UPDATED: 2009-07-31 10:30:18 -0400 ABC’s Pierre Thomas landed an exclusive interview with Eric Holder on Wednesday’s Nightline, quizzing the Attorney General on race relations in America. Somehow, however, the reporter managed to completely ignore Holder’s incendiary remark from February that America is a "nation of cowards" when dealing with race relations.
One would assume such a statement might be relevant to Thomas’ questions about the ongoing controversy involving the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates by a police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Instead, the correspondent ignored the context, even as he explained, "[Holder] said the controversy in Cambridge proves more needs to be done in race relations." Thomas queried, "Have we reached the point where law enforcement is color blind?"
Are liberals less racist and/or more knowledgeable about racism than others? Donny Deutsch evidently thinks so. On MSNBC this afternoon, Deutsch asked a black academic to give him an example of racism he'd encountered because "as liberal as I am, I can't understand because I've never walked in your shoes."
Prof. James Peterson of Bucknell was a guest in MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour, during which Deutsch served as sidekick/kibitzer to host Tamron Hall. Peterson was in to comment on this evening's impending beer fest among Pres. Obama, Sgt. Crowley and Prof. Gates.
After NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams fawned Tuesday over President Obama planning to have a beer with Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith similarly declared: "...it’s being called the ‘beer summit.’ Tomorrow’s meeting between the President, the professor, and the policeman. We’re going to tell you what’s on tap."
Smith, along with co-hosts Russ Mitchell and Maggie Rodriguez, later devoted nearly two minutes of air time to discussing who would drink what brand of beer at the White House meeting, with Blue Moon, Budweiser, and Beck’s sitting on the table in front of them.
On NBC, Williams reported: "Professor Gates reported to be a Red Stripe man, Crowley is said to be partial to Blue Moon and the White House isn't talking about the President's brand of choice. That might constitute, you see, a White House endorsement."
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Reverend Jesse Jackson continued to promote the idea that Harvard Professor Henry Gates was a victim of racial profiling, despite new evidence to the contrary: "This issue of Dr. Gates being a victim of excessive force and bad judgment is a much bigger subject...This one case could open up the issue of the pervasiveness of race profiling."
Co-host Harry Smith had asked Jackson about a scheduled meeting between Gates, Cambridge police officer Sergeant James Crowley, and President Obama: "Do you think there's any chance these three men can embark after this meeting is over having found common ground?" Jackson argued: "Well, they have the supreme arbiter in the President of the United States of America. It's a big subject for a small meeting." He went on to compare the Gates case to that of Rosa Parks: " If Rosa Parks and James Blake, the bus driver, had met at the White House and did not deal with the issue of denial of public accommodations, it would have been personal and not policy."
Immediately preceding the discussion with Jackson, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the newly released 911 call by Gates’ neighbor Lucia Whelan, and pointed out that Whelan: "...describes the scene, but what she doesn't mention is the men's skin color." Solorzano went on to cite Whelan’s attorney, Wendy Murphy: "Now she's glad to have an opportunity to clear the air and make it very clear she is not a racist."
A recent New York Post story brought up a point about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that few in the Old Media have paid much attention to. Apparently, Gates has since the arrest announced he is in the early stages of involvement in a PBS TV series on civil rights in America. It is odd that this single fact has not been a focus of much discussion.
After all, if Gates is about to start a TV show about civil rights, what better way to punch up that participation than to "suddenly" get mixed up in a national civil rights "abuse" case? What better way to highlight America's civil rights problem than to become a nationally known victim of so-called racism?
Why is no one asking how long Gates has been in the planning stages of this TV show? Was he planning it since before the arrest? It all leads one to wonder if Gates saw an opportunity to gin up interest in his TV appearance by becoming a victim? Instead of experiencing any actual racial tension, did Gates invent his own ready-made, sensational incident to turn his scholarly civil rights discussion into the quintessential TV reality show extravaganza? Was all this just a TV stunt in Gates' mind? Was it mere opportunism?
President Obama's experience last year earning fawning press coverage as a “genius” on race relations lulled him into assuming “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable,” columnist Charles Krauthammer postulated Friday night on FNC in suggesting an explanation for why Obama so misunderstand how his remarks on Henry Louis Gates would ensnare him in controversy. Krauthammer opined: “A lot of the Obama presidency is a contest between his intelligence and his arrogance” and he thought “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable.”
