MSNBC continued its defense of President Obama against “racist” critics Tuesday morning. The network’s show “Morning Joe” featured a panel of journalists discussing just how some opponents of President Obama’s agenda refuse to support him–because the President is either a Democrat or African-American.
After host Joe Scarborough and Time's Mark Halperin ripped the Drudge Report for its headline painting President Obama as “going street,” Dee Dee Myers and Norah O’Donnell jumped in to offer their two cents about racially-motivated oppositions to President Obama’s agenda.
First, Halperin mentioned poll numbers showing voters as distrustful of Obama’s ability to improve the economy from President Bush’s term.
“A lot of that is white working class voters who don’t have confidence in [Obama] because he’s a Democrat, but for some of them clearly also because he’s African-American,” Halperin said.
Scarborough then asked Myers, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, if race was an indeed an issue in the backlash against Obama in the BP Oil Crisis. “Yes,” Myers affirmed.
For over seven minutes this morning, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panel expounded on the racial overtones of Matt Drudge’s Tuesday morning headline and other criticisms of the Obama administration.
It started when Time magazine’s senior political analyst Mark Halperin brought up the Drudge Report headline, “Obama Goes Street: Seeking ‘Ass to Kick’,” and alleged that it spun Obama’s comments to NBC’s Matt Lauer and portrayed Obama unfairly as a gangster.
“One of the problems Barack Obama faces in public life... is he cannot get angry and be an effective communicator as an African-American,” Halperin commented on the interview.
“So Matt Drudge takes the Matt Lauer quote, and he casts it as ‘Obama Goes Street.’ And it includes this photo of an angry-looking Barack Obama,” Halperin complained. “ I think it’s all pretty clear. It’s pretty clear to all of us what’s going on there.”
An emerging defense of Helen Thomas's "Jews go home" comment is that either what she said really was not that bad, or that others occasionally say worse things without the same level of reproach.
Richard Greener, writing at the Huffington Post on Monday, was so close to making a good point. He noted that a number of other public figures have said things that could reasonably be interpreted as more offensive than Helen Thomas's comment, and have not been forced into retirement.
Though Greener neglected to note the higher standard to which White House correspondents are inevitably held, his credibility was instantly reduced to ashes when the only example of vitriol from the left he could come up with was Keith Olbermann saying Sarah Palin is "an idiot." And he even followed it up with a pathetic attempt to satiate his readership's intense hatred for Palin (and Olby affection) by noting that "perhaps truth is an absolute defense."
Editor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
Bill Maher a racist? Who’da thunk it? Actually, anyone who pays even remote attention to the far-left comedic mouth piece could have figured that out pretty quickly. Yes, Bill, I am calling you a racist. This accusation which he so glibly levels at anyone slightly to the right of Che Guevera may come as a shock to him. But he is too busy heaping his moral superiority upon those lynch mob troglodytes who inhabit “fly-over country” to ever bother to take a look at himself. If he did, he might come to realize that being truly colorblind or, to borrow a Hopey McChange slogan, “post racial” means more than fist-bumping Will.I.Am at a Golden Globe after after party. It means truly seeing the world through the prism of individual not racial identity politics.
In her book, Silverman attacks the Tea Party movement and "right-wing Americans," suggesting their efforts aren't for the sake of fiscal responsibility and the fear the country is headed toward an entitlement state, but instead - veiled racism. Silverman, who had her own run-in with Guy Aoki, president of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, for using the word "chink" in a joke, said his cause, to combat racism against Asians, is more difficult today because of this so-called camouflage.
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
A persistent meme of the liberal mainstream media this election year is that the Tea Party is steeped (pun not intended) in racism and/or neo-Confederate sympathies. Howard Fineman is more than happy to breathe new life in that storyline in yesterday's attack leveled at Kentucky Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Rand Paul in particular and Bluegrass State conservatives in general.
In his May 20 "Rand Paul and D.W. Griffith," blog post, the Newsweek staffer not-too-subtly compared Kentucky's Tea Party contingent of 2010 with the more racially-charged elements he perceived among some anti-busing opponents in the 1970s:
If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.
But there is another Kentucky, one I witnessed as a reporter starting out there when court-ordered busing began in the 1970s. It is a border state with a comparatively tiny black population, and which, as a result, is way behind the times in accommodating itself to the racial realities of modern America.
On Wednesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Dr. Rand Paul appeared as a guest, and, after host Behar brought up examples of people with racist messages who have shown up at some Tea Party events whom the mainstream media have been fond of highlighting as if they were representative of the movement, Dr. Paul recounted that he had never seen such activity at Tea Party events he has attended, and charged that the media are "captivated" by "outlandish behavior"rather than the mainstream message of the movement:
JOY BEHAR: Right, but does it bother you at all, Rand, about seeing those kind of racist images that we`re all seeing that are connected to these Tea Party events?
