Non-Californians probably haven't heard much about the case of a former Los Angeles firefighter Tennie Pierce's lawsuit against the city over an incident in which a colleague tricked him into eating dog food. According to Pierce, who is black, it was a racist act for which he is demanding compensation of $2.7 million.
That, however, isn't the full story. But if you're a reader of the Los Angeles Times, you'd never know it, despite the fact that the paper has covered the case with numerous reports.
What the Times refuses to tell readers is that Pierce is a big guy, 6 feet 4 inches, whose self-described nickname is "Big Dog" and that during volleyball matches, he would often tell teammates to pass him the ball or "feed the Big Dog."
The Times has had many opportunities to mention these facts but has (as documented by Patterico here) never once told the entire truth. The readers of the Times deserve better. But don't hold your breath expecting that.
It's a competitive bout of conservative-bashing out of the Michael Richards N-word rant at the Laugh Factory. Newsweek had two columns from black staffers, both mentioning George Allen and "Macaca." Time just had one, by the white TV critic James Poniewozik, but in referring to Richards, Mel Gibson, and the canceled O.J. Simpson special, he works in Allen, the RNC Harold-Ford-mocking ad, and Rush Limbaugh's alleged hate for Michael J. Fox:
All this followed an election whose lowlights were the macaca incident, an ad playing off miscegenation fears and a radio host mocking a disabled man. It's as if the U.S. were experiencing collective Tourette's, regurgitating decades of dutifully sublimated hate--Borat, with real people. As disturbing as the bigotry was the role of the people expressing it. Politicians and entertainers, after all, succeed by knowing our hearts and minds. We are, in a real way, implicated in their achievement and their disgrace. So you'd think this explosion of public ugliness might spur some kind of national soul searching. Did we somehow encourage their bigotry, by ignoring softer forms of it in our pop culture? Did they think on some level, conscious or not, that they spoke for us? Were they right?
The Michael Richards N-word outburst at the Laugh Factory drew not one, but two columns in Newsweek from black staffers. Both praised praising society for coming to the point of outrage over such remarks. Both mildly mocked the obligatory "Kramer" trip to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (while not mocking Sharpton and Jackson). Both revisited a long history of racism. Ellis Cose recalled a South African woman who was beaten, raped, subjected to electric shocks, and strangled within an inch of her life. Raina Kelley went big-picture: "The politics of black and white really began 400 years ago, when, in 1619, Virginia settlers took ownership of slaves from a Dutch man-of-war." And both worked in George Allen’s Macaca remark (only one worked in the RNC ad against Playboy-party man Harold Ford.)
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts" the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, something Congressman Charles Rangel seemingly never picked up. In the Fox News Sunday segment which featured Barney Frank attacking Fox News, host Chris Wallace presented to Congressman Rangel findings from a Heritage Foundation Study that the military are in fact from a healthier economic background and better educated than the general American public. Rangel, with the facts in front of him, reverted to his original talking points disputing those very facts. He even made a John Kerry-like claim implying those serving in the military are not particularly patriotic or even very smart. The question is, will the mainstream media pick up on it?
New York Times reporter Robert McFadden covers the much-publicized shooting of three men by undercover cops after a bachelor party at a strip club in Queens for Sunday's edition.
"Hours before he was to be married, a man leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens that was under police surveillance was shot and killed early yesterday in a hail of police bullets, witnesses and the police said. Two of his friends were wounded, one critically, they said.
"Many details of the shooting were not immediately clear, but relatives of the dead man, Sean Bell, 23, and community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, demanded an investigation into what some called an overreaction by officers that killed a man on his wedding day. "
CNN’s Kyra Phillips invited comedian Paul Mooney and radio talk show host Roland Martin on to “Newsroom” Tuesday to discuss the Michael Richards (“Kramer”) issue (hat tip to NB member MyKindaSpam). During the conversation, both guests made what many would perceive as being rather anti-Semitic remarks.