One reason for that, Krauthammer contended, is that after he “gave the famous speech in Philadelphia” on race in March of 2008, in which “he did not renounce Jeremiah Wright” as “he blamed everybody for racism -- black, white and grandmother, except himself,” he nonetheless “was hailed by a supine press as the second coming of Lincoln at Cooper Union. So after, that you think you can say anything on race and be hailed as a genius.”
Indeed, hours after Obama's Tuesday, March 18, 2008 address, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, NewsBusters recounted, praised it as “worthy of Abraham Lincoln” and also claimed it bypassed Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” address as the “best speech ever given on race in this country.”
In an "analysis" on how President Obama is dealing with the race issue, AP writer Charles Babington seems to have based his take on what happened to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the assumption that Gates was arrested for being black in his home, not that he was arrested for disorderly conduct and for his outrageous disrespect for a police officer -- something to which other police officers involved attest, officers that are themselves minorities.
Babington so soft-pedals Obama's gaffe against the police officers, leaving out so many details that, after reading the story, one finds it difficult to understand why Obama's words were so controversial. And it's all in a seeming effort to cover for the president and try to help him reclaim the high ground on race in America. The whole Babington piece appears to be far more of an effort to smooth the waters for Obama instead of provide any actual analysis of the incident.
Calling Obama's reaction to the Gates arrest "understated" and "perhaps obvious," Babington goes on to say that Gates was arrested in his home -- without giving any context at all -- and assumes that even with Obama in the White House race is still a major problem in America.
The networks might just as well have hung out a sign this morning: non-African-American experts on policing and racial profiling need not apply. Good Morning America, the Early Show and Today had a total of six guests on the subject . . . and every one was African-American.
Among the highlights: a writer from Tina Brown's Daily Beast suggested that given our incarceration rate, the USA meets the definition of a "police state."
Watching Associated Press reports evolve, or as is all too often the case, devolve, can be a revealing exercise.
Example: What happened between 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday that would have caused the Associated Press and writer Nancy Benac to water down the headline and opening paragraphs of their story about the Obama-Gates-Crowley situation from this ....
Someone at the Associated Press got a headline mostly right ("Obama rushes to quell racial uproar he helped fire") -- although you still have to wonder if it had been almost anyone else, if something along the lines of "xxxx stops short of full apology" would have been used instead.
AP writer Nancy Benac's story does note a couple of clear negatives in Barack Obama's behavior in the Henry Gates matter, but it also lapses into blather about "the nation's keen sensitivities on matters of race."
Benac also blew by an incendiary comment by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the President's police union critics reported earlier today at the Politico -- "I think the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCain, if I'm not mistaken" -- that surely would not have been ignored had a Republican president's PressSec had made a similar statement about a Democrat-endorsing group. It as if, in Gibbs's world, partisanship is the only reason the FOP defended officer James Crowley.
ABC, CBS and NBC all led Friday night with President Obama’s decision to appear in the White House press room to backtrack on the fury he inflamed by presuming “stupidity” by the police in the Professor Henry Gates alleged “racial profiling” incident, but only Katie Couric trumpeted Obama’s appearance in the White House briefing room -- which the CBS Evening News ran for an uninterrupted four solid minutes -- as “extraordinary” and “really unprecedented,” before she pouted over how “the timing could not be worse. Just as he was pushing so hard for health care reform and having some pretty serious setbacks.”
She pressed Bob Schieffier to provide Obama with guidance to get back on track on health care: “And how do you think the President can, if he can, resuscitate this whole effort?” Schieffer advised the obvious: “What he's got to do, I think now, is set out some specific things that he wants them to do and then push them to do it.” (Between the four minutes of Obama and when Couric turned to Schieffer, CBS aired a piece from reporter Bill Whitaker on why blacks fear the police.)
CNN daytime anchor Tony Harris has a bit of a different perspective on the Henry Louis Gates arrest.
Around 12:31 PM, after the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition held a press conference defending Sgt. Crowley’s conduct in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Harris spoke to the CNN reporter on the scene, Don Lemon. Having been informed that one of the reasons the union decided to hold the press conference was a sinking morale among officers after President Obama’s remarks on the matter, Harris said:
After portraying Professor Henry Gates as a victim of racial profiling on Thursday, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported: "We are learning more about the arresting officer...this is the guy hand-picked to help teach recruits how not to racially profile. This is a guy who helped try to save the life of [late Boston Celtics basketball player] Reggie Lewis."
