Former New York Times reporter Timothy Egan doesn't hide his hostility for conservatives on his nytimes.com blog "Outposts," and last week he accused the GOP of being "troglodytes," "know-nothings" and, in the case of a special Congressional election in Mississippi, "scare-mongering" racists. All that and more in Egan's Wednesday posting, "New Math for November."
McCain surely knows this, even if his party has yet to get the message. The speech that he gave here on climate change marked a big break with President Bush and the troglodyte wing of his party. Look for similar divorce announcements in coming months, even on race. In that speech, McCain envisioned a nightmare of runaway forest fires, heat waves stifling the cities, storms swamping the coasts, unless something is done. "The United States will lead," he said, "and will lead with a different approach." In every way, the speech was a slap at know-nothings like Rush Limbaugh, who tells his 20 million listeners almost every day that global warming is a massive hoax.
Paul Krugman is over in Berlin, and—surprise!—concludes that Europeans have things better figured out than we benighted Americans do. The gist of his Stranded in Suburbia in today's NY Times is that dense cities like Berlin, which offer good public transportation, are the solution to the high gasoline prices we are seemingly stuck with. Krugman contrasts Berlin and Atlanta:
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.
So why don't more Americans choose to live in big cities? After citing the current lack of good public transportation and the durability of suburban housing, Krugman points his accusing liberal's finger at his fellow Americans [emphasis added]:
On the May 14 edition of "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd revealed her family once lived in West Virginia, but not in singing "take me home." Apparently West Virginians are racist. Why? Because Barack Obama lost of course. The noted historian and geographer added she knows "why [her family] moved" and "overwhelming white" West Virginia "voted for Clinton."
Shepherd also implied Clinton voters who say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee are motivated by race. Sherri Shepherd previously chided Elisabeth Hasselbeck for raising concerns about those who vote for Obama because of his race. On the April 24 edition, Shepherd proclaimed that she is "a black woman" and "so proud of [Obama]."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck then jumped in and asked "is it always because of racism or because of politics too?" Whoopi Goldberg opined "it’s hard to tell."
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Barack Obama took some time off from campaigning to go back to Washington, where he got the royal treatment yesterday." Correspondent Chip Reid followed with a report: "Officially this place, Capitol Hill, is Barack Obama's place of employment, but he doesn't come here very often. When he did make a rare visit yesterday he was treated like a rock star."
Reid went on to describe Obama’s "rock star" tour of Congress: "Swarmed by tourists and reporters, Barack Obama slowly wound his way through the U.S. Capitol, visiting the House floor where observers say even some members of Congress appeared star struck."
At one point, Reid explained how Obama reached across the aisle: "Even saying hello to House Republicans." However, Reid pointed out that: "the conversation apparently was less than profound," and played a clp of Obama joking: "They said they were impressed with my jump shot."
After Reid’s report, Smith talked to Democratic strategist Joe Trippi about when Hillary Clinton would get out of the race. Smith began by asking about Clinton’s recent comments in an interview: "First about Hillary Rodham Clinton, gives an interview to USA Today yesterday talking about how well she does with white voters, listening to her husband last night, are the wheels finally coming off this bus?"
Is it the province of a "correspondent" of an ostensibly objective network to proclaim the tactics of a presidential candidate "inappropriate"? Apparently so, when the network is MSNBC and the correspondent David Shuster. The frequent sidekick to Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann got into it with Pat Buchanan on today's Morning Joe.
Shuster spoke out against Hillary's rough-'n-tumble end-game tactics, while a feisty Buchanan defended Clinton's right to go down swinging. Shuster sounded less the reporter and more the DNC member concerned about damage to the party's presumptive presidential candidate. When Mike Barnicle got into the act, he wanted to be sure not to be seen as insulting the Clintons.
DAVID SHUSTER: What is the plausible scenario for what she's doing now, and do you agree, the only plausible scenario is that she's just trying to permanently damage Barack Obama?
MIKE BARNICLE: What about this one, David? What about the fact that, listen, not speaking ill of either former President Clinton or Senator Clinton [God forbid!], but this is all they've ever done in their lives. They've never worked at a private job, they've never worked in corporate America [Rose law firm?], they've been public people for 30 years. All they know is running! That's all they know: that's who they are.
During Tuesday's coverage of the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina on MSNBC, co-anchor Keith Olbermann dismissed the importance of the finding that approximately half of primary voters considered Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright was an important factor in their decision, including some who apparently admired the way Obama reacted to the story. And, without naming Fox News, the MSNBC host seemed to accuse FNC of having "done nothing but broadcast this story since it first broke, with the wildest exaggerations and the broadest of interpretations possible." He further expressed relief that, in his view, Wright had not been a strong factor against Obama in the election: "It really does, thank goodness, prove, I think, some of the limitations of the media and of negative campaigning."