This was Martin’s:
Another piece is when you really examine what he said, he not only said 50 years ago we'd have you hanging upside down from a tree. Well, guess what, 50 years ago, Michael Richards would have been in some oven in Germany being baked because he's also Jewish.
Yikes. Mooney must have felt he needed to top that, for later in the discussion, he said:
Anyone who tunes into late-night comedy shows knows that many black comedians utter the n-word with rapid-fire frequency. Perhaps Michael Richards mistakenly thought that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the white gander. In any case, in a Today show appearance this morning, Jesse Jackson declared that he would be working to "prohibit" the use of the word. He didn't offer specifics, but one question naturally arises. Would Jackson's n-word ban begin where the word is most frequently in use - the black community?
Interviewed by weekend host Lester Holt [one of my MSM favorites for his level-headedness, I might add] on the Michael Richards mess, Jackson floated his proposal in these terms:
We all know about actor Michael Richards' racial epithets at last Friday night's performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. But yesterday, this exclusive TMZ.com article revealed that the three-time Emmy-award-winning actor had also hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the Improv comedy club in April of this year. According to the piece, Richards yelled at an audience member, "You f***ing Jew. You people are the cause of Jesus dying." And here's the kicker: Richards' own representative has confirmed that this actually happened. (He said it was part of Richards' act.)
So how did the Los Angeles Times cover this latest revelation in today's paper (Thursday, November 23, 2006)? They didn't. In fact, the name "Michael Richards" appears nowhere in today's edition. Compared to the Mel Gibson episode from July, the Times is treating the angry slurs by Michael Richards much differently. Here's the rundown:
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who spent the 1980s at CBS doing the overnight interview show "Nightwatch," is never a softer touch than when he has a network star on his show. Monday night’s interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams gave the anchor a platform to present his newscast as a "reasoned, serious" oasis from cable-news shouters, a "half hour of peace and tranquility" with "smart people" like David Gregory and Andrea Mitchell telling you about the world. Their discussion of Katrina coverage had no hint of regret that NBC misled people with Ray Nagin’s wild estimates of 10,000 dead. Williams said, "you remember people saying, well, the media have found their footing again and its name is New Orleans. They were asleep during WMD. But they're awake now."
The interview began with syrupy talk about Williams filling in for Rose during his heart-surgery break. Williams said it was his pleasure, since he was interviewing that genius who is the editor of Newsweek:
William Donohue of the Catholic League suggests that some celebrities get left out of the unforgivable-slur category -- when the targets are Catholics, even Mother Teresa. Take Penn Jillette, the loud, tall half of the magician duo of Penn & Teller, who now not only has a Showtime series called "B.S." but a nationally syndicated talk-radio show:
"Michael Richards gets interrupted by hecklers, unleashes a racist tirade, gets blasted by the cultural elite and apologizes. Mel Gibson gets drunk, unleashes an anti-Semitic tirade, gets blasted by the cultural elite and apologizes. Penn Jillette, without any provocation, unleashes an anti-Catholic tirade, gets a free pass from the cultural elite and never apologizes.
If a Democratic uttered something even close to this the media would be all over it like white on rice:
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks.
The Washington Post just cannot leave "macaca" alone. In the middle of today's article about the racist N-word-screaming outburst of former Seinfeld star Michael Richards, and how it might ruin his career (such as it is), reporter Paul Farhi once again highlights the Post obsession/achievement:
"Other prominent people, such as Mel Gibson and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), have inflicted career-threatening wounds by making racially insensitive remarks in recent months."
I don't think it's fair to compare "macaca" to screaming the N-word at a heckler. But the Post has tried very hard to make the two words mean exactly the same thing, and they're not letting up, even after they defeated Allen:
With the recent racial slur outburst from "Seinfeld" actor, Michael Richards, we will have to pay close attention to see if Richards gets a softer treatment than Mel Gibson did with his own racial slur laden rant earlier in the year.
But, if this AP report is any indication, it seems sure that "Kramer" won't be as maligned as Mel Gibson.
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
Looking for an election-season boost, the Times opened up its exclusive Times Select product to non-paying proles last week, sending editor-columnist Frank Rich's "2006: The Year of the 'Macaca,'" to the #1 most e-mailed story of the week (the free window is now closed, so you have to pay for Rich's deep thoughts on why Bush-style conservatism lost this year).
"This was callous conservatism, if not just plain mean.
"It’s the kind of conservatism that remains silent when Rush Limbaugh does a mocking impersonation of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms to score partisan points. It’s the kind of conservatism that talks of humane immigration reform but looks the other way when candidates demonize foreigners as predatory animals. It's the kind of conservatism that pays lip service to 'tolerance' but stalls for days before taking down a campaign ad caricaturing an African-American candidate as a sexual magnet for white women.
For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. The most eyebrow-raising moment of the interview, however, occurred when Sawyer asked Obama about Sunday’s Washington Post article which questioned whether racism and sexism plays a role in the decision-making of American voters:
Diane Sawyer: "We have seen new polls this morning about you and Senator Hillary Clinton. Here's my question. Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
How long do you think it will be that we must stay under the thumb of the kind of PCism that posits that all white people are evil, wrong, losers, stupid or otherwise weak and bad?
Apparently Cisco Systems hasn't seen the end of it and that is why, in their TV commercial for their new TelePresence video conferencing system, the white kid loses.
The commercial starts off with a white boy in an obviously American class room staring at the camera. Then cuts to an obvious foreign class room with a little Asian boy doing the same. As the commercial rolls all the children in their two respective classes gather around their intensely staring classmate to see what will happen.
Then the white boy blinks.
The white boy's classmates erupt in a raucous yell, while the classmates of the Asian child jump up in victory because their boy won the staring contest being made possible by the video conference system that can obviously span the globe.
In a rare edition of our “Friday Night Fights” feature, the well-known duo from the Fox News hit “Hannity & Colmes” teamed together on Thursday to take on Rev. Al Sharpton (hat tip to our friend at Ms Underestimated). To set this melee up, a radio ad was played in Atlanta, Georgia, just before Election Day suggesting that a Republican-run America is like the United States before the civil rights movement (as reported by NewsBusters here):
You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the Sixties was bad, imagine if we sit idly by and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission.
Rev. Al Sharpton was invited on H&C to discuss this outrage, and was met with punches from both sides when he didn’t condemn the message. Colmes began (video and full transcript follow): “I'll tell you, Reverend, I'm glad Democrats won, but I don't like ads that compare Republicans to Bill Connor. And you don't really believe that if Republicans got re-elected there that Bull Connor would -- his spirit would live on.”
For anyone who thought the worst racist ad of the electoral cycle was the RNC ad against Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee, Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics has an answer. (I heard this ad yesterday on the Sean Hannity show.) In Atlanta, a last-minute radio ad suggested that electing Republicans to the Fulton County Commission would be worse than the beatings administered in the civil rights era of the 1960s -- it might endanger the life of blacks. The script is amazing:
LEWIS: This is Congressman John Lewis.
FRANKLIN: And I'm Mayor Shirley Franklin.
YOUNG: And I am Andy Young.
LEWIS: On Nov. 7, we face the most dangerous situation we ever have. You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the '60s was bad. [Now we] sit idly by, and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County County Commission.
Like Chris Matthews last night, The Times seems to be bitter about not having everything go the Democrats' way last night, putting its usual racism spin on one of the GOP's few bright spots -- Bob Corker's win over Harold Ford Jr. in the race for Senate in Tennessee.
"Tennessee's open Senate seat stayed in Republican hands on Tuesday night after a campaign that drew national attention for its nastiness and for Democratic hopes that it would break a longstanding race barrier."
Nossiter blames racism in Tennessee:
"In addition, Mr. Ford was trying to become the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.
As Chris Matthews sees it and decrees it, if voters in Maryland decide to go for Republican Michael Steele today it will be because they prefer African American candidates who are “unthreatening” or “almost...castrated,” and that the “funny” “lighthearted” Steele strikes voters as “a guy I would like to have living next door” — although he quickly added that “that may be pushing it in some cases.”
