An MSNBC political analyst questioned why US news outlets were devoting so much coverage to the death of Queen Elizabeth II — and claimed the answer was “weakness in the American character.”
Richard Stengel, who once served as Under Secretary of State in the Obama administration, called attention to the downsides of the Queen’s legacy as MSNBC aired footage of mourners gathering outside Buckingham Palace.
“You played a clip of her speaking in Cape Town in 1947, in South Africa. That’s the year apartheid took effect in South Africa,” Stengel said. “That was something British colonialism ushered in. British colonialism, which she presided over, had a terrible effect on much of the world.”
“To your earlier question, why are American news networks dedicating all this time to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral – I think it’s a good question,” Stengel added. “There’s a weakness in the American character that still yearns for that era of hereditary privilege, which is the very thing that we escaped from.”
Stengel acknowledged that the sharp remarks made him “the skunk at the garden party.” MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace seemed slightly taken back, but noted Stengel was “keeping it real” about the situation.
Fellow panelist and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson disagreed with Stengel’s take.
“Rick, I’m not sure that we yearn for this hereditary privilege. I think we enjoy watching all the pomp and circumstance and following the soap opera of the royal family and the fairy tale aspect of it, but I don’t know that that’s something we have any sort of deep hankering for,” said Robinson.
Queen Elizabeth’s death prompted an array of reactions on news networks and social media, with countless world and business leaders expressing their condolences. Others, such as Carnegie Mellon University associate professor Uju Anya, took a much harsher view on the queen’s life.
Buckingham Palace announced the queen’s death shortly after sharing that doctors were “concerned” about her health. Queen Elizabeth passed away at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland.