As NewsBusters previously reported, former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson said Saturday, "Many on the political right believe this president [Barack Obama] ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!”
On CNN Newsroom Sunday, Don Lemon agreed with Donaldson's indefensible observation (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DON LEMON: There’s a huge difference between Sam Donaldson and Neil Munro. For starters, who the hell is Neil Munro? Mr. Donaldson’s very dignified response reads like this. “Never once did I interrupt a president in any way while he was making a formal statement.”
Donaldson says what Munro did was “something new, to me wrong and unusual.” He also said, “Let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!”
Finally, the elephant in the Rose Garden. Thank you, Sam Donaldson – enough said there.
Very dignified response? Hardly. As I wrote Saturday:
There's nothing different about what the Right said about former President Bill Clinton than what they're currently saying about Obama...And no matter what we've seen from conservative talkers and the Tea Party with regard to Obama, it doesn't come close to the virulence we witnessed aimed at George W. Bush from the Left.
I don't recall conservatives saying liberal attacks on Bush were racist. Do you, Don?
As I asked Lemon on Twitter, is everything with Obama about race? Can anyone in the media criticize this president without it being about the color of his skin?
Sadly, Lemon didn't like my question, and retreated.
But the point is important.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about Munro's behavior in the Rose Garden Friday, claiming it had anything to do with the president being black is offensive and demeaning.
For well over two hundred years, journalists have been able to criticize the White House resident without being accused of racism.
Does that have to be different for the first black president?
When Obama first threw his candidate hat into the ring in February 2007, many on the right worried that it would be difficult covering him because all critiques would be met with accusations of racism.
Over five years later, this is still the case.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Saturday in response to Donaldson's remarks, "The President's ideas are what I oppose, not his skin color, which I couldn't care less about. He's the President of the United States and his race does not inoculate or immunize him from substantive critique."
But that's not really true, is it?
For over five years, media members like Lemon have been throwing the race card at every conservative having the gall to criticize Obama.
Much as the president three and a half years into his first term still blames all of the problems in the world on his predecessor, the press castigate every conservative with a less than favorable view of the White House resident as racist.
Will this man and his record ever be allowed to be judged exclusively for what they are irrespective of the color of his skin?
Or is that asking too much?
— Noel Sheppard (@NoelSheppard) June 9, 2012