Last night's GOP presidential forum was marked by a lack of attendence from the top candidates who said they couldn't come due to "scheduling conflicts."
Could the real reason they didn't come was that the debate moderator, liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley, has a long history of making offensive remarks about Republicans?
Attending the debate in person, I decided to ask that question to Smiley, specifically about his remark that he considered then-Texas-governor George W. Bush to be a "serial killer" for his enforcement of that state's capital punishment laws. His answer was both misleading and evasive.
People who are sick and tired of the smear campaigns against conservatives emanating from the left take heart, for it appears that last night's "O'Reilly Factor" was a foreshadowing of things to come.
Just hours after Bill O'Reilly came out strongly against media representatives parroting factually inaccurate statements promulgated by leftwing websites and organizations, the host of the "Radio Factor" issued a strong warning Thursday to press outlets participating in such smear campaigns.
Fasten your seatbelts, because this is really delicious (audio available here courtesy Johnny Dollar):
Keith Olbermann this week has been happier than Ralphie Parker on Christmas morning over a left-wing group-generated controversy over Bill O'Reilly. But like the BB-gun-receiving protagonist of "A Christmas Story," lil' Keithie needs to know the dangers of (metaphorically) putting his eye out. After all, on September 9 on NBC's "Football Night in America," Olbermann made a cryptic crack that could be taken to be racially insensitive, if not racist.
The morning after CNN and MSNBC began salivating over a potential “Imus moment” pushed by a far-left group to suppress Bill O'Reilly over a supposedly racist remark, CBS and NBC on Wednesday advanced the liberal group's cause with multi-part segments on the topic. But while NBC's Today at least provided some balance and proper labeling, CBS's Early Show, with “In Hot Water” and “O'Race Factor” on screen, aired a story which failed to identify the ideology of Media Matters and followed with Julie Chen pressing the only guest to agree O'Reilly's comment was racist and that he must issue an apology. Amazingly, neither show bothered to mention that Juan Williams, the black journalist who was on O'Reilly's radio show when the FNC host made the remarks in question, defended O'Reilly: “It had nothing to do with racist ranting by anybody except these idiots at CNN.”
Harry Smith teased Wednesday's Early Show: “Bill O'Reilly in hot water over race remarks. The controversy ahead, early this Wednesday morning, September 26th, 2007.” Chen hyped a “firestorm” over O'Reilly before reporter Bianca Solorzano innocuously described Media Matters as a “watchdog group.” Solorzano asked an employee at the Harlem restaurant O'Reilly talked about: “Do you feel Bill O'Reilly's comments about his meal here are racist?” The woman affirmed: “Definitely. One of the worst stereotypes ever of our customers, of our people.” Chen next interviewed Alex David of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. She pressed him: “You say ignorance, but do you think racist?” Chen also urged him to agree: “Does he need to apologize at this point, do you think?”
Even after the Juan Williams "idiots at CNN" rebuke, CNN still pressed on about Bill O’Reilly’s race remarks, and a guest on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" took the language being used against O’Reilly and Williams to new lows. Syracuse University professor and blogger Boyce Watkins appeared on the CNN program, and compared O’Reilly to a murderous movie villain and to Iranian tyrant Ahmadinejad. "If the villain in a movie comes up and says, 'I love you very much,' that usually means he wants to kill you. The fact is that Bill O'Reilly is a guy who has made a career demeaning, degrading, and devaluing every black institution he can get his hands on.... You know, he's about like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when it comes to making ridiculous assertions and waiting for people to respond."
After his villain/Ahmadinejad comparison, Watkins blasted NPR host and Fox News contributor Juan Williams for coming to O’Reilly’s defense. O’Reilly’s race comments had come from an hour of his radio program that involved a segment with Williams. "Juan Williams sitting there, is sort of the 'Happy Negro' agreeing with Bill O'Reilly, doesn't impress me at all. A man cannot walk into your home and congratulate your mother for not being a prostitute and not expect you to be offended."
Are profane, sexist, and violent rap lyrics harming America? That question was asked at a House hearing convened yesterday to examine the role of the music industry in public affairs:
Lawmakers, music industry executives and rappers disagreed Tuesday over who was to blame for sexist and degrading language in hip-hop music but united in opposing government censorship as a solution.
"If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities," rapper and record producer David Banner, whose real name is Levell Crump, said in prepared statements to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed."
