One of the biggest talking points coming out of Obama’s State of the Union address tonight has nothing to do with the President’s agenda for the year — instead, the chatter currently threatening to overwhelm any serious discussion of national issues is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews commenting in the aftermath that “I forgot [Obama] was black tonight for an hour.”
Unfortunately, while Matthews went on soon afterwards to clarify the intention behind that statement on Rachel Maddow’s show (and quick thinking there, MSNBC — it’s like you know how to read Twitter or something)…
…The fact remains that the original statement is one of those classic blunders that people just love to clip and recirculate, mostly on YouTube, and his clarification (which is a bit opaque) is unlikely to do much to change matters. Within only one or two hours after Matthews made his comment, at least 10 videos emerged documenting the moment (including the one embedded above from user thinkprocess), with over two hundred cumulative comments being left. By Thursday morning, the incident likely to have exploded well beyond these numbers.
But as viral as it gets, it’s still a zero-sum game. While MSNBC’s web site might see a bump, the overall monetization possibilities are few — especially since it’s hard to imagine them promoting a video of one of their network stars making an inflammatory comment. And as important a conversation as this might be to have, I doubt that we’re going to find a complex discussion of race relations as they relate to our nation’s 44th president in that font of intelligent discourse: YouTube comments.