The establishment media has treated the story of despicably racist basketball owner Donald Sterling as if it is a world crisis, but it has given full credibility, with no context at all, to one of Sterling’s chief detractors, NBA Players Association adviser and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson – even though Johnson himself has a terribly tawdry past involving both financial and sexual improprieties.
This is not to argue that Sterling deserves any sort of pass. He doesn’t. The now-famous audiotape makes him sound like vermin.
But there are probably lots of 80-year-old racists in the world, clinging to the atrocious views of their youth. There’s only one big-city mayor and former NBA player officially found to have misused federal tax dollars and accused multiple times of decidedly repellent, sex-suggestive interactions with underage girls. Yet because the NBA players, a notoriously self-indulgent cohort, chose Johnson as their leader, and because Johnson is well known as a friend of the Obamas, the media gives Johnson a pass.
Michelle Malkin has done a great job encapsulating Johnson’s sorry record, much of which came to light when AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin reported that Johnson had significantly misused program funds for political activities, improper clerical assistance, and for personal assistance to Johnson such as washing his car. Obama improperly fired Walpin, leading the Washington Times (when I was an editorialist there) to publish a series of about a dozen editorials blowing the whistle on multiple aspects of what it dubbed “Walpin-Gate” – including one that noted a $230,000 payment from Johnson to one of the girls. Johnson continued to protest that he wasn’t guilty of misconduct, because, he claimed, he didn’t remember “being a hundred percent naked” with the girl.
When someone in power says things as offensive as Sterling did, a strong response is warranted. But when an Obama pal in power actually takes actions as dishonest and even vile as those acknowledged by, or alleged about, Johnson, the media spends years looking the other way. When the latter is one of the foremost official responders to the former, the hypocrisy of the double standard is sickening.
About the Author
NewsBusters contributor Quin Hillyer is a Contributing Editor for National Review. He has won significant mainstream awards for journalistic excellence at the local, state, regional, and national levels.