Less than a half-hour after Kiran Chetry and Roland Martin speculated whether O’Reilly’s recent comments on race would be the next "Imus Moment," the cast of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" mocked the Fox News host. Co-host Mika Brzezinski put on her best Meryl Streep imitation after a clip of O’Reilly’s comments were played. "Oh, my God.... Wow... That's attractive," and also made an audible Al Gore-style sigh. Guest host Willie Geist went further. "Also, using the term 'blacks.’ I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973." Come again?
Brzezinski, Geist, and host Joe Scarborough discussed O’Reilly at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour on Tuesday’s "Morning Joe." While the cast played the O’Reilly clip for the first time, a caption spun O’Reilly’s words: "O’Reilly Shocked That Harlem Restaurant is ‘Normal’ (see above picture). The three were so "overwhelmed" by the clip that they played it again.
On Monday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran spent almost the entire 30 minute program gushing over Bush-bashing rapper Kanye West. The ABC host asserted that West’s 2005 comment that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" turned West "into a cultural force to be reckoned with" and extolled the "complex and thoughtful pop star." Moran even opened the program by asking, "What went through [West's] mind when he blasted the President in the wake of Katrina?" The co-anchor breathlessly wondered, "Would he say it again?"
Moran could hardly be more effusive in his adulation for the rapper. During the course of the program, he rhapsodized that West "is more than merely popular. He's a very interesting figure on the cultural landscape, a complex icon of music and style." Dropping all pretext of objectivity, Moran lauded the performer, who essentially called President Bush a racist, as "a shrewd and self-reflective observer of America's racial politics" and someone who has "got a lot to say." The ABC host briefly played music critic and marveled at West’s "complex and intricate rap lyrics." It’s probably not surprising that, during a discussion over whether the rapper is boastful, Westcomplimented Moran as "definitely one of the better reporters who have interviewed me."
CNN co-host Kiran Chetry and CNN contributor Roland Martin, in a segment on Tuesday’s "American Morning," discussed comments on race Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had recently made on his radio show, and the question you might expect came up: "Is this going to be one of those Don Imus moments?"
Chetry asked this question to Martin due to some blogs "buzzing" over O’Reilly’s comments about a visit he made to a "soul food" restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City with Al Sharpton. Martin denied that this was going to be O’Reilly’s "Imus moment."
O’Reilly, in a conversation with NPR host and Fox contributor Juan Williams, had said of his visit to Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, "I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’ They were ordering and having fun, and it wasn't any kind of craziness at all."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program once again demonstrated the template for GOP figures to receive air time: Trash your fellow Republicans. GMA featured former Congressman J.C. Watts questioning whether top 2008 GOP presidential candidates are racist for skipping a PBS debate on minority issues. Continuing the theme, co-host Robin Roberts asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "...Why are Republicans so reluctant to talk to minorities?"
In a piece setting up the Gingrich interview, Roberts intoned that the absence of Republican front-runners at the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer teased the segment by not-so-subtlety asking, "...Are the Republican candidates snubbing minority events?" Roberts and Sawyer never bothered to mention that Thursday’s PBS debate will be moderated by liberal host Tavis Smiley who, for instance, wondered in May, "Why shouldn’t we be outraged" at George Bush. Perhaps the Republican front-runners simply don’t want to go into a hostile, left-wing event. Would "Good Morning America" insist that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend a forum hosted by the NRA?
CORRECTION: 2007-09-25 14:20:00 -0400 [An earlier version misidentified Jake Tapper as saying the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." This was actually said by co-host Robin Roberts.]
This Thursday, PBS is hosting a Republican presidential debate with liberal commentator Tavis Smiley. For various reasons, the top four GOP candidates have all decided to skip it. In doing so, they are making a big mistake, my friend Bob Cox argues in today's DC Examiner. Here's an excerpt. My comments are below the fold:
One by one, the four leading candidates for the Republican nomination for president have announced they will not participate. This is not only a strategic mistake for these campaigns but also a major embarrassment for the Republican Party.
How can voters take seriously a candidate asking for their support to be leader of the free world when that same candidate is unwilling to take questions from black journalists, in front of a predominantly black audience? [...]
Now, here we have a very interesting debate about journalism, racism, crime and the new media on the internet. The Sacramento Bee has been forced to revisit a long standing, 15-year-old policy this week. It seems that for years the Bee has, for the most part, avoided mentioning the race of a suspected criminal in their crime coverage. They claimed that they only mentioned race when the story was "accompanied by a detailed physical description or when reporting a serial crime or when using police sketches of suspects." Critics of the paper, however, claim this policy is merely a paean to PCism and this refusal of the paper to mention the race of a suspect makes the Bee's coverage less than informative and has made it practically useless as a tool of assistance to the police.