As Joe Scarborough, one of the rotating anchors of MSNBC’s continuing election coverage tried to interrupt, Matthews justified his comments by insisting that, “I have to tell you, we have an ethnic problem in this country. And it’s coming to the fore, this race problem we have.”
On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry’s gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson’s adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he’s still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally gathering interviewing Jackson’s daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama’s wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."
The Times can't get enough of the RNC's ad mocking Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr., running for Senate against Republican Bob Corker. The Sunday Week in Review featured a front-page "TV Watch" column by television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley, "Scary, Like Funny Scary."
"The much-seen Tennessee ad against Harold Ford Jr. placed by the Republican National Committee in support of his opponent, Bob Corker, was seen as racist."
They’re at it again, folks. Another prominent liberal blogger – this time, Daily Kos alumnus Billmon – has used Photoshop to disparagingly blackface someone. In this case, the proprietor of the Whiskey Bar blog has likened CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer to a minstrel (hat tip to Hot Air, image on the right) all due to the Situation Room host's reference to Lynne Cheney. The following is taken directly from Billmon’s blog entry on October 29:
BLITZER: I have been covering the Cheneys for many years, including on a day-to-day basis when he was the defense secretary during the first Gulf War and I was CNN’s Pentagon correspondent . . . I was surprised when she came out swinging on Friday, surprised . . . at her sniping at my patriotism.
Translation: Oh Lawdy! Massa's wife so mad she even beatin' on us house slaves now. What dis ol' world comin' to?
Hmmm. So, Wolf Blitzer is now a "house slave". Amazing. Alas, we shouldn’t be shocked by this, as left-wing blogger and fellow Daily Kos alumnus Steve Gilliard had previously posted the following picture of Maryland senatorial candidate Michael Steele:
On last night's syndicated Fox show, Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera went on a rambling rant on issues meant to motivate Democrats to the polls and then urged his viewers: "Don't forget to vote." Rivera railed against the President's signing of the "dumb" and "dishonest," immigration bill, the "outrageous" RNC ad against Harold Ford, "meant to stir up racist fears," and even repeated his charge about a Big Oil price conspiracy.
The following is the entire October 26th final commentary from Rivera that, with the exception of his reference to Madonna, focused on anti-Republican themes:
Geraldo Rivera: "With the election just two weeks away and Republicans in danger of losing their control of Congress, President Bush buckled today, holding his nose and signing a really dumb, maybe even dishonest, bill, authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. That meaningless and inflammatory legislation is just one of the things really bugging me today."
The campaign ad mocking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. may be fading from the airwaves, but not in the pages of the New York Times, which is still pushing the "racism" angle, as it does in Anne Kornblut and Jim Rutenberg's Friday story, "Federal Rules Help Shield Creators of Political Advertisements." Their opening paragraph was also strategically located on Friday's front page with the little headline "A Provocative Attack, A Familiar Creator." It read:
The Times jumps into the liberal-inspired brouhaha over the RNC's supposedly racist TV ad against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., who is running in Tennessee against Republican Bob Corker.
"The Tennessee Senate race, one of the most competitive and potentially decisive battles of the midterm election, became even more unpredictable this week after a furor over a Republican television commercial that stood out even in a year of negative advertising.
On last night's Hardball, Chris Matthews hinted at what he had in mind regarding the ad the RNC ran in Tennessee about Dem senatorial candidate Harold Ford, Jr. Claimed Chris:
"It has ethnic overtones, sexual overtones."
Tonight, Matthews took an ugly, explicit leap down into the atavistic mud. Interviewing Sen. Dick Durbin [D-IL] - who was relatively reserved in his comments - Matthews began by asserting that the RNC's goal in running the ad was to "get their point across to perhaps angry white voters, or people who had a problem with a black senator already."
Later, Matthews embraced the absolutely worst stereotype of a racist South, claiming the RNC was:
"playing on white sensitivities about losing white women to black guys. It was so obvious what they were doing there."