RAND PAUL: Well, it`s interesting, you know, I`ve seen them on the national media, but I haven`t seen them at any of the rallies I`ve gone to. I`ve probably been to 50, 60 Tea Parties. I`ve been to interview with their inner circle, with their committees. I`ve not met anyone who's racist in the movement. I think when you gather 100,000 people together, there will be a few outliers, and it`s like anything else, I think the media seems to be captivated more by the outlandish behavior as opposed to the 99 percent there that are people who just believe in limited government or believe that deficits are bad.
After Behar did not seem to accept his answer and started to change the subject to Dick Cheney, the exchange continued:
Catching up on an item from ABC’s The View from Monday, April 26, as the group discussed the new immigration law in Arizona that attempts to enforce federal immigration law, co-host Joy Behar invoked Nazi Germany and suggested that those who oppose the law should be inspired by the story – which is apparently just a legend – of King Christian X of Denmark and other Danes wearing the Star of David on their arms during World War II to make it difficult for Nazi occupiers to discern who was Jewish. After making her first Nazi reference of the day by asserting that "this smells very much of, ‘May I see your papers?’" she soon continued:
During World War II, in one of the countries where the Nazis were occupying – I believe it was Denmark – the king of Denmark also wore the Jewish star. So then everybody had the star, and the Nazis did not know who was Jewish and who wasn't. I suggest that the people in Arizona all get out there and protest this and get some kind of thing to show that they don't like this.
After co-host Barbara Walters pointed out that 70 percent of the people of Arizona "like" the new law, Behar looked for a silver lining in the poll numbers:
It certainly will "fuel intense debate" if the Times has anything to say about it.
But the shoe leather analysis was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which is never identified ideologically but merely called "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Founded in 1966 by left-wing lawyer William Kuntsler, it has represented defendants at Guantanamo Bay, and its president Michael Ratner said in a December 2005 press release: "Every American should be in political rebellion against the criminals now running this country." That would be the Bush administration. Could such a group just possibly have an interest in alleging racial discrimination among the NYPD?
On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips hinted that racists only come in a shade of white when she highlighted how "there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists." Phillips, commenting on the controversy over a recent blacks-only field trip at a Michigan school, later expressed her approval that the segregated field trip program was being suspended.
The CNN anchor gave a commentary on the controversy after playing a report from the network's Michigan affiliate on the issue 52 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour. Phillips emphasized that "white kids need black role models, too. Why? Because, let's face it, there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists raising kids, and the Internet with all kinds of racist poison out there. Kids might believe that stuff unless they're challenged not to- see it debunked right before their eyes." She continued that "role models come in all colors, all genders- all professions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. So I'm glad to hear that now that the school program in Michigan is being suspended, so school officials can tweak it and make it more inclusive. Good thing, because the segregated field trip might have violated Michigan law."
Which is more newsworthy: hearsay accounts of racial slurs unsupported by video evidence of the alleged incident, or video of a protester calling for violent revolution against the federal government, the imposition of socialism, and the annexation of the Southwestern states for Mexico?
If you chose the latter, you're probably not a journalist of the self-proclaimed "mainstream" variety. The legacy media has been largely silent on video of Los Angles schoolteacher at a La Raza protest of the recently-passed Arizona immigration law literally calling for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
"There's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border, inside the belly of the beast," Los Angeles high school history teacher Ron Gochez told a frenzied crowd, referring to the 40 million Latin Americans in the United States. He went on to claim that teaching or writing a book "is not part of the movement," and that his followers needed to go a step further -- to literal revolution (video embedded below the fold - h/t Jawa Report).
On the April 22 Larry King Live on CNN, which was rebroadcast on Saturday, magician and comedian Penn Jillette – who is a self-described libertarian – challenged assertions by actress Rachael Harris that the Tea Party movement is motivated by "racism" against President Barack Obama. Jillette: "Well, that's the magic word. Once you say ‘racism,’ the other side loses automatically. And I don't think we have very much evidence that that's what it is. Don't they have to be doing racist things besides you just saying that they're racist?"
Harris cited the racial makeup of the Tea Party movement as evidence of its racist motivation: "No, but they're looking at the number of people that are in, like, the majority of the people that are in the Tea Party," leading Jillette to respond: "So the race that they are makes them racist by definition?"
After Harris and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane joked for a moment that they had gotten together and created the movement, Jillette and Harris continued their debate over whether Tea Party members were motivated by racism:
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
Listen to the surprise in Luke Russert's voice as he reports that many African-American Republican candidates for congress are seeking support from the Tea Party. After all, says Luke, the Tea Party is a group that "a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
Russert expressed his amazement on MSNBC this morning, discussing a New York Times article that reports that at least 32 black Republicans are running for Congress.