As the Bee states in their editorial, "the issue's volatility has ebbed and flowed, sometimes lying dormant for months only to arise anew in the wake of a particularly heinous crime."
I am sure that "ebbed and flowed" is an understatement.
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann questioned why Democrats are not accusing Republicans of racism because of the decision by GOP presidential candidates to reject invitations to debate at black and Hispanic events, as he asked: "When the Republican presidential candidates refuse to debate at black or Hispanic venues, why are they not being asked if they're as racist as that seems?" As he discussed the issue with liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, during which the words "White Wingers" were displayed at the bottom of the screen, the Countdown host raised the possibility Republicans are interested in re-segregating schools by overturning Brown versus Topeka Board of Education. Olbermann: "Is it possible they're actually hoping to move backwards in this, that there is some part of the Republican party that says, you know, we got to roll back, those activist judges in Brown versus Board of Education, we got to get rid of them?" (Transcript follows)
In speaking about the "Jena 6" case last week, the Rev. Jesse Jackson repeated the oft-heard line that there are "more blacks in jail than college." (In addition to televised reports (CNN), his words were also reported in articles like this one and this one.)
In 2005, according to the Census Bureau, there were 864,000 black men in college. According to Justice Department statistics, there were 802,000 in federal and state prisons and jails, "even with the old heads holding on," [director Janks] Morton says.
Between the ages of 18 and 24, however, black men in college outnumber those incarcerated by 4 to 1.
Entitled "Lessons From Jena, LA," Whitlock's piece marvelously exposed a side of this story that mainstream media outlets, as well as folks like Jackson and Sharpton, want to desperately withhold from the public in order to provoke racial tension rather than reduce it.
After a wonderful introduction, Whitlock got down to business (emphasis added throughout, h/t NB reader Thomas Rosenbrook):
Here's something you don't see every day: A rapper condemning MTV for, of all things, promoting homosexuality. It makes a little more sense, though, when you realize that he only did so to shift the blame from the increased criticism that rap music has come under following the Don Imus "nappy-headed-hos" incident.
In an interview with Complex magazine (h/t RightwingSparkle), rapper Jeffrey Atkins, aka Ja Rule, blasted both MTV and homosexuality. I've taken the liberty of removing his numerous vulgarities:
Yeah, they got my man Doug Morris under fire and s---, they got him going down to go speak to Congress about hip-hop lyrics, are you f---ing serious? There's a f---ing black kid right now about to get 25 years for having a fight with some white kids over hanging the nooses over the white tree, lets get to that. Let's get into s--- like that, because that's what's tearing up America, not me calling a woman a b---- or a hoe on my rap songs.
When members of the Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper last year, media focused great attention on the woman in the middle of the controversy, and the supposed crime.
Yet, as pointed out Thursday by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, as the press report activities in Jena, Louisiana, the name of the white boy who was beaten by the "Jena 6," Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the "6" is either ignored, or downplayed.
Such was certainly the case on Thursday's "Nightly News" which led with the day's civil rights protests in Jena, but, for all intents and purposes, ignored the assault which precipitated the arrests of the six students in question.
Ironically, NBC's Brian Williams began the broadcast:
Can the Associated Press distinguish between racial supremacy groups and civil rights groups? Apparently not. AP writer Maria Sudekum Fisher covers the appointment of 73 year old Frances Semler to Kansas City's parks board, which Fisher opposes because Semler is a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. As Fisher writes,
But Frances B. Semler's appointment could now cost the city millions of dollars because she is a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group that advocates vigilante patrolling of the Mexican border and reports illegal immigrants to authorities.
In the September 20 presidential press conference, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux sought to blame President Bush and the GOP for a perceived nationwide deterioration in race relations. In doing so, Malveaux raised the plight of the so-called Jena Six, a group of black Louisiana teenagers charged in the beating of a white student.
Media outlets covering the controversy have generally skirted around reporting on the victim of the "Jena Six" assault, focusing more on the political dimensions of the controversy, particularly Thursday's Al Sharpton-led protests in the small Louisiana town. For example, in a separate post, NewsBusters contributor Matthew Balan notes how news outlets like CNN.com and USAToday are burying or ignoring details about victim of the Dec. 4, 2006 beating, Justin Barker.
Below are the questions Malveaux asked, as well as a separate "Jena Six" question posed by Michael Fletcher of The Washington Post, who the president referred to as "Fletch":
The websites of CNN and USAToday joined their "Big Three" network brethren in covering the march in Jena, Louisiana to support the so-called Jena 6, while at the same time, either burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all.
CNN.com’s report, in which CNN correspondents Susan Roesgen, Tony Harris, Kyra Philips and Eliott McLaughlin were contributors, didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story.
