President Obama Uses N-Word on Marc Maron's 'WTF' Podcast Interview

AP Images
Barack Obama

CNN and CBS did not censor the expletive when airing a clip of the conversation, while Fox News and MSNBC did.

President Barack Obama didn't hold back once inside Marc Maron's garage.

Obama paused his packed schedule while visiting Los Angeles on Friday to appear on the comedian's podcast, WTF With Marc Maron, during which he used the N-word in a discussion about racism.

"I always tell young people, in particular, do not say that nothing has changed when it comes to race in America, unless you've lived through being a black man in the 1950s or '60s or '70s," he said during the chat, which posted online on Monday. "It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours, and that opportunities have opened up and that attitudes have changed. That is a fact.

"What is also true is that the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives — that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it — racism, we're not cured of it," he continued.

"And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say 'n—' in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."

In covering the conversation, CNN did not censor the expletive, publishing the note: "Had it been said by anyone else, the N-word likely would have been obscured with dashes. Executives at CNN, the owner of this website, decided Monday morning to air the audio without bleeping it, but to do so judiciously, only when the full context is included. Similarly, CNN.com spelled out the word in its story about the interview, but not in the headline."

CBS did not bleep out the word when airing a clip of the conversation on Monday morning, reports CNN, while Fox News and MSNBC did.

The Associated Press did not censor the word in its wire coverage, but subscribers NBC News and CBS News did. NBCNews.com and CBSNews.com, for example, published the AP's write-up on their websites, but each outlet scrubbed the middle four letters of the word. ABCNews.com censored the word with dashes in an online article.

During the podcast, Obama also touched on the topic of gun violence, following the Charleston church shooting that left nine people dead.

"It’s not enough to just feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely, and one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic, common-sense gun safety laws, that by the way, the majority of gun owners support," he said. "This is unique to our country. There is no other advanced nation on Earth that tolerates multiple shootings on a regular basis and considers it normal. To some degree, that's what happened in this country."

He noted that part of the problem is that "each time that these events occur, ironically, gun manufacturers make out like bandits. Partly because of this fear that the federal government and the black helicopters are all coming to get your guns.”

And the other part: “Is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something, or confused about something, or is racist, or is, you know, deranged from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing and can do enormous harm? And that is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with."

Will things change? “Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change, and we’re going to change it.’ And if you don’t have that kind of public and voter pressure, then it’s not going to change from the inside."

Listen to the full WTF With Marc Maron episode here (with his comments on racism beginning just after the 45-minute mark and his Charleston remarks starting at the 15-minute mark).

comments powered by Disqus