Newsweek's Adler: 'Harry Reid Is No Trent Lott'

"Harry Reid is no Trent Lott," argues Newsweek's Ben Adler in a January 11 The Gaggle blog post by the same name.

Of course, nowhere in his brief blog post does Adler acknowledge the media's role in why that double standard is in play.

Instead, Adler defends Reid, praising his "frank political assessment":

Turnabout is fair play, right? Well, only if you don't understand the difference between endorsing a pro-civil rights African-American's presidential campaign and anti-civil rights white man's one. Reid's comments, though he used archaic language, were simply a frank political assessment of how America could best achieve the goal of an African-American president. If it were up to the likes Trent Lott, that day would never have come. 

Granted, there's something to that argument that Lott's comments were worse in that they suggested Strom Thurmond's opposition to desegregation would have served the country better, but what gives with the suggestion Obama is more "pro-civil rights" than his Republican opponent was?

What civil rights did Sen. John McCain oppose in Adler's mind, unless, of course, he considers abortion, which Obama staunchly defends, a "civil rights" issue? And if Adler is thinking about same-sex marriage, well, Obama had a decidedly non-liberal position on the campaign trail on that issue too.

What's more, if Reid's comments are a "frank assessment" of how "America could best achieve the goal of an African-American president," what does that say about both Reid's, and for that matter Adler's, assessment of the American electorate as racist bigots? Isn't that a legitimate issue to explore, given Reid's leadership status in the U.S. Senate?

As my colleague Mike Sargent noted in October, Adler felt it necessary to lecture the American public -- or rather the small, unfortunate slice of it that reads Newsweek -- as to why the freshman  commander-in-chief deserves the Nobel Prize, for which he was nominated after barely a few days in office:

Here are the reasons they give for President Obama’s worthiness:

•    President Obama will most likely be remembered as the greatest civil-rights hero since Martin Luther King Jr., because he won the presidency.
•    His platform was one of multilateralism and foreign engagement – at times, to the left of some of his own party members.
•    He worked in the Senate with Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
•    He has given some really awesome speeches in Philadelphia (the race speech), Berlin (huge crowd!), and at the last two Democratic conventions.

No, really; those are the reasons they cite.

In retrospect it makes sense why these paltry criteria are sufficient for Adler. Like Reid, he seems to think the American people are ignorant racists who need to be won over by style over substance. As Americans saw lack of substance supporting Obama's Nobel win, Adler had little to offer but recounting Obama's gifts as an orator.

What's more, given that recent polling data show President Obama and liberal Democrats aren't winning over the public on substance, it's no wonder why liberals in the media like Adler are scrambling to sweep up the debris from this mini-scandal in order to prevent damage to the Democrats' push to pass their left-wing health care agenda.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters