With Sen. Barack Obama's present lead in the polls, there's been hand-wringing in the media that he could possibly lose the race due to the so-called Bradley Effect, wherein racist white voters lie to pollsters on the telephone about their voting preferences in order to, well, not sound racist.
But as a former Bradley campaign staffer writes in an October 19 op-ed for the New York Times, it was Bradley's liberal policies and an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort by the GOP that put George Deukmejian into the Governor's Mansion. Writes Blair Levin (via Karen Tumulty of Time magazine):
On election night in 1982, with 3,000 supporters celebrating prematurely at a downtown hotel, I was upstairs reviewing early results that suggested Bradley would probably lose.
But he wasn’t losing because of race. He was losing because an unpopular gun control initiative and an aggressive Republican absentee ballot program generated hundreds of thousands of Republican votes no pollster anticipated, giving Mr. Deukmejian a narrow victory.
The Associated Press has once again called Governor Sarah Palin a racist. This time Rachel D’Oro for the AP bases her claim on the fact that Palin appointed minorities to her Alaska administration -- but not enough of them to suit the AP -- and because at an Alaska rally when she was running for governor one attendee once spoke to a black cameraman in an unkind manner. Yep, that's a mountain of evidence the AP has there, isn't it?
The AP also spoke to a few black ministers in Alaska and, shockingly, they announced that they felt she had no "sensitivity" to their political positions. Imagine that? A Republican that isn't receptive to demands based on a race driven agenda? No one has ever heard of that before, right?
Taxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.
At the top of CNN.com’s most popular stories at midday Wednesday was a commentary by CNN contributor Roland Martin, a relentless unpaid Obama spin controller and host of a series of weekend specials. Martin's commentary argued that the Bill Ayers issue is a "smokescreen" and that if Barack Obama is tarred by working with Ayers, McCain is just as tarred by working with....Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and Robert Byrd, who was "once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic terrorist organization!"
The McCain camp, along with their right-wing media comrades, want to convince you that Obama should not have decided to serve with Ayers, who was named the Citizen of the Year in Chicago in 1987 for his education work, and who is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In a rapid fire display of flip-flopping that would make even the staunchest of liberals proud, Newsweek's Howard Fineman manages to change his opinion on the justification of an Obama-Lincoln connection three times in just under 900 words.
The random logic is hard to see through all the gooeyness behind the concept of such a ridiculous comparison in the first place, but once you wipe the screen, you'll be able to spot it clear as day.
Fineman starts by asking himself a few questions:
Is there any reason, other than the lean frame and knack for giving good speeches, to compare the two men? Is there any reason to see in Obama a Lincoln-like ability to unite a "house divided" in our perilous times? Is that even a fair question to ask or comparison to make?
While most of us would scoff at the notion, Fineman concludes otherwise:
The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome? Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks. In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge." According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.
Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.
There's one good reason Gwen Ifill, the host of the PBS show Washington Week, is moderating the vice-presidential debate: she has a forthcoming book about Barack Obama (and other black Democrats) called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill talks about the book project on YouTube here.
In addition to her portrait of Obama, Ifill will also investigate Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a close friend of Obama's; Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who Ifill describes as "very charismatic" in the video; and Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama. "They all chose to get into politics for the most upstanding of reasons, and they all have achieved much more than their parents could have hoped." It doesn't hurt that it's made Obama a mega-best-selling multi-millionaire author.
With the first official presidential debate for 2008 set to begin this evening on the Oxford campus of Ole Miss, Washington Post associate editor Kevin Merida gave readers of today's Style section a glimpse at how the state of Mississippi is still "Bearing Its Southern Cross."
Merida opened by insisting that the Magnolia State "has been chasing away ghosts for years, trying to rid itself of a past that keeps haunting the present" and that "the ghosts just won't leave Mississippi alone." The Post staffer did end up closing on a positive note regarding race relations in Mississippi, but in doing so, he failed to note the role of conservative policies in leading an overwhelmingly white state senate district to elect a black candidate:
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," journalist Bill Weir touted left-wing filmmaker Spike Lee as a "social critic" and ignored any mention of the director's bizarre conspiracy theories, such as his 2005 contention that the United States government intentionally blew up the levees during Hurricane Katrina in order to flood African American areas. Instead, Weir marveled, "No director in Hollywood has attacked the thorny issue of race quite like Spike Lee."
While promoting Lee's new World War II film, the anchor of the weekend edition of GMA enthused, "'Do the Right Thing' and 'Malcolm X,' still loom over his 15 other feature films as ground breaking emblems of righteous anger." Weir also labeled the more hopeful tone of Lee's "The Miracle at St. Anna" as a "reflection of one social critic's mood in an age of change."Of course, Weir neglected to mention that this same "social critic" has also declared "it's not far-fetched" to think that the levees in New Orleans were destroyed by the United States government.
On September 20, Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters posted on a misleading Associated Press/Yahoo poll on racism. The poll asserted that if Barack Obama loses, it will be because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."
Later that day, NB's Michael Bates criticized the AP's report on the poll for its historically inaccurate claim that the US "enshrined slavery into its constitution."
NB's Lyndsi Thomas got into the neighborhood of the concern I'm about to note on Sunday, when she noted that the pollsters tried to ferret out racism by asking questions that could be seen as purely political and having nothing to do with race.
But it seems to me that the pollsters engaged in a bit of hocus pocus. These three paragraphs from a story explaining AP's methodology carried at the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me that impression:
A 60-year-old white woman from Spring Hill, Florida is quoted as saying that there is no chance a black man can win the White House. This same woman, Sandra Cichon, is quoted in a total of three St. Petersburg Times stories, the latest being from September 15. But in a follow up interview, Barbara Sowell of digitaljournal.com finds that Cichon claims she was never called by a pollster, as the paper claims, and never told any reporter that she wouldn't vote for a black man.
So who is right? Did the St. Petersburg Times merely make up racist quotes out of whole cloth and put words in the mouth of this woman or is she suddenly trying to take back what she said by claiming not to have been interviewed about Obama? Here's the story and you can decide.
The single most common current explanation for a possible Obama loss posited today by the left is that America is filled with racists. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review political reporter Selena Zito uses this charge to the hilt in a September 21 opinion piece on union members voting McCain. Naturally, the only reason Zito can come up with for this phenomenon is because these McCain supporting union members are wild-eyed racists. Yet, there are no statistics, no interviews with racists, no proof presented in this story other than the claims of professors and Obama supporters that it’s a true assessment.
This is an entirely common occurrence with these sorts of stories, too. We get all sorts of tongue clucking "experts" assuring us that anyone who votes for John McCain is a racist yet no proof other than the bald faced claims of those who merely assert the point as fact.
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed BET Tonight host Ed Gordon about a recently released Associated Press-Yahoo! poll which found that forty percent of white Americans and one-third of Democrats and Independents harbor negative feelings about African Americans. The segment did not include any critique of the poll or the suggestion that such a large amount of people hold these negative feelings. Instead, Rodriguez asked Gordon questions such as, "In a race as tight as this one is, do you think race could be the or a deciding factor?"
To identify the percentage of certain demographic groups who have "negative feelings" about African Americans, inferences were made about how respondents feel towards the minority group from the answers they gave to certain questions. Some of the possible answers to certain questions, however, may suggest more of a disagreement with liberal policies like Affirmative Action and welfare rather than negative feelings towards African Americans.
For example, one of the questions asked respondents to indicate how much they agree or disagree with certain statements. One of these statements said, "Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried."
Barack Obama became a candidate for president on the wings of his 2004 Dem convention keynote speech in which he famously said "there is not a Black America and a White America a Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America." But as Rush Limbaugh has described in the Wall Street Journal today, Obama is now relying on deceptive ads for the express purpose of stoking racial antagonism. Obama's appeal to our worst instincts finds its echo in the MSM. Time's Swampland blog has an item up today by Karen Tumulty entitled "McCain Plays the Race Card." How has McCain allegedly done this? By running an ad that, according to Tumulty [emphasis added]:
[I]s hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman . . . [T]he image of the victim doesn't seem accidental either, given the fact that older white women are a key swing constituency in this election.
The supposedly "sinister" looking black men? Barack Obama and Franklin Raines, the former CEO of Fannie Mae. And the "vulnerable-looking elderly white woman"? It's the lady shown in the image here [larger image after the jump]. Now as much as we might find it distasteful to engage in some kind of latter-day racial phrenology, if Time is going to rely on this image to accuse McCain of trying to scare elderly white women, I'm afraid we're going to have to go there. An informal instant-message survey of friends and family to whom I sent the image yielded these responses to my open-ended question as to the woman's race:
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air noted a revision to an existing Associated Press report carried in the Miami Herald yesterday. It concerned Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's accusations that Republicans are engaging in racial "code word" campaigning.