Below is a transcript of the relevant comments from Olbermann, which aired about 9:37 p.m. on Tuesday May 6 on MSNBC:
Two campaign stories faced down each other from opposite pages in today's New York Times, one devoted to Obama, the other to Hillary, as they trolled for votes before today's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. To those tracking the Times closely, it's no surprise who came out with the more sympathetic profile: Obama.
Mr. Obama's struggle to capture working-class votes also raises some unanswered questions, not least the role played by racial perceptions. Many millions of whites have voted for Mr. Obama over the course of the primaries, but his percentage of that vote has dropped noticeably in recent contests.
There they go again. Once more, a liberal print journalist has seen racism behind conservative concerns about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Yesterday, NewsBusters noted a blog post by a Chicago Tribune journalist which claims that Obama’s “supposed patriotism deficit” is because white Americans view African Americans in general as less patriotic.
In a May 5 Washington Post article appearing on page A2, “Department of Human Behavior” writer Shankar Vedantam asserted that it is not Revered Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary comments that have damaged Obama, it is his race, sex and public style. If Wright were a white female who wrote her outlandish ideas in a scholarly journal, Vedantam thinks the effects would not be the same.
Another journalist has gone on-the-record equating conservative concerns about the liberal Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with racism. In a May 5 blog post on the Chicago Tribune’s “The Swamp” blog, writer Frank James expressed his concern about racist white people. James wondered, “How much of Sen. Barack Obama's supposed patriotism deficit among voters has to do with his being African-American?”
Why does James think that whites view African-Americans as less patriotic? According to James’s post, it’s because there is “an assumption on the part of white Americans that a racial group whose ancestors were slaves and which still complains about racial inequalities and injustice must by definition be less patriotic.”
After Jimmy Carter and Joy Behar, CNN’s Larry King had a prominent liberal guest on his show for the third night in a row on Wednesday, this time Michael Moore. After King played a clip from Bill O’Reilly’s interview of Hillary Clinton which concerned the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Moore pulled out the "black rage" card, as well as the stereotypical rich white liberal guilt. "[Y]ou have to ask yourself, Larry, what's it like to be black in America? And what kind of rage would you feel? And if you did feel that rage, what kind of things would you say that, at times, would be outrageous, crazy even, because you've had to live through this for so long. And I do not believe, as a white guy, that I am in any position to judge a black man who has had to live through that." [audio clip here]
Moore appeared as a guest on "Larry King Live" for the entire hour of the program. His comments on Wright came twenty minutes into the program. Besides explaining away Wright’s many polarizing and outlandish statements, he also attacked Hillary Clinton for her actions in the campaign, as well as his more usual targets of George W. Bush and John McCain.
ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
This week's Fox News Watch was a mix of the candid, the intriguing and the downright comical. Let's start with the humor. Well-intentioned liberal panel member Jane Hall, wringing her hands over the fact that the Wright matter has injected race into the campaign, got off this bit of unintentional comedy.
JANE HALL: Unfortunately, this is going to be what's going to be associated [with Obama]. I mean, it's like Willie Horton, except that Obama knew Reverend Wright,* and on Fox and other networks he is visually linked, it gives one more excuse to run this incendiary footage. I really regret that race, which Obama tried to transcend, is now going to become a very ugly subject in this race.
So it's unfair to pin this Wright stuff on Obama, except for the fact that, well, it's . . . fair. Moreover, whose fault is it that race has been injected into the race? If Obama were really the kind of person to transcend race, he wouldn't have been hanging around with Rev. Wright for 20 years.
Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC gave attention to revelations which first surfaced last February that employees of some Planned Parenthood clinics expressed a willingness to accept donations from callers who expressed the blatantly racist motivation of wanting to see more black children aborted, with a couple of the Planned Parenthood employees even seeming to express agreement with the racist statements. O'Reilly interviewed conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham about the attention she has given to the issue on her show, and played a clip of one of the phone calls. (Transcript follows)
In February, a conservative student publication at UCLA, The Advocate, revealed that it had called a number of Planned Parenthood clinics pretending to be interested in donating money to the organization while feigning a racist intention of wanting to reduce the number of black children. O'Reilly played one clip:
AUDIO OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE DONOR: Hello, Autumn. I'm interested in making a donation today.
AUDIO OF FEMALE PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE: Fantastic!
