PBS has announced its new fall schedule, and it unfolds like a reinforced liberal stereotype. It includes a "landmark" six-hour series on Latino-American history narrated by Benjamin Bratt, and a six-hour series on African-American history narrated by Henry Louis “Beer Summit” Gates, from America's colonial period "up to the present day — when America has a black president yet remains a nation divided by race."
The liberal network will air a “Great Performances” special titled “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” and, of course, to mark the 50th anniversary of the dark day in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot and killed, PBS is planning hours and hours of JFK specials:
"Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." is another of the Harvard professor's wonderful television series for PBS. This is "must-see TV" and a more than worthy sequel to three previous projects Gates has hosted about how some of us came to be what and who we are.
In this latest 10-part series, Gates explores the genealogical and genetic history of a diverse group of people, from entertainer Harry Connick Jr. and Pastor Rick Warren to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brown University President Ruth Simmons. There are less famous people, but the famous get you hooked for the rest.
President Obama's vacation in Martha's Vineyard also became an occasion for a panel of liberal journalists, politicians, and academics to mourn his alleged mistreatment in the media at a race-and-the-media panel discussion organized by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree. PBS Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill lamented the overwhelming media bias against Obama in the Henry Louis Gates controversy, when Obama said he didn't have all the facts, but the local police "acted stupidly" for their actions in arresting Gates on his own porch.
Ifill somehow ignored that the Obama-supporting news networks pouted over how this comment was a "distraction" from passing ObamaCare, and overpublicized the "beer summit" Obama held at the White House with Gates and his arresting police officer to fix any public-relations damage he might have incurred. (She even ignored the newscast she sometimes anchors, the PBS NewsHour.) On August 18, the Vineyard Gazette reported Ifill complained:
It's not just members of the media standing up to support disgraced journalist Helen Thomas after her unscheduled retirement caused by anti-Semitic remarks she made on camera last week.
The rabbi that caught her disgusting comments on videotape and put them on the Internet has received 25,000 hate-email messages - and counting.
Hours after MSNBC's Keith Olbermann actually called Rabbi David Nesenoff one of his "Worst Persons in the World," CBS-TV in New York reported the vicious electronic attacks streaming into the rabbi's inbox like a "ticker tape" (video follows with partial transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates appeared on Friday’s Good Morning America to promote a new series on genealogy and revealed to George Stephanopoulos that he might be related to Hillary Clinton. Gates told the former Democratic staffer turned journalist, "You are very likely a maternal cousin with Hillary Clinton."[Audio available here.]
Gates, who very famously was involved in an altercation with the Cambridge police in 2009, recounted how Stephanopoulos (to promote the GMA segment) submitted a swab sample for the DNA company 23andMe: "According to 23andMe, George, you most likely share an ancestor with a very prominent American woman, a person who, like your haplotype, is an intrepid traveler yourself."
Dobbs, on his Nov. 10 radio program, didn't reserve judgment and criticized President Barack Obama for telling people to do so in a speech following the tragic event. Dobbs played a clip from the speech Obama gave last week in which he warned, "We don't know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."
"Isn't that remarkable, telling the American people not to jump to any conclusions?" Dobbs said. "Not to speculate, not to be curious about what is happening to our men and women, who should be the center of all of our attention and concern and care. Let's compare that statement by our president to what he said at the end of a press conference about health care shortly after the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, his good friend."
Exactly one week after the highly-publicized arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates stirred a national discussion on race relations, legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was detained by police officers in a "low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood" in Long Branch, New Jersey.
Makes one wonder why it took so long for this to get reported, and if news outlets that were convinced Gates's arrest was racially motivated will see the delicious irony in a white rock star being questioned by police just because he was "wandering around the neighborhood."
In Frank Rich's Sunday column for the New York Times, "Small Beer, Big Hangover," Rich drained the last dregs out of the White House beer summit, involving the president, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, but not before using it to launch his grand unified field theory of the re-emergence of racism among conservatives in the wake of Obama's victory.
Deploying his usual melodramatic flair (Rich was once the paper's theatre critic), Rich wrapped the Gates arrest controversy together with the Birther brigade, and tied on other events with the slightest hint of skin-color content, like Judge Sonia Sotomayor's impending Supreme Court confirmation.
The White House get-together took place to quell an outcry after Obama, during a national press conference, said the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly" in arresting Gates.
The comforting thing about each "national conversation on race" is that the "teachable moment" passes before any serious conversation can get going.
As Dem pundits go, I normally find Kirsten Powers among the more reasonable. But on this afternoon's Fox News Watch, Powers propounded an incendiary theory of the Gates/Crowley incident: that the sergeant "lured" and "tricked" Gates into coming outside so he could arrest him.
