On the New York Times's political blog this morning, Ariel Alexovich reported in a very mild tone on a very shocking speech by National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia -- "A Call to End Hate Speech."
By calling to end "hate speech" (an inflammatory phrase the Times doesn't put in quotation marks), Murguia means that anyone harshly criticizing illegal immigrants -- specifically, mainstream opinion-makers like Sean Hannity on FOX News and Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck of CNN -- should be removed from the air waves.
"The head of the country's largest Latino civil rights organization called on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News to stop providing a forum for pundits who consistently disparage the documented and undocumented Hispanic immigrant population.
Leave it to Rush to nail it. Here's how Limbaugh opened today's show, speaking of the way Bill Clinton injected race into the campaign with his comparison [view video of Clinton making his statement here] of Obama's South Carolina primary victory to Jesse Jackson's twin wins in the Palmetto State in the '80s:
Harry Smith won't be up on the platform with Ted Kennedy today endorsing Barack Obama. But he might be there in spirit, after having absolutely unloaded on Bill Clinton's on this morning's Early Show. The CBS anchor made the stunning suggestion that when it comes to matters racial, Bill Clinton may have perpetrated a fraud on African-Americans.
Smith's guest was "diversity expert" Joe Watson and you might have expected Watson [who FWIW impressed me favorably] to carry the anti-Bill ball. But ultimately it was Smith who offered the single most damning suggestion. The CBS host began by playing the clip of Bill's by-now infamous words from the weekend, writing off the Obama victory in South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had won there twice in the 80s.
Count Craig Crawford as a dissenting voice in the media storm blaming the Clintons for the injection of race into the Dem primaries. The Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst offered his unconventional wisdom on a special Saturday edition of Morning Joe today.
CRAIG CRAWFORD: I never understood exactly what Bill Clinton said that was supposed to interject race, actually. I know he was arguing at arm's length with Obama about the war and some other issues. It wasn't clear to me -- I mean the most direct reference to race I saw in this campaign was interjected by the media after New Hampshire trying to say that for some reason Obama lost New Hampshire because of racism. I never followed that one either.
When The Washington Post puts a business closing on the front page, the reader might assume it’s a long-running D.C. chain. But on the front page Thursday, black reporters Hamil Harris and Lonnae O’Neal Parker lamented the demise of the small black bookstore chain Karibu Books, founded in Maryland with a pushcart...in 1993. (The story was headlined "Black Readers Are Jolted By A Chain's Demise.") But the Post reporters didn’t go beyond the black reader reaction. Apparently, the first store to close was in Pentagon City right after Christmas. I wandered into that store out of curiosity during Christmas shopping – and was a little bit shocked. Karibu was stocking anti-white hate.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to two liberal politicians, the black Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, and black mayor of Washington D.C., Adrian Fenty, about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and asked Fenty:
You know, if we look at this statistically, it's not a particularly bright picture. I want to just put up a couple of statistics very quickly here. The frequency blacks feel discrimination in America. So high. Applying for jobs, renting or buying a house, dining out or shopping. This is a pretty bleak picture. Mayor Fenty, is this -- is this the America we live in?
This is not the first time Smith has seen America as a racist country, as he did in the wake of the Jena 6 controversy. One wonders where prominent conservative black leaders were for this segment, like former Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Michael Steele. Also, not even Smith’s liberal guests were willing to go as far as Smith. Fenty replied to Smith in a way beyond any particular race:
Following a segment on Monday wondering if America was "finally color-blind" in the wake of Barack Obama’s Iowa caucus win, on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith seemed to say no as he previewed a segment on recent comments made about Tiger Woods: "Also coming up in this half hour words that wound, Tiger Woods reacts to a racial slur from a Golf Channel anchor."
During the segment, Smith talked to the liberal Reverend Al Sharpton and liberal former New York radio host Ron Kuby about the comments. Smith began by observing: "...for years we've been navigating a changing world when it comes to racially insensitive remarks, but with the Don Imus incident, the national dialogue has changed a lot." Smith then played the clip of Golf Channel Anchor Kelly Tilghman who suggested that the only way for other golfers to beat Tiger Woods was to "lynch him in a back alley." However, Smith also mentioned that, "Tiger Woods said not to worry, that he and Tilghman are long time friends."