Near the top of Tuesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan fretted over American Muslims being harassed in the wake of the failed Times Square bombing: "how do you deal with these types of crimes without resulting in racism, effectively, towards people of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent?...is there not a natural backlash to this?" [Audio available here]
Ratigan asked that of Sofian Zakkout, the director of the American Muslim Association of North America, who replied: "We should calm down, it's – thank God nobody got hurt. We all know – and also I spoke today, this morning, with CAIR and other Islamic organizations....we denounce what was going to happen." Zakkout's organization has had links to questionable Islamic organizations on its website and has voiced support for the terrorist organization Hamas.
Ratigan seemed to be following the lead of his MSNBC colleague Contessa Brewer, who appeared on Tuesday's Stephanie Miller radio show and lamented the ethnicity of the would-be bomber: "I get frustrated...There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country."
On Friday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez revisited a story he did on Tuesday where he forwarded Islamic group CAIR's publicity stunt about a Virginia license plate that apparently contained racist messages. The Washington Post, as well, updated their story on Friday, pointing to the driver's apparent Facebook page, which contained white supremacist messages, but CNN was unable to confirm their report.
Schulte followed through with an article on Thursday, after the owner of the truck, Douglas Story, contacted The Washington Post to claim that the numbers actually represented his favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who race under those respective numbers. Story was forced to get a new license plate after the Virginia DMV recalled his plate.
On Tuesday's Rick List, CNN's Rick Sanchez unquestioningly forwarded Islamic advocacy group CAIR's admitted speculation about a Virginia license plate containing a supposed coded message of white supremacy/neo-Naziism, which they found on a pickup truck that also had an anti-Islamic message on it [audio clip available here].
Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
Near the end of an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned to the subject of illegal immigration and the new Arizona law to combat it: "a very tough immigration reform bill which basically makes it illegal for you to be in the state without some sort of documentation. Is this law the answer to the immigration crisis?"
McCain noted the number of illegal immigrants entering Arizona and the level of drug trafficking taking place: "Across the Tucson sector of Arizona last year, there was 241,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants....1.3 million pounds of marijuana intercepted on the Tucson border just last year." Smith followed up by wondering: "And for the millions of Hispanic Americans who live in Arizona, what do you say to them who feel like this bill is purely discriminatory?"
In a news brief on the topic at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen described how: "The Obama administration and activists are considering legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, which has reignited a national debate." A series of signs from an immigration protest in San Francisco appeared on screen: "Latinos Today, Who's Next? Shame on Arizona;" "Boycott Arizona;" "Brown Is Not A Crime."As footage of the protest rolled, Nguyen explained: "The law makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant." On Monday, an MSNBC headline made the same odd statement.
One week after mocking comedian and Tea Party activist Jim Labriola as "no brain trust," HLN host Joy Behar brought him onto the Joy Behar Show Monday to discuss his involvement in the movement. Behar was surprised by his contention that he had seen no racism or anger at the events he has attended, except from anti-Tea Party protesters, with the HLN host responding: "No, that doesn`t make sense because we`ve seen the footage of them showing things, woman walking with a monkey, another one having Obama in white face."
After Behar, who admitted last week "I'm scared to go" to Tea Party events, asked if Labriola had seen any African-Americans at events he attended, he asserted that half the people he appeared with on stage were minorities, and criticized the media for ignoring black and Hispanic Tea Party members:"I noticed the news never showed any of the black speakers or the Mexican kid and all that."
The comedian and alum of the TV series Home Improvement had earlier commented on the absence of racism or anger by Tea Party participants at events:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Occasionally a lefty gets it right. Then a conservative says much the same thing. Followed by liberals denouncing him for it.
Latest example -- Bill O'Reilly's remarks on race at the Sharpton-organized National Action Network conference on April 14 in New York City. Speaking after O'Reilly was liberal action hero Ed Schultz, who spun what was said at the conference on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" that night --
SCHULTZ: You would think that at a serious event to promote equality and civil rights that Bill would rein in the psycho talk. Well, no such luck. He showed zero comprehension of the venue and came out swinging, defending the tea partiers.
O'REILLY: The tea party is a largely white phenomenon, there's no doubt about that, because African-Americans overwhelmingly support President Obama. But it is an overwhelmingly white movement. And now we are seeing that it's being demonized as a racist thing too and the best example was that Capitol display where the African-American congresspeople walked through this gauntlet of protest and there were charges the n-word was used and spitting happened and this, that and the other thing. ... Even if the n-word was used, and it absolutely could have been, you don't demonize a whole group by the actions of one or two people. ... It's a much more interesting country, America, if we stop with the race business, I think. I mean, I'm not black so I don't know your struggle, and you don't know my struggle, all right, because you're not white. ...