Among other adds, changes, and deletes, the revision deleted a racial reference in the original headline. It also removed a direct quote from Sebelius that "(Republicans) are not going to go lightly into the darkness."
Morrissey wasn't sure at the time he noted the revision whether the Herald or AP and writer Nigel Duara (with editorial help?) instigated the changes.
I can tell you that, as expected, it was AP, as the two Google News search pics taken during the noon hour Eastern Time show:
It is also yet another example of something an inquisitive media has failed to discover in the 21 months since an Obama presidential run became likely.
It's too bad. It's clear, from an underlying 2005 post at Analyze This, and other information S&L gathered, that had anyone in the media undertaken an effort to speak to Obama's co-workers at Business International, the firm where he worked after earning his bachelor's degree from Columbia, they would have found that the reality of that job differed sharply from how Obama described it in his best-selling Dreams from My Father.
Here are just three of many examples from S&L, comparing how Obama characterized his job and the reality described at Analyze This:
The legalization of slavery is a big campaign issue. Just ask Whoopi Goldberg. Republican nominee John McCain appeared on the Septemeber 12 edition of "The View." Answering a question about his opposition to Roe v. Wade, McCain insisted that he would support judges who strictly interpret the Constitution. This must have set alarms for Whoopi Goldberg who asked "do I have to worry about becoming a slave again?" [audio available here]
If Goldberg -- who in the past has shown clear ignorance about the Constitution -- would actually read the Constitution, she would know a strict constructionist would not return America to slavery. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Initially Senator McCain ignored Goldberg's question, but Whoopi expressed her enslavement anxiety again adding "there are certain things in the Constitution that you had to change." The "View" co-host should know that, unlike the legalization of abortion, slavery was abolished through a constitutional amendment, not a Supreme Court decision.
Republicans aren't racist per se, but they'll use the law to disenfranchise black voters who overwhemingly cast their ballots for Democrats.
That according to Newsweek's Jonathan Alter in a September 11 article on "Jim Crawford Republicans." Crawford was the losing party in a Supreme Court case earlier this year upholding Indiana's Voter ID law.
[W]ith the help of a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Crawford vs. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board, white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver's licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it's spreading.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer interviewed Republican presidential candidate John McCain and wondered why Americans weren’t sacrificing more during a time of war: "But we have one half of one percent of the American people who are making all of the sacrifice in this war. If the rest of us didn't watch television or looked at the newspaper, we might not know there's a war going on. Our taxes didn't go up, there's no rationing. If you didn't look for it, you wouldn't know the war was going on. Shouldn't there be some way, in a democracy, that we share this burden?"
Earlier in the interview, Schieffer asked McCain about the Republican convention and the delegates represented:
Subtract the subdued demeanor and the good tailoring, and how much difference is there between Brian Williams and Keith Olbermann? Take Williams' post-Palin speech analysis. Was the Nightly News anchor suggesting Palin's appeal is rooted in racism? He certainly made a clarion call to his fellow MSMers to keep up the good fight against her. Ann Curry interviewed a woman delegate who described Palin as "the American woman . . . who's had all the experiences that we have."
When it came Williams' turn to comment, he twisted the delegate's words into an invidious comparison between Palin and Barack Obama. Williams seemed perhaps to be suggesting Palin was appealing to racism.
Republicans really hold racist double standards when it involves teenage pregnancies and marriages. This according to Joy Behar, who shared such a sentiment on the September 3 edition of "The View." Discussing the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, Behar expressed sympathy for the father and fiancé, Levi Johnston.
Behar exclaimed it’s "the end of his life" because "he’s married at 17" (Johnston is actually 18, which is the legal difference between a child and an adult) When Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked "why isn’t that the beginning of another [life]?" Joy Behar, implying Republicans are racist, rebutted "if this was a black teenage couple, you wouldn’t be saying it so easily. Not you, but the Republican party would be all over that." Behar subsequently added "they’re white, they’re Christian. Everybody loves them on the right wing."
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin echoed Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on the subject of "diversity" in the Republican Party during CNN’s Tuesday evening coverage of the Republican convention: "I'd just like to make an observation about sort of the night as a whole. Fred Thompson, George Bush, Joe Lieberman -- the Republican Party, are they the party of old, white guys? I mean, this is who the Republican Party put forward first, and the only other people there were wives.... It is not a diverse party. It is not a party where women have had great success" [audio available here].
Are PUMAs racist? Colbert I. King seems to think so. In his WaPo column of today, A Suicidal Choice for Clinton Supporters, King delivers a laundry list of reasons why, in his opinion, it makes no sense for Hillary fans to support McCain. Since he brooks no rational justification for good Dems to desert Obama, by process of elimination, King apparently sees racism as the explanation.