DONOR: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group. Would that be possible?
Interviewed by Bill Moyers for a PBS show to be aired on the night of April 25, 2008, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. accused people of trying to paint him as "un-American" or "some sort of fanatic" for purposes of harming the candidacy of Barack Obama. (AP Photo/PBS, Robin Holland, HO)
In an attempt to rehabilitate Jeremiah Wright and, by extension, Senator Barack Obama's connection to the man, Friday's "Good Morning America" featured two segments on the "soft-spoken," patriotic pastor, a man who urged God to damn America. Reporter David Wright, a well-known Obama partisan, described an appearance Pastor Wright made with liberal PBS journalist Bill Moyers. Wright cooed, "But the soft-spoken man who sits down with Bill Moyers couldn't seem more different from that fire-brand preacher we've all seen in those sound bites."
During his segment, the ABC reporter seemed to accept Reverend Wright's contention that he had been smeared by the media. Journalist Wright, no relation to the pastor, asserted, "In the interview, Pastor Wright expresses his horror that the media has made him a bogeyman." As though he were a PR representative, (reporter) Wrightmentioned the reverend's military service and spun, "There's plenty in Wright's background that speaks to his patriotism." He argued that some of the pastor's comments were taken out of context, citing the background of Wright's "chickens are coming home to roost" remark. However, the ABC journalist skipped over the incendiary preacher's contention that "the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." Was that "soft spoken" falsehood taken "out of context?"
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
Voting for someone based on qualifications or ideology rather than race is very "white" according to "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Also, according to Joy Behar, only white males like tax cuts.
Discussing Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s concern that women are voting for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman and black voting for Barack Obama because he’s black, Whoopi Goldberg dismissed Hasselbeck’s concerns and proclaimed "that’s a very white way to look at it." Of course Whoopi said it "with a huge amount of love." Hasselbeck sarcastically responded "let me take off my white goggles." Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg agreed Hasselbeck can not suggesting the white people will never understand.
Earlier in the discussion, Behar added that voting for someone with the same gender or race may be in a person’s interest. She hypothesized that a woman over 50 who may face age discrimination may vote for Hillary as a way to combat that. She also suggested that white men vote Republican because "the white male loves his tax cuts." In Behar’s world, only white men like tax cuts.
New York Times reporter Michael Luo wrung his hands Thursday about a potentially racially divisive ad from the North Carolina Republican party that linked two Democrats running for governor to Sen. Barack Obama and his hate-mongering former pastor Jeremiah Wright.
Despite objections from Senator John McCain, the North Carolina Republican Party is planning to roll out a television advertisement on Monday attacking two Democrats who are running for governor by linking them to Senator Barack Obama and playing a clip of his former pastor excoriating the United States.
The release of the commercial, which Republican officials in North Carolina said would make its debut during the 6 p.m. newscasts, injects a potentially divisive racial element into the campaign for the state's Democratic presidential primary, which is on May 6.
That's the second time in two days the paper has described the ad as racially divisive. On Wednesday, Patrick Healy wrote:
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary, co-anchor Chris Matthews brought up the possibility that the North Carolina Republican Party would run an "overtly racist" campaign against Barack Obama, as the MSNBC host harkened back to the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt. Matthews: "North Carolina will be interesting, and I think that if the Republican Party goes back to the old trick it did with the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt and running a campaign which is overtly racist, I think that will be a mistake if they do that. I'll wait and see if they do that." (Transcript follows)
After referring to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, co-anchor Keith Olbermann brought up the possibility that John McCain could also be attacked for connections with controversial people: "There is a lot that could be thrown at the Republicans by the Democrats and the past associations of Senator McCain, or even some of the current ones."
CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's "The Situation Room." "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be president.'" While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who apparently agreed with it.
In early April, Times Executive Editor Bill Keller (photo courtesy of the New York Times) discussed his recent book "The Tree Shaker: The Story of Nelson Mandela," a children's book on the life of the South African leader Nelson, on the Times' "Ask A Reporter" site.
The project is aimed at schoolchildren, who submit questions to selected Times reporters about the job of reporting. The reporters generally respond with bland, follow-your-dreams stuff to the audience of aspiring journalists or curious students, but Keller's response to one student's question might raise some eyebrows.
A New York City 12th grader asked Keller:
"What do you think of the analogy between apartheid South Africa and Israel-Palestine? I remember hearing about a lot of controversy last year regarding Jimmy Carter's book, 'Peace Not Apartheid.'"
