while one of the announcers asked repeatedly if they wanted to see
the President, quote, 'run down by a bull.'"
After Beam made his Ku Klux Klan reference, Schiavocampo added: "He calls the stunt inappropriately partisan for an event that receives taxpayer money."
"Inappropriately partisan" media outlets PBS and NPR also receive taxpayer money, but NBC routinely defends them.
Schiavocampo touted how "Missouri politicians from both parties have expressed outrage over the incident," reading statements from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder.
Here is a full transcript of the August 12 report:
7:01AM ET TEASE:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Also, we're covering another story this morning, a bit of a controversy at the Missouri State Fair. A rodeo clown dawned a President Obama mask and then announcers openly mocked. Well, residents and politicians on both sides of the aisle are not happy. We'll have details on that.
7:20AM ET TEASE:
DAVID GREGORY: And coming up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [RODEO ANNOUNCER]: As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move, he's going to getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!
GREGORY: The rodeo at the Missouri State Fair drawing outrage for openly mocking President Obama.
7:31AM ET SEGMENT:
GUTHRIE: We're going to begin this half hour, though, with a controversy at the Missouri State Fair, where announcers and a rodeo clown are under fire for mocking the President. NBC's Mara Schiavocampo has the story.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Rodeo Racism? Clown Wears President Obama Mask]
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [RODEO ANNOUNCER]: It's Obama!
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Caught on camera, a rodeo clown wearing a President Obama mask getting jeered by announcers at the Missouri state fair on Saturday.
RODEO ANNOUNCER: As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move. He's going to getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Fair-goers say the crowd cheered as the other clowns prodded him and played with his lips, while one of the announcers asked repeatedly if they wanted to see the President, quote, "run down by a bull."
ANNOUNCER: This bull's gonna get you Obama, he's going to getcha!
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Perry Beam was in the audience and filmed the incident on his cell phone.
PERRY BEAM: Like an effigy at a Klan rally. There'd have been no reason to mess with his lips if he'd had been a white president.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: He calls the stunt inappropriately partisan for an event that receives taxpayer money.
ANNOUNCER: President Obama. Hey, I know I'm a clown. He's just running around acting like one, doesn't know he is one.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Missouri politicians from both parties have expressed outrage over the incident. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill issued a statement on Sunday, calling the rodeo act, quote, "shameful and unacceptable," urging her home state to be, quote, "better than this." Missouri's lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder, a Republican, tweeted, "I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night." And asked Governor Jay Nixon "to hold the people responsible for the other night accountable."
For Today, Mara Schiavocampo, NBC News, New York.
GUTHRIE: Well, fair organizers have released a statement that says, "The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday's event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark."
NATALIE MORALES: That was pretty crazy.
GUTHRIE: It is, indeed.