Panelist Jim Pinkerton had just made the point that it was only the conservative media, by focusing attention on the matter, that saved Sgt. Crowley from a "miserable life in Cambridge" at the hands of Prof. Gates, Harvard, the NAACP et. al, when Powers jumped in . . .
Were you, like me, surprised to see that Biden turned up at the beer fest? I hadn't picked up any prior indication he was going to be there. To the contrary, check out what Pres. Obama said just before the event:
A short time earlier from the Oval Office, Obama had done what his aides had been doing for days: lowering expectations.
"I noticed this has been called the 'Beer Summit.' It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys," Obama told reporters. "This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day."
Perhaps it is time to recall William Shatner to the Tonight Show in order to read aloud, accompanied by bongos, leftwing novelist Gore Vidal's incoherent screed about the Henry Louis Gates arrest. Even Grampa Abe ranting aloud while spinning around on the church floor in "The Simpsons Movie" made more sense than Vidal. Perhaps it could be explained by one too many Ketel Ones but here is his seemingly endless essay from Truthdig which starts out from a far left position and then quickly plunges into utter incoherence:
For those of us who had hoped that the Obama administration would present us with a rebirth of the old republic that was so rudely erased a few years ago by that team of judicial wreckers, Bush and Gonzales, which led, in turn, to a recent incident in Cambridge, Mass. that inspired a degree of alarm in many Americans. But what was most alarming was the plain fact that neither the president nor a “stupid” local policeman seemed to understand the rules of behavior in a new America, where we find ourselves marooned as well as guarded (is that the verb?) by armed police who have been instructed that they are indeed, once armed, the law and may not be criticized verbally or in any other way and are certainly not subject to any restrictions as to whom they arrest or otherwise torment.
Long before Obama and the Sotomayor confirmation process elevated "empathy" to supreme importance, it held an honored place in the pantheon of liberal values.
That being the case, why is it liberals appear incapable of empathizing with those who don't share their politics?
Recent example: Princeton political science professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show July 23 to talk about Obama saying at a press conference the night before that Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. --
After NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams fawned Tuesday over President Obama planning to have a beer with Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith similarly declared: "...it’s being called the ‘beer summit.’ Tomorrow’s meeting between the President, the professor, and the policeman. We’re going to tell you what’s on tap."
Smith, along with co-hosts Russ Mitchell and Maggie Rodriguez, later devoted nearly two minutes of air time to discussing who would drink what brand of beer at the White House meeting, with Blue Moon, Budweiser, and Beck’s sitting on the table in front of them.
On NBC, Williams reported: "Professor Gates reported to be a Red Stripe man, Crowley is said to be partial to Blue Moon and the White House isn't talking about the President's brand of choice. That might constitute, you see, a White House endorsement."
Extending the auspices of NBC News to provide some damage control help to President Obama's damage control-inspired meeting at the White House with Henry Louis Gates and the police sergeant who arrested him -- so Obama can repair the mess he made in taking sides and insulting the police -- Brian Williams on Tuesday night didn't mention any gaffe by Obama and instead innocuously described how the arrest led to “a national discussion on race.” Noting the get-together for a beer will occur on Thursday, Williams relayed:
Professor Gates reported to be a Red Stripe man, Crowley is said to be partial to Blue Moon and the White House isn't talking about the President's brand of choice. That might constitute, you see, a White House endorsement.
Or maybe the President prefers wine over beer and is just agreeing to beer in a political effort to re-connect with blue-collar voters he offended, an effort NBC is advancing with such a cutesy take.
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Reverend Jesse Jackson continued to promote the idea that Harvard Professor Henry Gates was a victim of racial profiling, despite new evidence to the contrary: "This issue of Dr. Gates being a victim of excessive force and bad judgment is a much bigger subject...This one case could open up the issue of the pervasiveness of race profiling."
Co-host Harry Smith had asked Jackson about a scheduled meeting between Gates, Cambridge police officer Sergeant James Crowley, and President Obama: "Do you think there's any chance these three men can embark after this meeting is over having found common ground?" Jackson argued: "Well, they have the supreme arbiter in the President of the United States of America. It's a big subject for a small meeting." He went on to compare the Gates case to that of Rosa Parks: " If Rosa Parks and James Blake, the bus driver, had met at the White House and did not deal with the issue of denial of public accommodations, it would have been personal and not policy."