A report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano further informed viewers: "It turns out the arresting white officer was actually hand-picked by a black police commissioner to have him teach recruits how to avoid racial profiling...Sergeant James Crowley, an 11-year veteran of the force, is an expert on racial profiling, having taught a course at the police academy."
In addition, Solorzano’s report featured clips of an interview with Sergeant Crowley: "I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't...There was a lot of yelling. There was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that would be – should be grateful that you're there investigating the report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."
NPR’s Juan Williams criticized President Obama’s “the police acted stupidly” response to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates during a segment on Friday’s Good Morning America: “The president has gone way, way too far without having looked at the police report, without knowing the facts of the case.” He later recommended that the president “walk it back and say, you know what- I spoke out of turn here.”
Anchor Chris Cuomo sought Williams’s take on the Democrat’s now infamous remarks on the detainment of the Harvard professor just after the beginning of the 7 am hour. He first brought up a standard mainstream media race question: “Do you think the police would have acted the same way, if Gates had been a white man?” The NPR analyst replied that he wasn’t sure, and gave an anecdote of his experience growing up in Brooklyn: “I don’t know the Cambridge police intimately....I grew up in Brooklyn during the ‘60s, and had...sort of a tense relationship with police- especially white police- as a young, black kid.”
Williams continued by giving his first critical analysis of the president’s answer: “My concern about the president speaking out here is, I’m not sure he saw the police report, where you can read that Gates was- had become rather aggressive with the cop...The cop was responding to a report of a break-in at the house, and by Gates’ own account, he tried to force his way into his own house, and that house had been broken into previously.”
On Thursday night’s edition of The Ed Show on MSNBC, host Ed Schultz covered the Henry Louis Gates arrest controversy not by just insulting cops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but police all across America: "I think we live in an age where we have a lot of overzealous law enforcement, I really do. Now if the law enforcement officials know the community, they should have known that this guy lived there."
Leftist professor Michael Eric Dyson was a Schultz guest. (He also appeared Thursday morning on Today "balanced" with radio host Michael Smerconish, who insisted on reminding the audience that he voted for Obama.) On MSNBC, Dyson called Gates "the Rosa Parks of racial profiling." Even if you believe racial profiling is a huge problem, isn’t Gates a little late in our history to be the Rosa Parks? Wouldn’t he nominate Rodney King or someone from a few decades back? Here’s what Dyson said:
"I wasn't at the press conference last night, and I also don't have all the facts, but I think it's fair to say that Obama handled that question -- oh, what's the word I'm looking for -- stupidly?"
So quite surpisingly said Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on Thursday's "Daily Show" in reference to the President's statement at Wednesday's press conference that the police officers involved in Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates's arrest "acted stupidly."
I kid you not.
In a fabulous display of bipartisan comedy -- Stewart deliciously lambasted Republicans, Democrats, Fox News, CNN, Brian Williams, healthcare reform, and, yes, the President -- Stewart ended the segment criticizing Obama's answer to Lynn Sweet's question about what the Gates incident says about race relations in America (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 6:12, vulgarity warning, h/t NBer balboa):
Now that President Obama has weighed in on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, it seems a metaphysical certitude news media will milk this story for all it's worth.
On Thursday, the CBS "Evening News" did exactly that by first opening its program with the President's statement made during Wednesday's press conference, and then following it with a segment on how this incident "spotlights a history of mistrust between police and minority communities."
As you watch the following video, ask yourself whether the content of this segment will improve race relations in America, or worsen them (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):
Here's something you don't see every day: a prominent anchor from CNN offering the same opinion as a prominent anchor from Fox News.
Such seems even less likely when the subject involves President Obama, but that's exactly what happened on Thursday's Steve Malzberg Show on WOR radio.
The conservative host spoke separately to FNC's Bret Baier and CNN's John King about the following remarks Obama made during Wednesday's press conference:
I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don`t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it`s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That`s just a fact.
While interviewing the daughter of arrested Harvard Professor Henry Gates on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered: "Is there something in this that says, ‘I'm not going to take this’?...In speaking with your father, was he hurt by this?...Was his heart broken by it?" [audio available here]
Elizabeth Gates, a writer for the DailyBeast.com, declared that: "I think for anybody, you know, who is violated in their own home in that way, I think they would, you know, also call on their own defenses...My father was so sad about this, and again because he's always – you know, my father might be one of the last black men on earth who actually believed in the justice system." It would seem that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas still believes in the American justice system.