On Monday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, when guest Mark Williams of Tea Party Express complained to Behar and fellow guest Ari Melber of the Nation about Tea Party activists being smeared as racist, the HLN host claimed that she had not brought up race during the segment, even though she opened the discussion by referring to stereotypes about Tea Party activists as she cracked that perhaps public opinion "might drive people to stop making racist signs and wearing hats made of teabags." Behar introduced the segment: "The anti-government sentiment that has driven the Tea Party movement seems to be working as four out of five Americans say they don`t trust the government. I wonder if these same sentiments might drive people to stop making racist signs and wearing hats made of teabags."
But Behar and Melber later developed amnesia as Behar claimed, "We didn’t mention race":
“There aren't a lot of African-American men at these events,” NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell, a white woman, told Darryl Postell, a black man at a Tea Party rally held Thursday in Washington, DC, pressing him, in an exchange she chose to include in her NBC Nightly News story, to address her prejudiced assumptions: “Have you ever felt uncomfortable?” Postell rejected her loaded premise that race must divide Americans: “No, no, these are my people, Americans.”
O'Donnell's story noted “skepticism over how the Tea Party is judged and labeled,” letting an attendee assert: “We're not racists, we're not any of the above that people claim us to be. We're ordinary citizens that love our country, and we're fighting for it.” O'Donnell soon wondered if it all may peter out, asking a man in the crowd: “Do you think this has enough energy to really last to November and to make a difference?”
Over on ABC, Jonathan Karl highlighted how “many of them blamed us, the news media.” A woman demanded: “We want honesty from you. We want fair time from you. We want you, the media, to represent all the people, not just a certain portion of the people.”
Painting conservatives as racists is a favorite pastime of the mainstream media and a recent move by Republican Virginia governor Bob McDonnell gave them more ammunition to do just that.
McDonnell issued a proclamation on April 2 stating April would be Confederate History Month, but failed to note the role slavery played in the U.S. Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865. Commentators and journalists seized upon McDonnell's omission as proof that conservatives are inherent racists, despite an apology and later inclusion in the proclamation of a strong statement condemning slavery.
In his apology, McDonnell called slavery an "abomination" and explained that the proclamation was "solely intended to promote the study of our history, encourage tourism in our state in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and recognize Virginia's unique role in the story of America."
These allegations of racism against conservatives have percolated in the media since Barack Obama's election in 2008. "Confederate" or "Confederacy" has been used 60 times in news reports on ABC, CBS and NBC since November 4, 2008, but it's this proclamation, coupled with the anger over the recently passed health care reform, that had some in the media wondering if conservatives were ready to wage Civil War Redux.
Aww...New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, respected economist turned talking points purveyor for the left-wing blogosphere, has had his feelings hurt by a fellow Times writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, and is demanding redress: "Andrew Ross Sorkin Owes Several People An Apology."
That's right. Krugman, who has accused the GOP of "eliminationist rhetoric" and global-warming skeptics of "treason against the planet," chided a fellow Times writer for "caricaturing" his view on an issue, "making it sound far more extreme than it actually was."
The source of Krugman's wounded feelings? These mild passages in Sorkin's Tuesday column, quoted by Krugman in his post:
You may recall that during the most perilous months of 2008 and early 2009, there was a vigorous debate about how the government should fix the financial system. Some economists, including Nouriel Roubini of New York University and The Times's own Paul Krugman, declared that we should follow the example of the Swedes by nationalizing the entire banking system.
They argued that Wall Street was occupied by the walking dead, and that no matter how much money we threw at the banks, they would eventually topple the system all over again and cause a domino effect worldwide.
Touchy Krugman hypocritically huffed in a Tuesday morning post on his nytimes.com blog:
NBC host Norah O'Donnell is taking it from all angles for pulling the race card on Newt Gingrich last Friday.
Speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Gingrich said "shooting three-point shots may be clever, but it doesn’t put anybody to work,” referring to President Obama's basketball skills. Norah O'Donnell embarrassed herself Friday by claiming the comment had racial undertones.
Since then, commentators on the left and right have criticized O'Donnell's race-baiting. Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams have both condemned her remark, and Gingrich himself has repudiated the accusation.
"The left is becoming a parody of itself," Gingrich said Tuesday morning. He added that "it's relatively hard to go from 'we need someone who is a good president more than we need three point shots' to" racism.
This week, Americans of all political stripes will take to the streets -- so to speak -- to protest what they see as excessive and out of control government spending and intrusion into their daily lives. Among the many Tea Party protesters, however, will be individuals plotting to undermine the peaceful grassroots movement.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds spotted CrashTheTeaParty.org today, a website that claims to represent "a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes and morons; who constitute the fake grassroots movement, which calls itself 'the Tea Party.'"
Their plan is to "infiltrate" Tea Party protests to create the false impression that protesters are racists by … being racists. That's right, they will bring with them offensive signs and give wildly offensive interviews to reporters, all with the intention of smearing a movement that wouldn't bring those signs or give those interviews themselves. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will take the bait.