Washington Post media critic Eric Wemple tore into MSNBC host Joy Reid for her "super-bizarro non-apology" while addressing her controversial remarks about Muslims.
During a panel discussion on Monday's edition of "The ReidOut," the host had accused President Trump of "radicalizing" his supporters, comparing them to Islamic extremists.
"Leaders, let's say in the Muslim world, talk a lot of violent talk and encourage their supporters to be willing to commit violence, including on their own bodies, in order to win against whoever they decide is the enemy," Reid had said. "We in the U.S. media describe that as they are radicalizing those people — particularly when they're radicalizing young people. That's how we talk about the way Muslims act. When you see what Donald Trump is doing, is that any different from what we describe as radicalizing people?"
Prominent Muslims including Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., as well as organizations like Muslim Advocates and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the "ReidOut" host to apologize for her remarks. Reid declined to during a panel discussion expanding on the radicalization comparison on Wednesday.
"Thirty seconds would have done the trick. Joy Reid, the MSNBC host who offensively characterized the Muslim world on Monday night, could have faced the camera and regretted the way she’d framed the matter. Then she could have moved on," Wemple began his critique on Thursday, later saying Reid "displayed her mastery of the almost-apology."
Wemple compared Reid's monologue and the panel discussion she held to a "cable-news version of 'The Twilight Zone.'"
While he did acknowledge the "righteous" argument that Reid was attempting to make about how it is only Muslims that are deemed by the media to be "radicalized" and not supporters of President Trump, Wempled called her non-apology "a monument to the U.S. media’s legendary inability to admit wrongdoing."
"The balance of the presentation was cringeworthy: Reid replayed her offensive comments and slipped into a self-punditry role," Wemple explained, referring to Reid's admission that her remarks were "not exactly the most artful way of asking that question."
He then pointed out what he described as a "brain scan" of Reid by her guest Dalia Mogahed of the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, who told Reid, "Fair coverage is important for democracy overall. It’s not just about how Muslims are portrayed. It’s about informing the public and getting them the facts."
"Shouldn’t Reid have been the one to deliver the wrap-up lesson about the media, as part of a mea culpa?" Wemple asked. "We know that Joy Reid can apologize; she did so two years ago, after reporters outed old homophobic posts that she’d written on a blog. Perhaps she decided that her remarks painting the Muslim world as a criminal syndicate didn’t warrant remorse."
He later concluded, "No word on how folks react to an 'unofficial correction via guest proxy,' which describes what Reid orchestrated on Wednesday night."
MEET THE PRESS — Pictured: Joy-Ann Reid, Host, AM Joy appears on "Meet the Press" in Cleveland, OH, Sunday July 17, 2016. — (Photo by: Duane Prokop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Reid not only did not deliver an apology on Wednesday, she even suggested that her critics were not acting in "good faith."
"If Trump was a Muslim leader, not the leader of the Christian right, how would we in the media describe what he's doing?" she began. "I asked that question on Monday and there was a lot of conversation, particularly online, after the segment aired, some of which was frankly not in good faith."
Earlier in the day, CAIR said it had met with NBC to discuss Reid's "offensive" remarks and appeared to have expected an apology during Wednesday evening's broadcast, writing "As we discussed, Ms. Reid must clearly apologize tonight. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in mainstream society."
CAIR later reacted to Reid's non-apology.
“'I was wrong. I apologize,' @JoyAnnReid's refusal to say that tonight was telling & disappointing," CAIR wrote on Twitter. "Although shedding light on Islamophobia with help from @DaliaMogahed was welcome, you must first own your own mistakes. Don't deflect. Don't distract. Just do the right thing."