The plight of black conservatives took center stage during Monday's edition of Hannity, a weeknight program on the Fox News Channel. The segment featured footage of African-American radio host David Webb interviewing Alvin Holmes, a Democratic state representative in Alabama who had used the racial slur “Uncle Tom” to describe Clarence Thomas, the black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Only the Fox News Channel has reported this story on TV.
Holmes said he stands behind his previous statement because Thomas “is a black man who allowed himself to be used to carry the message of a white man, which is against the interests of black people in America. In my opinion, Clarence Thomas is a very prolific Uncle Tom.”
At MSNBC what’s worse than being a conservative member of Congress? Being a black Republican member of Congress.
That seemed to be the sentiment on February 18 when MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked former Obama official Anton Gunn whether or not Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) would “come with an asterisk” next to his name if he wins election to a full-term in the Senate this November. [See video below.]
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when the content of one's character, not the color of one's skin, was how Americans would evaluate each other. So when NAACP official and African-American clergyman the Rev. William Barber made statements fundamentally violative of the spirit of that dream on the Sunday preceding the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, you'd think it noteworthy for the liberal media. Not so much. At least, not when the target is conservative Sen. Tim Scott.
On Sunday evening at a church in Columbia, South Carolina, the Palmetto State's junior Republican senator was compared to a ventriloquist's dummy by Mr. Barber, who heads up North Carolina's chapter of the civil rights organization. For his part, Washington Post reporter and Post Politics blogger Aaron Blake hacked out a brief entry just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday which simply relayed to readers the controversial remarks, but failed to do any significant follow-up to add anything of value to the story, like say trying to pin down the national NAACP leadership for comment. Blake did, however, add an update which included Sen. Scott's reaction, and it reads as follows:
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Jeff Pegues spotlighted the lack of GOP speakers at the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "Noticeably absent from this event, the GOP...the two most senior Republicans in the House...were invited to speak but declined." However, Pegues failed to mention that the event organizers didn't make much of an effort to get Republican Tim Scott, the only current black U.S. senator, to speak.
The correspondent also zeroed in on former President Bill Clinton's dubious claim during his speech at the commemoration – that "a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd laid blame for Republicans not speaking at Wednesday's anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington on the GOP, rather than event organizers: "...the Bushes couldn't go, there were health reasons why neither President Bush could go and speak. Other Republicans leaders were invited to speak and they politely declined. In hindsight, do you wish there had been Republicans that had agreed to speak?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Republican strategist John Feehery pointed out that the only African American in the United States Senate was not invited to speak: "I find it completely shocking that Tim Scott [R-SC] was not invited." Todd still faulted Republicans: "But why didn't Boehner and Cantor say, you know....they could have, by going, they probably could have said, 'By the way, we want you to invite Tim Scott,' and I don't thing the King family says no."
This year, Daily Kos seems to be paying more attention than usual to CPAC, to the extent that the site has sent one of its principal writers, Hunter, to cover the event. His posts so far have combined politics, sociology, and a bit of anthropology, as if he were saying to himself, "Who are these strange creatures called 'conservatives'? To find out, I observed them in their natural habitat."
As usual, each headline is preceded by the blogger's name or pseudonym.
Senior Editorial Writer of the Washington Examiner Sean Higgins published an informative column Tuesday night giving some background for a case that appeared before the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. Shelby County, Ala. v. Eric Holder has liberals in a panic apparently, because of its challenge to a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that requires many states and some counties to get "pre-clearance" for voting law changes by a federal court. Curiously enough, major media outlets have neglected to mention the context and true history behind the law in question.
Ironically, the Voting Rights Act has completely changed the political landscape of the South ever since it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, and in ways that have poorly served African-American voters specifically and the Democratic Party generally. Higgins explained:
Last month, when the Republican Governor of South Carolina named GOP U.S. Representative Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate, the “first African American U.S. Senator from the South since Blanche Bruce of Mississippi in 1881” according to The State newspaper, thus becoming the only black -- Democrat or Republican -- in the Senate, ABC’s World News didn’t mention it.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night, and ABC anchor Diane Sawyer suddenly found it newsworthy that the Democratic Governor of Massachusetts appointed an African-American to replace new Secretary of State John Kerry, trumpeting: “Look closely at this picture. That is William ‘Mo’ Cowan of Massachusetts. He will be heading to Washington, DC soon and straight into the history books.”