Smith asked Sharpton, "You think this is a big deal?" to which Sharpton responded:
I think that it is. Either you're going to have standards or you're not. I think if you give Tilghman a pass, then who then stops the next person from saying something insensitive and saying Tilghman is an example of how come I can say this. And I think the problem with Tilghman's statement, regardless to the reaction of Tiger Woods, is it was very offensive, if I had said about a Jewish person, let's throw them in a gas chamber, I don't think there would have been a question I'd have been off the radio and I have a radio show. So I think you've got to either have standards or you don't have standards.
To know what's on a morning-show anchor's mind, it's often easy to read between the lines. Katie Couric famously employed the "some say" technique to put her own views in the mouths of unidentified others.
But it's relatively uncommon to hear an anchor flatly express an opinion in the way Matt Lauer did this morning. The topic was whether there were racial overtones to Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" tirade directed at Barack Obama in the closing days of the New Hampshire campaign. Matt's guests were radio talk show host Michael Smerconish and former Clinton advisor Paul Begala.
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's liberal political analyst Donna Brazile, formerly an advisor to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore, hinted that she was racially offended by some of the former President's recent attacks on Barack Obama. Invoking Clinton's labeling of Obama as a "kid," and his accusation that some of Obama's claims are a "fairy tale," Brazile expressed that, "as an African-American," she found Clinton's comments "depressing." Brazile: "For him to go after Obama using 'fairy tale,' calling him a 'kid,' as he did last week, it's an insult. And I tell you, as an African-American, I find his words and his tone to be very depressing." (Transcript follows)
After his surprisingly easy victory in the Iowa Caucuses, the New York Times is joining the rest of the media in promoting the historic candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. Check how the Times flooded the country to get favorable Obama soundbites for Saturday's front-page story by Diane Cardwell, "Daring to Believe, Blacks Savor Obama Victory."The full byline:
"Reporting was contributed by James Barron, Timothy Williams and John Eligon from New York; Lakiesha R. Carr and Holli Chmela from Washington; Rebecca Cathcart from Los Angeles; Brenda Goodman from Birmingham, Ala.; Rachel Mosteller from Houston; Susan Saulny from Chicago; Kirk Semple from Miami; and Katie Zezima from Boston."
"For Sadou Brown in a Los Angeles suburb, the decisive victory of Senator Barack Obama in Iowa was a moment to show his 14-year-old son what is possible.
At the top of Monday’s CBS "Early Show," newly appointed co-host, Maggie Rodriguez, teased an upcoming segment on race in politics in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s Iowa victory: "But besides the knock-down, drag-out political fighting in New Hampshire, we're asking the question this morning on everyone's mind, is America finally color-blind?" This just days after the "Early Show" declared that Obama’s success in Iowa meant that "history has been made."
Later in the 8am hour of the show, co-host Harry Smith led the segment with guests Joe Watson, a diversity expert, and Jon Meacham of "Newsweek." Smith began by asking a similar question as Rodriguez:
When Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses, he became the first presidential candidate of color to achieve a significant victory in the race for the White House. Is America turning color-blind? Ready to elect its first African-American president?
Smith asked for Watson’s reaction to Obama’s success and Watson declared, "I think it's a magnificent moment for America." Smith then turned to Meacham and gave this thoughtful insight on race and politics:
Jon Meacham, I was on the bus with Barack Obama a week or two ago in Iowa. We're driving along in the bus and the snow outside is as white as that state is, as white as New Hampshire is, what is -- what is going on here? Are people seeing past color? Is that possible?
For the second time in less than a month, "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo asked a Democratic presidential candidate to speculate about the inherent racism of American voters. Talking with John Edwards on Wednesday's edition of the program, the ABC journalist wondered about Thursday's Iowa caucus. He inquired, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?"
Clearly, this is a topic that weighs heavily on Cuomo. On December 20, he spoke to Senator Barack Obama and asked, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?" In fact, GMA has a long history of harping on how bigoted America is. Since November 13, 2006, "Good Morning America" has featured the question, in some form or another, a total of five times.
Does "Good Morning America" mean "good morning all you racists"? Co-host Chris Cuomo seemed to suggest that on December 20. (Hat tip: Howard Mortman) Upon interviewing presidential candidate Barack Obama Cuomo inquired about Obama’s biggest obstacles.
"What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?"
Obama, though conceding he does not think "race has played a significant role in this campaign," went on to add that many people may vote for or against him because of his race.
Returning to the airwaves this morning after a seven-month exile, Don Imus seemed intent on demonstrating two things. First, that he was unequivocally contrite concerning the comments he had made about the Rutgers University women's basketball players that resulted in his firing. Second, his contrition notwithstanding, he wasn't going to change his irreverent ways when it came to the country's political leaders.
To prove his iconoclastic bona fides, Imus concluded his monologue by observing "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal, and Hillary Clinton is still Satan."
Listen to audio here [with apologies for the mediocre sound quality.]
But before ending on that defiant note, he took several minutes to describe his meeting with the women of the Rutgers team, and the way the entire experience had changed him.
A conservative comedian [yes, there are some], appears at a venue in a heavily-white suburb at a campaign event for a white candidate and tells his audience composed overwhelmingly of people of pallor they'd be embarrassed if they supported a black candidate and the white candidate won, saying "Oh no. I can't call him now. I had that black guy. What was I thinking?"
What are the odds the MSM would laugh it off?
But when Chris Rock does the equivalent on behalf of Barack Obama, the MSM raises nary an eyebrow. Rock appeared last night at an event for Barack Obama at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater and said:
"You'd be real embarrassed if he won and you wasn't down with it. You'd say, 'aw man, I can't call him now. I had that white lady. What was I thinking?'"
Do none of the Republican presidential candidates, including the former mayor of New York City, care about crime in the African-American community? According to "The View’s" Sherri Shepherd, they do not. Joy Behar says those encouraging a more stable family structure are "mental midgets" because they will not discuss racism.
On discussing the Republican YouTube debate, Joy Behar said she was "slightly annoyed" that Mitt Romney stated a large factor in black on black crime are unstable families, and that he did not address racism. Sherri Shepherd scoffed that "not one of these candidates ever thought about black on black crime."
Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg also exclaimed why no one ever asks about "white on white crime." Joy Behar did concede that Rudy Giuliani dramatically reduced black on black crime in New York City, but questioned "the way he did it." Sherri Shepherd responded "because one of my cousins called me from jail."
During an appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw pointed out that before the invasion of Iraq, even "people who were critical of the war" thought that Saddam Hussein "had weapons of mass destruction," as he responded to criticism that the media were not aggressive enough about challenging President Bush before the Iraq invasion. And while commenting on racial issues, giving his view that "we need to have a dialogue in this country" about race, Brokaw lamented the problems posed by "political correctness" which means "you're in danger of being a racist if you go against the merits of some issues and just try to look at it objectively." Brokaw added: "Within the black culture, there's a fear about speaking out, about what some people see as wrong, because they say, don't go there, you know, it will only hurt our people." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway and Fox News of "race hatred" in response to Conway making an arguably alarmist suggestion on Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor" that allowing the EEOC to sue employers for requiring its employees to speak English on the job could eventually lead to the hiring of non-English-speaking employees for other more serious jobs like air traffic controllers, resulting in airplanes crashing. During the "Countdown" show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, the MSNBC host went over the top by charging that Conway was "trying to dress up the lunatic fringe's race hatred over there at Fox News," and, addressing Conway, advised: "If you were just honest about your racism, at least you wouldn't look quite that stupid." (Transcript follows)
Is it acceptable for stores catering to Hispanics to use racial epithets when referring to Caucasian residents of the United States? Apparently so. According to the Washington Times online edition, a furniture store located in Alexandria, Va., has posted a sign calling Americans 'gringos'. The Times reports that,
A sign outside the store at the intersection of North Beauregard and King streets reads, “Credito sin papeles de gringo.” In English, that could be translated to say “Credit without gringo papers.” Blanca Granados, the store's assistant manager, translated the message to mean “just 'without white papers,' like Social Security or like that.”
Times columnist David Brooks blew a hole into the left-wing myth of Ronald Reagan appealing to Southern racists to kick off his 1980 presidential campaign. What makes Brooks's Friday column doubly valuable -- it's a bank-shot sinking of fellow Times columnist and Republican-hater Paul Krugman.
Brooks's "History and Calumny" defends then-candidate Ronald Reagan from leftists like Krugman who have long slurred his 1980 campaign kick-off in Philadelphia, Miss. as a racist appeal.
"Today, I'm going to write about a slur. It's a distortion that's been around for a while, but has spread like a weed over the past few months. It was concocted for partisan reasons: to flatter the prejudices of one side, to demonize the other and to simplify a complicated reality into a political nursery tale.
Guess I won't be calling Mika Brzezinski a "newsreader" again anytime soon. The "Morning Joe" panelist went to Iowa over the weekend and scored an in-depth interview with Michelle Obama that elicited a highly-controversial suggestion from the candidate's wife. According to Mrs. Obama, her husband isn't polling better among African-Americans because in the back of their minds, many blacks think "others" are better.
If a person of Hispanic origin rapes a woman and, in an attempt to catch this violent criminal, police publish a description identifying the suspect's general racial makeup, is that a "racist" thing to do? Apparently the folks at KMYL (1190 AM) in the metro Phoenix, Arizona area think it is. It appears that we cannot even discuss the basic appearance of a wanted criminal now without being "racist" about it all. The story comes to us from The East Valley Tribune, where the paper quotes the vice president for programming at KMYL as saying that calling a criminal an Hispanic is "racial profiling." And what is her reasoning?
On Saturday, CNN ran an interview with Bill Cosby on "Larry King Live," which originally ran on Thursday October 18, in which the entertainer plugged his new book "Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors," about problems faced by America's black population. While Cosby talked about such conservative themes as personal responsibility, which in recent years he has been famous for discussing, the entertainer also demonstrated that he has not entirely made the trip over to the conservative side as he derided Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "brother lite," repeatedly charging that Thomas "doesn't want to help anybody." Cosby also proclaimed that he "loves" far-left Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. (Transcript follows)
CBS's Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling sees curious timing in a controversy CNN reported on an October 31 program, but which took place weeks earlier, involving a stand-up comic and a noose:
Last night on CNN’s “Out in the Open” hosted by Rick Sanchez, he had a lively discussion/debate with an African-American comic who had worn a noose like a necktie as “a fashion accessory.” The segment began:
I'm part of the enlightened MSM elite, happy to embrace Barack Obama. But, sigh, there are many benighted folks across our land not as sophisticated as I. You know: "Reagan Democrats," who just won't vote for an African-American. And the Republicans would plan to appeal to their racism to attack Obama.
That, in sum, was Joe Scarborough's condescending analysis of Barack Obama's presidential prospects, offered up on today's "Morning Joe." Fortunately, guest Pat Buchanan was there to gently correct him.
Panelist Mika Brzezinski kicked off the discussion of which Dem the Republicans could more easily "demonize."
The Nazi comparison is often cited too casually particularly on "The View" where Joy Behar compared former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Hitler. The October 26 edition was no exception.
In an unusually deep and interesting conversation about forgiveness, Whoopi Goldberg, who took the redemption side, pulled the Nazi comparison to 21st century America. Apparently those who want an aggressive War on Terror and wish to crack down on illegal immigrants are no better than those who tried to wipe out an entire race. (Video available here.)
GOLDBERG: Well, I think because one of the things that happens when you get nationalism whipped up in a country is people start going "yeah it's them, it's not us, it’s them, it’s not us, let's go get them!" We saw it happen. We saw it happen here.
It's time for a TGIF edition of one of our favorite games: WIARHSI. For you beginners, that's "What If A Republican Had Said It?"
What if a Republican had said, in explaining why schools in Iowa are performing better than those in Washington:
There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with.
“It’s almost embarrassing. I talk a lot to political scientists, and you go through the numbers and the polls. And it all boils down – almost everything else goes away, except for five words: ‘Southern whites started voting Republican.’ The backlash against the civil rights movement explains almost everything that’s happened in this country for the past 45 years,” Krugman said in an interview promoting his book on the left-wing Democracy Now! newscast on October 17 .