Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Toss Your Cookies

The right wing has been up in arms about an incident at which Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a conservative Republican who is running for the Senate, was “pelted with Oreos” during a debate in 2002. They claim that Mr. Steele, who is black, is being attacked for his race and the Oreo bombardment is a shameful exhibition of the left-wing’s intolerance of a black man who holds conservative views.

The problem is, though, that no one can confirm that it actually happened. None of the TV stations that were there reported this cookie-pelting, and now the reporter who wrote the story for the Washington Times is backing down from it.

According to numerous reports in the Washington Times, Steele was “pelted” with Oreo cookies, which signifies a racial slur for being black on the outside and white on the inside.

Times reporter S.A. Miller is one of the writers who referenced the incident in news articles on more than one occasion. Miller told WTOP he attended the event in 2002 and saw Steele get hit with cookies.

When pressed, Miller said he couldn’t swear in court that Steele did get hit with cookies because he didn’t actually see it happen.

On Tuesday, Steele told WTOP that he was never hit with Oreos and said the incident has been exaggerated.

“I’ve never claimed that I was hit, no. The one or two that I saw at my feet were there. I just happened to look down and see them,” Steele said.

Fran Coombs, managing editor for the Washington Times, told WTOP Miller denies ever speaking to WTOP and said Miller did not attend the Morgan State event. Miller did not return our calls.

Let’s get this straight: first Mr. Miller tells WTOP he attended the event and saw it happen. Then he says he can’t swear to it because he didn’t actually see it happen. Then the candidate says he wasn’t hit. Then the managing editor says the reporter never spoke to WTOP and never attended the event. Ooookay. Where is Rod Serling when you really need him?