Gates, whose father was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking into his own home, went on to explain: "You know, my father is a proponent of, you know, intellectualism can help you outrun the – the war on race. And I think the incident last week is a clear indication that that's not yet true...You know, he believes in following the rules, and when they're broken, it kind of disturbs his sense of security. And yeah, he was deeply heartbroken. I was not surprised, but he was very surprised."
In the L.A. Times on July 22, writer Catherine Lyons again revealed a bit of her Bush Derangement Syndrome by calling the war on terror a “so-called war on terror.” What is with these people that simply cannot accept terms of reality? It’s like this every time they use the word terrorism, or “terrorism” as the Old Media so often terms it, and the war on terror. The Old Media simply refuses to understand that terrorism exists, that it is a problem, and that we are at war with terrorists.
This usage of the “so-called” remark was doubly amusing because Lyons threw in her “so-called war on terror” comment into a story about U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s visit to a closed meeting of Muslims held in Los Angeles on July 18. Her scoffing at the war on terror seemed geared to let Muslim readers in on the fact that she didn’t believe there was terrorism or that Bush was really fighting a war on terror… wink, wink.
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly gave attention to the recent dustup between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford, as O’Reilly hosted Alford to discuss Boxer’s recent attempt to use other black organizations to discredit Alford’s opposition to Cap and Trade during a Senate hearing. While Boxer declined to appear on the show, O’Reilly defended her in his discussion with Alford, arguing that her attacks on black political figures like Justice Clarence Thomas are rooted more in her opposition to their conservative views than by race, while Alford renewed his criticisms of Boxer. Alford:
It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi back in the bad old days when one black preacher would rise up against the big boss. He'd go find another black preacher to fight against that black preacher. You know, it was ugly. And she jumped, she opened up a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into.
The serially dishonest Frank Rich, a New York Times columnist, wouldn't know an example of racism if it sat on his head.
In his latest column he haughtily bloviates in an attempt to turn the tables on Republican senators by accusing those who grilled Judge Sonia Sotomayor during her Supreme Court confirmation proceeding last week of being the real racists.
Yet the Sotomayor show was still rich in historical significance. Someday we may regard it as we do those final, frozen tableaus of Pompeii. It offered a vivid snapshot of what Washington looked like when clueless ancien-régime conservatives were feebly clinging to their last levers of power, blissfully oblivious to the new America that was crashing down on their heads and reducing their antics to a sideshow as ridiculous as it was obsolescent. [...]
On Thursday, NewsBusters asked if the media would notice Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) being called out by the CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce for her racist and condescending treatment of him during a Senate hearing.
Such seemed a particularly important question as this disgraceful event occurred on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.
Yet, according to LexisNexis, not one major media outlet other than FNC thought it was at all newsworthy that Harry Alford called Boxer "God-awful" for pitting the opinions of other black organizations against his.
You think this would have been boycotted, especially on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, if Boxer had an "R" next to her name instead of a "D"?
For those interested in hearing more from Alford, he was interviewed by LA radio host and Sarah Palin documentarian John Ziegler Friday, and made some comments about Boxer I guarantee media will also ignore (video embedded below the fold, h/t Hot Air):
Marking the 100th anniversary of the NAACP on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Bill Whitaker wondered: "A black president who addresses black issues unflinchingly...Attorney General Eric Holder dedicated to equal justice...some say begs the question, is the NAACP needed anymore? Is it even relevant? Is it time for the venerable organization to say ‘mission accomplished’?"
Later in the segment, Whitaker answered that question: "[Current NAACP President Benjamin Todd] Jealous and [former NAACP President Julian] Bond say with one of fifteen black males behind bars, with black students in inferior schools, with almost half of black homeowners in subprime mortgages...there’s plenty of work to do."
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, correspondent Ron Allen similarly questioned the NAACP’s relevance: "With an African-American in the White House and many discrimination battles won, the question is whether the NAACP is still necessary." Allen, like Whitaker, cited the organization’s leadership: "Jealous says the battle now is to close the social and economic achievement gap between people of color and mainstream America...A fight for justice and equality he insists must be carried on."
Neither Whitaker nor Allen applied a liberal political to the NAACP or featured any critics of the organization’s left-wing causes.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Randall Pinkston described President Obama’s Thursday address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "The crowd responded to his soaring, almost sermon-like rhetoric."
