As The Hill points out, Ted Cruz isn’t actually of Mexican descent, which makes this faceplant by Steven Liesman on CNBC yesterday even more obnoxious than it already was. Liesman, who blamed Ted Cruz for delaying the September jobs report from the BLS because of the shutdown, decided to title the data the “Senator Ted Cruz Jobs Report,” which certainly falls within the bounds of a supportable argument, whether one agrees with it or not. It’s when Liesman called for a soundtrack that CNBC got into trouble:
“We’re going to call this the ‘Senator Ted Cruz Jobs Report’,” Liesman said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“There he is!” Liesman shouted when the network showed a picture of Cruz.
“Can we get some music to go along with that, some Mexican music or something?”
Cruz’s father was born in Cuba and his mother is of Irish and Italian descent. Neither are of Mexican descent.
Normally, I’d tend to dismiss this kind of ignorance as unremarkable; there are a lot of fools, and the media has its share, and more. But with the doyenne of Salon shrieking about racism with every legitimate criticism of Barack Obama and opposition to his policies, including the shutdown about which Liesman gripes about here because a government report was late, the somewhat-more-than-latent hostility expressed about Cruz’ heritage (or non-heritage, as it turns out) is well worth noting.
In the future, if media outlets want a soundtrack for Ted Cruz stories that poke fun at his heritage, they should probably stick with this song, which would be slightly more accurate:
Personally, though, I prefer this, and it’s even more accurate for Cruz’ heritage:
Update: I didn’t realize that the screen grab from the video showed Joe Kernan rather than Steve Liesman. I’ve replaced it with a photo of Liesman.
Update: Liesman apologized earlier today:
Regarding my recent remark on Squawk Box regarding Senator Ted Cruz, I first want to deeply and sincerely apologize if my remarks were insensitive.
Second, I want to explain that it was not intended to be offensive in any way.
I thought of him only as an American senator from Texas, and in an attempt, on the fly, to choose music representing that state, I chose Mexican music.
As a musician for many decades, I’ve played and listened to tons of Texas songs infused with Mexican themes. A better choice would have been Country/Western or Texas Roadhouse Blues – it was a bad reach all the way around.