Here's King's punch line [emphasis added]:
So what's drawing Hillary Clinton's die-hard fans to John McCain? Is the attraction only skin-deep?
In an election pitting McCain against the first major-party African-American presidential candidate in history,
Of all the criticisms an apparently panicky Dem party has heaped on Sarah Palin in the hours since her selection was announced, Keith Boykin [bio] has come up with perhaps the unseemliest. The former aide to President Clinton has accused Palin of being an "affirmative action" pick.
Boykin, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Law, was debating the selection with Republican Joe Watkins at the end of MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour. After some preliminary jousting, Boykin dropped his bomb.
KEITH BOYKIN Let me just say something about this choice. The reason why she doesn't help, quite frankly, is because it's an insult. It's an insult to women. I spoke to several women today at the Democratic National Convention who said it's insulting John McCain would pick somebody—an affirmative-action candidate basically—who is not qualified.
How does Keith Olbermann view pre-Obama America? Apparently akin to the Soviet Union, and South Africa under apartheid. Here was his statement from the top of tonight's DNC coverage.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It is an iconic night in history: we'll all remember this night as long as we live. This is the night that the first Western government, the first Western political power, or party, has nominated an African-American, someone of African heritage, to lead the country. It's something that took a long time to happen, almost like an old Polaroid film developing. But here it is. It happened officially last night, and tonight it is crowned, this achievement. And it's going to happen at a football field.
KEITH OLBERMANN: And it happens as suddenly in some respects as the Soviet Union crumbled or apartheid was beaten in South Africa. These seemingly invincible hurdles that could never be overcome and within a short period in our historical timespan, suddenly they're gone. And almost nobody saw it coming. Certainly no one at all saw it coming more than four years ago.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith set the tone for the show’s coverage of Barack Obama’s upcoming nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic convention: "First, history being made in Denver today." While Obama being the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party is historic, the Early Show went far beyond the other network morning shows, doing three stories on Obama being the first black Democratic nominee, with numerous comparisons to Martin Luther King and the 45th anniversary of King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today made no comparisons between Obama and King. On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts made only one brief reference to King’s 1963 speech at the end of a segment on preparations for Obama’s speech at Invesco Field. Speaking to editor-at-large for ‘O’ Magazine, Gayle King, Roberts asked: "And as we stood in the enormous empty stadium I couldn't help but feel the sweeping hand of history. I know my mother said she never thought she'd see this day. How do you feel about being here? We have seen grainy photos of the '60s of historic moments but to now know that we are also going to witness something like this."
In contrast, Thursday’s Early Show included four comparisons of Obama and King. The first reference was in a report by correspondent Bill Plante, the other three references were all by Smith. During a segment in the 7am half hour featuring poet Maya Angelou, he remarked: "Barack Obama was 2 years old when Dr. King shared his dream...Tonight Barack Obama will deliver another speech, loaded with history and promise."
Ah the wit and wisdom of Chris Matthews. Did you know that Joe Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pa., is stuck in 1957? Or that Sen. McCain hopes to peel off Michigan from the Democrats due in part to white voters anger at black Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick? Did you know you shouldn't bother to ask a Mormon what he did over the weekend?
Oh, and the media used to love John McCain because they were his base.
In the wake of Barack Obama officially becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "This day, August 28, is steeped in history. Barack Obama delivers his historic acceptance speech and 45 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have A Dream" speech. August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington, D.C. They came to march for jobs, and for freedom, and for equality."
Smith went on to describe Obama as the culmination of all of King’s efforts: "Barack Obama was 2 years old when Dr. King shared his dream. In 2004, Obama burst on to the national scene with a speech that paid homage to King and those who came before him...Tonight Barack Obama will deliver another speech, loaded with history and promise. And expectations are high." Smith also got reaction from poet Maya Angelou: "I mean, we all know he's going to, in front of our very eyes, metamorphose into Martin Luther King -- not really, no. He has a different background. He has, I think, pretty much the same dream. I think he had the same dream that any leader has for her people, for his people." Smith responded by adding: "A dream that would become the American dream."
Smith then wondered: "And if Dr. King were alive today?" Angelou speculated: "It'd be a lot of 'I told you so, we could do this.' To America, not to blacks, not to whites, and not to Asians. But to Americans, 'I knew we could do this.' Amazing, these are really historic moments we're in."