The teens were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight on December 4, 2006.
Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots, said his mother, Kelli Barker.
Before this, the report focused entirely on the planned march in support of the so-called Jena 6.
A presidential election must be approaching: liberals are playing the Republicans-are-evil-racists card. People will recall the notorious NAACP 2000 campaign commercial that equated George W. Bush with someone who dragged a black man to death behind his car on a chain.
On today's "View," Joy Behar [file photo] offered a similar slur: GOP = KKK.
Talk had turned to the fact that most of the Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in two Latino-oriented debates held earlier this year. The leading candidates have now indicated that they will also be taking a pass on a September 27th debate at Morgan State University organized by Tavis Smiley and to be broadcast on PBS.
The Washington Post’s favoritism toward Democrats is obvious in Wednesday’s paper. When Democrats abandon efforts to force a troop pullout from Iraq, the Post puts the story on A3 with the headline "Democrats’ Iraq Push on Hold." Reporter Shailagh Murray says the Democrats are "abandoning a bipartisan effort" for pullout. That’s amusing, since just words before, she says this move is because most Republicans don’t want to be counted in that "bipartisan" effort.
But on page A1, the Republicans are still the ones in political danger, with the story "Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders." Reporter Perry Bacon Jr asserted that GOP presidential contenders turning down debates hosted by Hispanic liberals and black liberals could cause "a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters." Bacon front-loaded the story with loud lamentations from Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich about failing to stand before Tavis Smiley on PBS and get attacked from the left.
The state of Delaware's largest daily, the News Journal, writes that the state's 'All-white court casts long shadow' and laments that there is no African-American serving on the state's Supreme Court.
A former border state whose citizens kept slaves but also supported the Underground Railroad, Delaware today has a rich tradition of black culture and achievement.
But unlike other states with such diverse populations -- and many whose residents are far more monochromatic -- Delaware has never had a black jurist on its Supreme Court, the last stop for most criminal and civil decision-making.
The headline (via MSNBC) is ominous: Racial gaps may exist in kidney cancer care -- 5-year survival rates have increased for whites, but not blacks, study finds. But beginning with the second paragraph, we're provided with a big "nevermind":
There are disparities in the treatment and outcome between older black and white patients who have renal cell cancer, with blacks having significantly lower survival rates, according to a new study.
However, the lower rates of nephrectomy (surgical removal of the kidney) and the higher rates of comorbid illnesses in black patients largely explain the survival difference, the study found.
In addition, the study authors discovered that blacks "were much more likely than whites to have other illnesses" in conjunction with kidney cancer. And, the authors concede, these additional illnesses -- when taken into account -- eliminated the post-treatment survival disparity between whites and blacks.
A few days ago I e-mailed the Wilmington (Delaware) News Journal -- a Gannett newspaper -- asking why this article failed to mentioned the race of the assailants who have been victimizing Hispanics recently. (The assailants are black). After all, police reports noted it, as well as local radio stations. The paper responded and included their editorial policy regarding such matters, apparently established by an assistant managing editor. The paper says it's "not about being politically correct;" you be the judge:
Our policy is not about being politically correct, it's about being accurate. Race is such an unreliable descriptor. What race is Halle Berry or Tiger Woods or Jennifer Lopez? They are extreme examples, but project them onto everyday people and you see the problem.
U.S. hostility to amnesty for illegal immigrants from Mexico is not only hurting illegals here, but crippling poor Mexicans in Mexico as well. So says the New York Times, taking its talking points from a survey performed by a pollster.
To be precise, a Democratic pollster who studies Hispanic voting trends for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- a tidbit that didn't get into reporter Julia Preston's sympathetic story on Mexican immigrants no longer sending cash home because of a hostile climate in the U.S.
I wanted to go to the YearlyKos event but circumstances did not permit. Thankfully, at least one sane person did go. Rick Moran gives this account:
I can assure you that they are at least as similar to us as chimpanzees – except chimps are cuter and don’t constantly interrupt you when you’re speaking and trying to make a point. However, all that aside, liberals are pretty normal. They have a different sense of humor of course. And they may not laugh as much as conservatives although I wonder who will be doing the chuckling on election day 2008? [...]
One observation I would never have dared put in a piece for PJ Media or anywhere else I write is that for a movement and party that prides itself on inclusion, the gathering appeared very white. There were definitely more people of color than there would be at a conservative or Republican event. But as I scanned the faces of attendees to the Presidential Leadership Forum where almost all YKos was gathered, my rough estimate was 75% white – perhaps larger.