Obama’s speech was part of the NAACP’s annual convention and marked the 100th anniversary of the organization’s founding. Fill-in co-host Jeff Glor introduced Pinkston’s report by declaring: "The NAACP has spent a century trying to break down racial barriers...last night's anniversary party in New York featured the man who broke the ultimate barrier."
In contrast to the two news briefs the Early Show dedicated to the President’s speech, both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today offered only single-sentence reports. [audio available here]
[Update, 10:36 pm Eastern: audio and video links added below.]
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez devoted an entire segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program to his interviews of five “wise Latina” women from his hometown of Miami, including his own mother, about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though Sanchez did point out how many Americans disagreed with the nominee’s decision in the New Haven firefighters case, all of the women supported Sotomayor [audio clips from the segment are available here; the video clips are available at this link].
The anchor traveled to Miami, in his words, going “out of the D.C. Beltway and find some other Latina women with a smart take on one of their own.” He conducted the interviews around the dinner table in his mother’s house, or, in his mother’s case, in the adjourning kitchen. Sanchez gave a preview of the segment on the Wednesday edition of Newsroom while on location in the south Florida metropolis. Both days, the CNN anchor featured the clip from his interview of his mother, who, through her son’s translation (she’s originally from Cuba), voiced her support for the Supreme Court nominee and her identification with her. Also on both days, Sanchez made light of the now-infamous “wise Latina” label that Sotomayor had used in the past, and is now being scrutinized over.
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor responding to questions about her "wise Latina" comments during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, CBS’s Wyatt Andrews glossed over the multiple times she made the remark: "What did she mean in her 2001 speech to Hispanic law students at the University of California that "a wise Latina woman...would reach a better conclusion than a white male?"
In addition to the Evening News story, Andrews similarly reported on Wednesday’s Early Show: "She said it in a speech to a mostly Hispanic audience at the University of California in 2001." In reality, Sotomayor made some version of that controversial statement at least four other times during speeches in 1994, 1999, 2002, and 2004.
In the Early Show story, Andrews went on to depict the comment as an isolated incident: "At the hearing, she first explained she was trying to inspire the students, that she was misunderstood. But pressed hard by Senator John Kyl, she admitted to some overheated rhetoric...But she also argued the comment did not reflect some deep-seeded bias."
Keith Olbermann, one of MSNBC’s resident leftists posing as anchors, named Jim Robinson, the founder of FreeRepublic.com, as his runner-up on his “Worst Person in the World” feature on his Countdown program on Monday evening but twice called him “Jim Thompson.”
After first implying that “Thompson” and his site’s moderators were a bunch of juveniles, Olbermann explained that the reason why the Free Republic founder was so bad was because a few posters on one of the regular picture caption threads made “racist” comments, and that it took them supposedly “as long as three days before removing a comment thread devoted to the racist rage of a disturbingly large number of his posters, possibly some of the same people who had previously conducted polls on the site on how best to topple the freely-elected government of the United States” [audio clips from the segment are available here].
On Monday, CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews reported on the beginning of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and declared: "To Democrats, Sotomayor is the perfect nominee. That a child of the projects would progress through Ivy League schools and later a 17-year career as a federal judge makes hers an all-American story."
The Early Show segment began with co-host Julie Chen citing poll numbers that showed the American people were not fully impressed with that "all-American story": "A new CBS poll finds that 23% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Judge Sotomayor [decrease from 33% in June], while 15% were unfavorable [up from 9% in June]. 6 in 10 are still undecided or have not heard enough yet [62%, up from 58%]. And 35% say it's very important to have another woman on the high court." An on-screen graphic of the numbers showed a shift from June, but Chen failed to note the change in people’s attitudes toward Sotomayor.
The New York State Senate, it appears, has reached an all-time low.
One might possibly overlook the legislative wrangling, the blatant power-playing, the use of thuggery to enforce a particular party’s control over the Senate. One might also overlook the unbelievable childish behavior of the Senate, in which even New York Governor Patterson, owner of the lowest approval rating of any governor in the United States, looks positively Lincolnian. And one might even ignore the dearth of media coverage – after all, one can be thankful that the national media is not as fixated on this as they are on the burial arrangements of Michael Jackson.
But there is a new development that should not be ignored – something so heinous, the media would prove themselves worthless, if they do.
Put plainly, the New York Senate Democrats’ behavior, over the course of five months of Senate control, appears to be blatantly racist.