ABC: Obama Critics 'Driven By Refusal to Accept Black President'; NBC Trumpets Carter's Racism Charges

<p><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-ABC-WNCG... align="right" />ABC and NBC on Tuesday night joined the effort to undermine the anti-Obama tea party participants by smearing them as racists as <b>ABC framed a story around the proposition “some prominent Obama supporters are now saying” the opposition to Obama is “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,”</b> while NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how “former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about” the supposed racism. Williams alleged “a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events <b>have featured racial and other violent themes</b> and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.” (<a href="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-NBC-NN-W... target="_blank">MP3 audio</a> of Williams, <i><b>Video below</b></i>)</p><p>With “OUT OF LINE?” on screen beneath what appeared to be pictures from the August town halls, ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece from Dan Harris who recited a litany of liberal presumptions:</p><blockquote>They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist. And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President. (<a href="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-ABC-WNCG... target="_blank">MP3 audio</a>,<b> <i>Video below</i>)</b><br /></blockquote><!--break-->Harris noted that conservatives “point out that President George W. Bush was also called a Nazi and a fascist and was booed by Democrats during a State of the Union speech and labeled a liar on the floor of Congress.” Unsaid, back then ABC News didn't feature stories aimed at tarring Bush's harshest critics.<br /><br /><div style="float: right"><object width="250" height="202"><param name="movie" value="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=GdkUprkUeu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=GdkUprkUeu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... allowfullscreen="true" width="250" height="202"></embed></object></div>“This morning in Atlanta, former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama,” Williams announced in touting his “exclusive” session with Carter: <br /><blockquote>During the interview, we talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama. A certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march on Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.</blockquote><p>As Williams spoke, viewers saw clips of anti-Obama protesters holding signs, but I saw nothing “violent” or even “racial,” though the reference to Hitler is questionable. The signs: </p><blockquote><p>“Bury ObamaCare with Kennedy”</p><p>“Change We Don't Believe In”</p></blockquote><blockquote>“Hitler Gave Good Speeches Too”<br /></blockquote><blockquote>“Just Say No to Socialized Medicine”<br /></blockquote><blockquote>“Throw All of the Bums Out”</blockquote>Carter asserted<b> “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American”</b> and “that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”<br /><br />Williams highlighted how Carter “went on to say that because of President Obama's personal qualities, he will be able to quote, 'triumph over the racist attitude that is the basis for the negative environment that we see so vividly demonstrated in public affairs in recent days,' end of quote.”<br /><br />(MSNBC's Countdown promoted Carter's comments as “Breaking News.”)<br /><br />On Monday night, CNN pursued the same agenda to discredit Obama's critics. Check my NewsBusters item, “<a href="/blogs/brent-baker/2009/09/14/cnns-situation-room-charges-racial-tinge-tea-movement">CNN's Situation Room Charges: 'Racial Tinge to Tea Movement</a>'”<br /><br />From the Tuesday, September 15 World News on ABC, following Jonathan Karl's story on the House's reprimand of Congressman Joe Wilson:<br /><blockquote>CHARLES GIBSON: And the polarization in the House of Representatives, which Jon mentioned, is reflected far beyond Capitol Hill. Political discontent is part of the fabric of this country. But at town halls and public rallies, President Obama has been called much more than a liar. Here's Dan Harris.<br /><br /><div style="float: right"><object width="250" height="202"><param name="movie" value="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=GdkUprkUQu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=GdkUprkUQu&amp;c1=0xCE4717&... allowfullscreen="true" width="250" height="202"></embed></object></div>DAN HARRIS: They've waved signs likening President Obama to Hitler and the devil, raised questions about whether he was really born in this country, falsely accused him of planning to set up death panels, decried his speech to students as indoctrination and called him everything from a fascist to a socialist to a communist.<br /><br />WOMAN, AT TOWN HALL, TO SENATOR SPECTER: We don't want this country turning into Russia.<br /><br />HARRIS: And all that was before Mr. Obama's speech was interrupted by a Representative who once fought to keep the Confederate flag waving over the South Carolina state house. Add it all up, and some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President.<br /><br />U.S. REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D-TX): They now see that this might be the same old racism that has steered the policies in this country for years.<br /><br />HARRIS: With one pastor in Arizona now publicly hoping for the President's demise-<br /><br />AUDIO OF STEVEN ANDERSON: I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.<br /><br />HARRIS: -And people showing up at his events with firearms, there is real fear for his safety.<br /><br />U.S. REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Hate speech can turn into hate crimes.<br /><br />HARRIS: Conservatives say Obama backers are playing the race card.<br /><br />ROGER CLEGG, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: It's a classic case of calling wolf.<br /><br />HARRIS: They point out that President George W. Bush was also called a Nazi and a fascist and was booed by Democrats during a State of the Union speech and labeled a liar on the floor of Congress. Conservatives argue this is a nation built on dissent, and that opposition to the current President is based on substantive disagreement over issues like health care.<br /><br />CLEGG: I just think that it's very wrong-headed and unfair to suggest that the Americans who oppose some of these proposals are doing so because of race.<br /><br /><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-ABC-WNCG... align="right" />HARRIS: The White House is trying very hard not to be pulled into this debate.<br /><br />ROBERT GIBBS, ON CNN: I don't think the President believes that people are upset because of the color of his skin.<br /><br />HARRIS: Mr. Obama's election was hailed as a new chapter in American race relations. It's becoming increasingly clear that this new chapter may not yet be fully written. Dan Harris, ABC News, New York.</blockquote>Williams teased NBC Nightly News: “Here in Washington and around the country how much of the current political fireworks show is about race? Tonight, a former President weighs in.”<br /><br />The subsequent segment: <br /><blockquote><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-NBC-NN-W... width="240" align="right" height="179" />BRIAN WILLIAMS: This morning in Atlanta, former President Carter spoke up and spoke out about what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama. We were in Atlanta to interview President Carter, at the Carter Center, for air at a later date in connection with his upcoming 85th birthday. During the interview, we talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama. A certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.<br /><br />FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American. I live in <img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/2009-09-15-NBC-NN-C... width="240" align="right" height="179" />the south and I've seen the south come a long way and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the south's attitude toward minority groups, at that time particularly African-Americans, that that racism [unintelligible word] still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people, not just in the south, but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.<br /><br />WILLIAMS: President Carter in Atlanta today. He went on to say that because of President Obama's personal qualities, he will be able to quote, “triumph over the racist attitude that is the basis for the negative environment that we see so vividly demonstrated in public affairs in recent days,” end of quote.</blockquote>

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center