Immediately preceding the discussion with Jackson, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the newly released 911 call by Gates’ neighbor Lucia Whelan, and pointed out that Whelan: "...describes the scene, but what she doesn't mention is the men's skin color." Solorzano went on to cite Whelan’s attorney, Wendy Murphy: "Now she's glad to have an opportunity to clear the air and make it very clear she is not a racist."
The ethically-challenged "ethicist" of the New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column has inserted himself into the Henry Louis Gates situation by urging the Harvard professor to sue in order to "pursue social justice." To see where Mr. Ethicist is coming from, let us start off with his laughable money quote in his current column on the subject of lawsuits:
Gates should enjoy a cool one and then file suit, assuming he has legal grounds to do so. We Americans are often mocked for being overly litigious, but we are not nearly litigious enough. In the right circumstances, filing suit can be a way to pursue social justice, and that makes it thoroughly ethical.
It's not often I'm positively surprised by anything aired on CNN, but the interview Don Lemon did with members of the Cambridge Police Department Saturday is nothing less than breathtaking.
While most media members have shamefully taken the side of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates in the matter of his arrest by Sgt. James Crowley on July 16, Lemon took the time to meet with the officer's co-workers.
The net result will not only leave you in tears, but also make you wonder why more news outlets haven't gone this far to seek out the inconvenient truths surrounding this affair (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Hot Air):
A video circa 1996 has just surfaced of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates speaking in front of a group about racism and affirmative action.
In it, he defamed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as well as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Present on stage with the Professor was Princeton's Cornel West.
As you watch the video, ask yourself whether Gates's statements thirteen years ago, which included him referring to "racist historically white institutions in American society," are at all relevant to the current controversy surrounding his arrest in Cambridge last week, and whether news media should make the public aware of them.
After all, if this is indeed the teachable moment President Obama claims it to be, isn't there much to be learned from the Professor's following words (video embedded below the fold, h/t HotAirPundit):
A recent New York Post story brought up a point about the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that few in the Old Media have paid much attention to. Apparently, Gates has since the arrest announced he is in the early stages of involvement in a PBS TV series on civil rights in America. It is odd that this single fact has not been a focus of much discussion.
After all, if Gates is about to start a TV show about civil rights, what better way to punch up that participation than to "suddenly" get mixed up in a national civil rights "abuse" case? What better way to highlight America's civil rights problem than to become a nationally known victim of so-called racism?
Why is no one asking how long Gates has been in the planning stages of this TV show? Was he planning it since before the arrest? It all leads one to wonder if Gates saw an opportunity to gin up interest in his TV appearance by becoming a victim? Instead of experiencing any actual racial tension, did Gates invent his own ready-made, sensational incident to turn his scholarly civil rights discussion into the quintessential TV reality show extravaganza? Was all this just a TV stunt in Gates' mind? Was it mere opportunism?
President Obama's experience last year earning fawning press coverage as a “genius” on race relations lulled him into assuming “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable,” columnist Charles Krauthammer postulated Friday night on FNC in suggesting an explanation for why Obama so misunderstand how his remarks on Henry Louis Gates would ensnare him in controversy. Krauthammer opined: “A lot of the Obama presidency is a contest between his intelligence and his arrogance” and he thought “he can say anything on race and is so smart that he will be untouchable.”
One reason for that, Krauthammer contended, is that after he “gave the famous speech in Philadelphia” on race in March of 2008, in which “he did not renounce Jeremiah Wright” as “he blamed everybody for racism -- black, white and grandmother, except himself,” he nonetheless “was hailed by a supine press as the second coming of Lincoln at Cooper Union. So after, that you think you can say anything on race and be hailed as a genius.”
Indeed, hours after Obama's Tuesday, March 18, 2008 address, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, NewsBusters recounted, praised it as “worthy of Abraham Lincoln” and also claimed it bypassed Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” address as the “best speech ever given on race in this country.”
In an "analysis" on how President Obama is dealing with the race issue, AP writer Charles Babington seems to have based his take on what happened to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on the assumption that Gates was arrested for being black in his home, not that he was arrested for disorderly conduct and for his outrageous disrespect for a police officer -- something to which other police officers involved attest, officers that are themselves minorities.
Babington so soft-pedals Obama's gaffe against the police officers, leaving out so many details that, after reading the story, one finds it difficult to understand why Obama's words were so controversial. And it's all in a seeming effort to cover for the president and try to help him reclaim the high ground on race in America. The whole Babington piece appears to be far more of an effort to smooth the waters for Obama instead of provide any actual analysis of the incident.
Calling Obama's reaction to the Gates arrest "understated" and "perhaps obvious," Babington goes on to say that Gates was arrested in his home -- without giving any context at all -- and assumes that even with Obama in the White House race is still a major problem in America.
