It was one of those moments that make so much of the culture of 21st-century America cringe-worthy. Last week on NBC’s Meet the Press, longtime network star Tom Brokaw was criticizing supporters of US President Donald Trump and analyzing their fears about immigration, whether of the legal or illegal variety.
During the course of his remarks, Brokaw said something that was judged to be politically incorrect. While he implied that hostile attitudes towards immigration were rooted in racism, he also said the following:
“I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. 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.”
For saying this, Brokaw — a liberal icon and darling of the mainstream media for decades — was called a “white supremacist” by the left-wing Latino Victory political action group. Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 elections Joaquin Castro accused him of “xenophobia.” The National Association of Hispanic Journalists went even further. Its president, Hugo Balta of MSNBC, denounced the very idea of assimilation, saying “assimilation is denying one culture for the other.”