In a comment that’s bound to outrage Hispanic Americans, NBC’s Matt Lauer referred to outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a “piñata.”
On Tuesday morning’s “Today” show, Lauer spoke with Democratic pundit James Carville about Gonzales and “the venom in Washington right now,” and said:
“When it comes right down to it, strange dynamic, an only-in Washington story. There are a lot of Democrats who just victimized and villainized Alberto Gonzales over these last eight months, but when it comes right down to it this morning, are not all that happy he’s gone, because in some ways, they’ve lost a piñata, haven’t they?”
A piñata is a brightly-coloured paper container filled with sweets and/or toys. It is generally suspended on a rope from a tree branch or ceiling and is commonly used during Mexican celebrations. A person then swings at the pinata in an attempt to break it open and release the gifts.
On the NewsBusters Web site, Noel Sheppard noted: “In a post-Don Imus world, one would think journalists would be on their guard to not say or write anything that could be in any way perceived as racist…
“Certainly, given Gonzales’ ethnic background [he is the son of Mexican-American immigrants], and the context of the discussion, mightn’t ‘whipping boy’ or ‘punching bag’ have been more appropriate?”
Lauer’s remark came just days after CBS’s Andy Rooney made a racial slur about Hispanic baseball players, saying “today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me.”
Sheppard wondered if there will be a “Don Imus outrage” over Lauer’s remark, and said: “No, I don’t either.”
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