Keller responded in a post dated April 4 by saying that one has to be careful with analogies, but also suggested that that one had some validity:
On his April 8 "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann smeared Iraq war veteran David Bellavia as a racist:
OLBERMANN, from the April 8 "Countdown" opening credits: Nothing obscure about this: Racism as a Republican campaign plank. Sen. McCain introduced at a rally on Capitol Hill."
BELLAVIA, introducing then hugging McCain: You can have your Tiger Woods. We've got Sen. McCain.
OLBERMANN: Did he actually just say that? And why did McCain then embrace him?
Bellavia is running as a Republican for Congress in upstate New York and is pitted against another Iraq veteran, Democratic nominee Jon Powers, in that contest. Olbermann turned to liberal professor Michael Eric Dyson to sanction Olbermann's specious charge that the McCain campaign is racist:
"The View" co-hosts will go so far to defend Reverend Jeremiah Wright and by extension Barack Obama, that they will even throw Martin Luther King Jr. under the bus. Discussing Wright again on the April 7 edition, the ladies justified Wright’s words by noting some very controversial remarks by the late Dr. King. Sherri Shepherd, apparently taking Michael Eric Dyson’s cue, quoted King predicting America "will put black people in a concentration camp." Joy Behar, in a hopeful tone, added "Maybe someday Reverend Wright’s words will be taken out of- in a different context. It’s possible."
Whoopi Goldberg also justified Wright’s extreme sermons, opining he is bringing his anger from a different era. Elisabeth Hasselbeck wondered what happened to "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Whoopi Goldberg again justified Wright’s anger.
ABC has served warning: use the Rev. Wright against Barack Obama at your peril. Be prepared to be accused of "raising the race issue" to hit "below the belt."
ABC's David Wright, a certified Obama fan/Hillary critic based on this past performance, issued his edict on today's Good Morning America.
Riffing off Hillary having compared herself to Rocky Balboa running all the way up those steps in the first movie, Wright first fairly pointed out the irony of the analogy: Rocky wound up losing the fight. Pushing the boxing metaphor, Wright then landed his haymaker:
DAVID WRIGHT: In its approach to superdelegates, the Clinton campaign may be close to hitting below the belt. Clinton's top delegate hunter Harold Ickes told an interviewer he's raising the race issue with superdelegates, arguing that Obama's controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, makes him unelectable.
New York Times reporter Katie Thomas embraced radical chic near the end of her front-page story Tuesday on the prospect for political protests at the 2008 Olympics, hosted by China.
Perhaps the best-known examples are the American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who at the 1968 Games in Mexico City raised their clenched fists on the medal podium during the playing of the national anthem in a salute to black power. The action enraged the Olympic organizers, and Mr. Carlos and Mr. Smith were soon ushered out of the country. Now, 40 years later, their action is celebrated as heroic.
Raising a "Black Power" fist in defiance of the national anthem qualifies as heroic in the mind of the Times?
Radical Pan-African activist Stokely Carmichael, who coined the phrase, said of his movement:
When you talk of black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created.
Just when you thought the conflagration over James Carville's Judas analogy might be dying down, here comes Derrick Z. Jackson to pour gasoline on the flames with a return-fire Judas shot of his own.
Readers will recall that when Bill Richardson endorsed Obama, Clinton fan Carville chose Good Friday to say:
Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic.
Offered the chance to apologize or withdraw his remarks, the cantankerous Cajun declined, choosing instead to rub in his remarks:
I was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it. I’m not apologizing, I’m not resigning, I’m not doing anything.
Enter Obama fan Jackson with his column of today, On race, Clinton misses the call, in which the Boston Glober sees "signs that [Hillary] will continue to skate the thin ice of race politics and risk the Democratic Party falling through." He saves his Judas shot for last [emphasis added]:
"The View’s" Joy Behar is so partisan as to spin an ethnic slur from Barack Obama’s pastor into a compliment. Discussing Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s "garlic nosed Italians" comments on the March 28 edition, Behar noted "he’s talking about the ancient Romans here," (apparently Reverend Wright did not know that Italy did not exist as a country until 1861) and claimed "the Roman nose has been celebrated in art and history...I don’t think it’s insulting." She also added that garlic in her diet helps with her "gorgeous complexion."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck compared it to the use of the nose as an anti-Semitic stereotype. Behar disagreed asserting "the Roman nose hasn’t been used against Italians the way the Jewish stereotype of a hook nose has been used against the Jews."
Also of note in the segment, Whoopi Goldberg compared Obama’s pastor problem to John F. Kennedy’s challenge to run for president as a Catholic. Barbara Walters immediately responded that the comparison was not valid.