NBC News personality Tom Brokaw, who has returned to regular on-air commentary after a brush with #MeToo issues, has run into more controversy over thoughts about immigration he shared on Meet the Press.
Appearing as a panelist on the Sunday morning show (see video via Twitter below), Brokaw said when he “pushes” Americans on the subject of immigration, “They say, ‘Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grand-babies.’ That’s also a part of it, the intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other. I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. … You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”
After the startling take started to ricochet around Twitter — fueled, of course, by right-wing bloggers and activists but also by stupefied Brokaw partisans on the left — the NBC legend responded via Twitter.
“I feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture,” Brokaw tweeted in the first of a multi-part apology. In addition to highlighting his work over the decades on immigration coverage, he emphasized the end of his Meet the Press remarks, which called for “both sides” to work on assimilation.
It took Brokaw no fewer than 10 tweets (see the full sequence below) to express himself. He started out defensive and then repeatedly apologized, blaming his Twitter account for “failing” him “at the worst time.” Coining an instant catch-phrase, he confessed, “My tweet portal is whack.” (To which Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead suggested, “Maybe you should learn to assimilate better on Twitter.”)
Yamiche Alcindor, during the same panel segment, followed Brokaw’s remarks not with a direct reproach but her concern that speaking English remains the measure of assimilation.
“We also need to adjust what we think of as America,” she said. “You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”
Last spring, two women who worked with Brokaw in the 1990s accused the former anchor of sexual misconduct.
When contacted for comment, a Meet the Press rep referred Deadline to Brokaw’s tweeted apology.
Here is the video, followed by Brokaw’s multi-tweet follow-up: