Yesterday, NPR reported
an unclear snippet of audio as former Senator Rick Santorum having said the word "black" when discussing individuals becoming dependent on government's redistribution of wealth, as opposed to being able to go out and earn their money themselves.
As per Tommy Christopher at Mediaite
, a new, cleaner version of the clip does not support that conclusion.
NPR’s Ted Robbins noted: “Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care."
CBS doubled down
on the error, offering a brief transcript with the clip:
While campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said if elected he plans to cut regulations and entitlements and he doesn't want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."
In fact, Santorum was addressing a predominantly white crowd and the questionable portion of the audio was preceded by his saying (emphasis added), "They're just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you
dependent on them so they can get your vote." Given the crowd and context, race wouldn't factor into what he was saying. It's far more likely that Santorum simply stumbled, pausing to interject "people's" after first beginning to say "lives" without it, producing a short muddled sound.
“I don’t want to make…(inaudible)…people’s lives better” is what it sounds like to me, although CBS News also transcribes it as “”make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
It would appear that, rather than take time to listen more carefully, placing the muddled audio in context, or confirming Santorum's quote with the campaign, NPR and then CBS simply assumed the worst, or more controversial, interpretation--however inaccurate.