After a decent story by political reporter Jeff Zeleny Tuesday, the New York Times expressed in an op-ed a racially charged, far-left view on the appointment of African-American Republican Rep. Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate: as a "token," the GOP's human equivalent of the racist poll tax and literacy test.
Besides offensively decrying in his op-ed Wednesday the appointment of Scott, the first African-American senator from the South since 1881 and the only black senator in the current Senate, Adolph Reed Jr., University of Pennsylvania professor and contributor to the hard-left Nation, also tackled "the thinly veiled racism" of the Tea Party.
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
Following Senator Jim DeMint’s abrupt resignation to run The Heritage Foundation, much has been made over who South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley might name to replace him. One name mentioned is that of African American Congressman Tim Scott, a prospect which prompted MSNBC anchor Richard Lui to sneer: "... Is the South ready for a black Senator?"
On Friday’s MSNBC Live, Lui baited fellow MSNBCer Melissa Harris-Perry into trashing the South as intolerant. Surprisingly, she did not fall into this trap. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Nancy Cordes couldn't have made outgoing Senator Jim DeMint's conservative credentials clearer on Friday's CBS This Morning, labeling the South Carolina Republican "one of the most conservative members of the Senate." Cordes outlined that DeMint was a "Tea Party hero, who has raised more than $15 million...to help elect Tea Party senators...But he has also backed a series of losing far-right candidates."
However, the correspondent couldn't be bothered to identify Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert as a liberal, as she noted the comedian's efforts to get his fans to lobby South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to name him DeMint's replacement. She merely pointed out Colbert's persona as "one of the most conservative TV personalities out there - fake personalities, anyway." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC's Chris Matthews honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by accusing white Republicans of being afraid of black people. During a Monday night Hardball special called "Obama's America," Matthews insultingly asked former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele if, at GOP conventions, black-Americans at those events were told not to "bunch up" because "you'll scare these people" and added: "Did you fear that if you got together with some other African-Americans these white guys might get scared of you?"
Steele, who was the only Republican on the panel, seemed shocked by the question as he responded to Matthews: "No! What are you talking about?" and then proceeded to cite the successful candidacies of Tim Scott, Allen West and others in the GOP field that would suggest white Republicans weren't exactly afraid of, as Matthews put it, "black folk hanging together."
The following is the full exchange from the panel that featured Steele along with the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson and Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards, as it was aired on the January 17 edition of Hardball:
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, liberal FNC analyst Alan Colmes asserted that the Tea Party was a "bunch of angry white guys who went around and put up racist signs." As a debate ensued pitting Colmes against the other three panel members, he later defiantly asked, "How many blacks did they elect?" leading Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation to fire back: "The Tea Partiers elected two - Allen West and Tim Scott, Florida and South Carolina."
Host Jon Scott began the segment by assuming that the liberal Colmes would not have any complaints about the mainstream media’s coverage of the elections. After Colmes voiced his approval of the media, Scott sarcastically posed: "For instance, the Tea Party. Tea Party always got favorable coverage, right? Or fair coverage?"
Colmes then unleashed on the Tea Party: "Oh, they got, look, the Tea Party was a bunch of angry white guys who went around and put up racist signs at these at, these events on lawn chairs who had nothing better to do on weekends than sit on lawn chairs with signs suggesting Obama was a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country."
ABC’s World News Sunday gave attention to black Republicans who have a good chance of getting elected in this year’s congressional elections, focusing on Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ryan Frazier of Colorado, and even showing a clip of Allen West of Florida. Anchor Dan Harris set up the report: "Two years after the historic election of America's first African-American President, there is now a huge wave of black candidates running against Barack Obama. Many of these candidates have the full support of the largely white Republican Party and the Tea Party."
As correspondent Ron Claiborne filed a report, early on a soundbite was shown of South Carolina’s Scott explaining why he believes in the Tea Party movement. Scott: "I think if you believe in conservative government, if you believe in free markets or capitalism, if you believe in not spending money you don't have, you're a Tea Party member as well."
Claiborne soon informed viewers that the South Carolina Republican is expected to make history: "If Scott is elected from this Charleston district, he would be the first African-American Republican elected to the House of Representatives from the Deep South since 1901. This year, 42 African-Americans ran for the Republican nomination for House seats; 14 of them won. And, like Republicans everywhere this year, they are harsh critics of President Obama."