Politico's Roger Simon: Being Racist Helps in Republican Primaries
There are times when I'm sickened by what I see so-called journalists do on television.
Sunday was one of those times when Politico's Roger Simon, appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, said being "a little bit racist perhaps, gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary. It shows them you're on the same side as they are" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: Can I just say one thing about the birther issue? It's not a fun issue to poke somebody on. It is more than a little bit racist. It grew, not everyone who believes it is a racist, but it grew out of the belief that a black man could not be legitimately elected to the President of the United States. Now why would Perry use that in the primaries instead of saving it for the general when he's running against President Obama? Well, it's because being extreme perhaps, and, a little bit racist perhaps, gives you good bona fides in a Republican primary. It shows them you're on the same side as they are.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: So it’s a bit of a dog whistle.
Maybe Simon ought to talk to his colleague at Politico Ben Smith who informed MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on April 22 of this year that birtherism was created by Hillary Clinton supporters when they correctly feared that Barack Obama was going to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008:
BEN SMITH, POLITICO: Actually, what it goes back to is the Clinton campaign, and not Clinton herself or her staff, but her supporters. As she was losing in the sort of really bitter spring of 2008, some of her passionate supporters were kind of grasping at straws for, you know, reasons he could be ineligible to run for president. Some of them said, “Well maybe his father’s a foreigner. Maybe that means he’s not a citizen.” And they got very excited about that, and then they looked at the law, and that turned out not to be true. And this was sort of a backup strategy, “Oh, what if he was actually born in Kenya?” And it was ludicrous, and they produced ludicrous, forged birth certificates and things like this. And this kind of bubbled through the ’08 campaign.
As such, birtherism didn't grow "out of the belief that a black man could not be legitimately elected to the President of the United States." It was a claim Obama wasn't born in America started by Clinton supporters who just wanted to defeat him.
Why does that little bit of history rarely surface when so-called journalists are discussing birtherism and racism in American politics?
Far more importantly, why is acceptable for someone like Simon to go on national television and accuse Republican primary voters of being racist especially in the context of birtherism which was created by Democratic primary voters?
Sadly, no one on the set including host Howard Kurtz offered a challenge to this deplorable nonsense.
I wonder why.