The networks might just as well have hung out a sign this morning: non-African-American experts on policing and racial profiling need not apply. Good Morning America, the Early Show and Today had a total of six guests on the subject . . . and every one was African-American.
Among the highlights: a writer from Tina Brown's Daily Beast suggested that given our incarceration rate, the USA meets the definition of a "police state."
ABC, CBS and NBC all led Friday night with President Obama’s decision to appear in the White House press room to backtrack on the fury he inflamed by presuming “stupidity” by the police in the Professor Henry Gates alleged “racial profiling” incident, but only Katie Couric trumpeted Obama’s appearance in the White House briefing room -- which the CBS Evening News ran for an uninterrupted four solid minutes -- as “extraordinary” and “really unprecedented,” before she pouted over how “the timing could not be worse. Just as he was pushing so hard for health care reform and having some pretty serious setbacks.”
She pressed Bob Schieffier to provide Obama with guidance to get back on track on health care: “And how do you think the President can, if he can, resuscitate this whole effort?” Schieffer advised the obvious: “What he's got to do, I think now, is set out some specific things that he wants them to do and then push them to do it.” (Between the four minutes of Obama and when Couric turned to Schieffer, CBS aired a piece from reporter Bill Whitaker on why blacks fear the police.)
CNN daytime anchor Tony Harris has a bit of a different perspective on the Henry Louis Gates arrest.
Around 12:31 PM, after the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition held a press conference defending Sgt. Crowley’s conduct in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Harris spoke to the CNN reporter on the scene, Don Lemon. Having been informed that one of the reasons the union decided to hold the press conference was a sinking morale among officers after President Obama’s remarks on the matter, Harris said:
After portraying Professor Henry Gates as a victim of racial profiling on Thursday, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported: "We are learning more about the arresting officer...this is the guy hand-picked to help teach recruits how not to racially profile. This is a guy who helped try to save the life of [late Boston Celtics basketball player] Reggie Lewis."
A report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano further informed viewers: "It turns out the arresting white officer was actually hand-picked by a black police commissioner to have him teach recruits how to avoid racial profiling...Sergeant James Crowley, an 11-year veteran of the force, is an expert on racial profiling, having taught a course at the police academy."
In addition, Solorzano’s report featured clips of an interview with Sergeant Crowley: "I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't...There was a lot of yelling. There was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that would be – should be grateful that you're there investigating the report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."
NPR’s Juan Williams criticized President Obama’s “the police acted stupidly” response to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates during a segment on Friday’s Good Morning America: “The president has gone way, way too far without having looked at the police report, without knowing the facts of the case.” He later recommended that the president “walk it back and say, you know what- I spoke out of turn here.”
Anchor Chris Cuomo sought Williams’s take on the Democrat’s now infamous remarks on the detainment of the Harvard professor just after the beginning of the 7 am hour. He first brought up a standard mainstream media race question: “Do you think the police would have acted the same way, if Gates had been a white man?” The NPR analyst replied that he wasn’t sure, and gave an anecdote of his experience growing up in Brooklyn: “I don’t know the Cambridge police intimately....I grew up in Brooklyn during the ‘60s, and had...sort of a tense relationship with police- especially white police- as a young, black kid.”
Williams continued by giving his first critical analysis of the president’s answer: “My concern about the president speaking out here is, I’m not sure he saw the police report, where you can read that Gates was- had become rather aggressive with the cop...The cop was responding to a report of a break-in at the house, and by Gates’ own account, he tried to force his way into his own house, and that house had been broken into previously.”
Gates was arrested outside his home in Cambridge, Mass. for disorderly conduct on July 16 after Sergeant James Crowley arrived to investigate a report of a possible break in by two men. Gates had just gotten home from abroad to find himself locked out of his house, and asked the taxi driver to help him break down his front door.
Times reporters Susan Saulny and Robbie Brown aren't very interested in the factual details of the Gates arrest, or excerpts from the police report that painted Gates in an unflattering light, alleging Gates shouting accusations of racial bias and generally throwing his weight around. Saulny and Brown's story opens misleadingly, not with details of Gates's arrest, but with less ambivalent stories of racial stereotyping, leading readers to believe that the Gates imbroglio ran along similar lines:
"I wasn't at the press conference last night, and I also don't have all the facts, but I think it's fair to say that Obama handled that question -- oh, what's the word I'm looking for -- stupidly?"
So quite surpisingly said Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on Thursday's "Daily Show" in reference to the President's statement at Wednesday's press conference that the police officers involved in Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates's arrest "acted stupidly."
I kid you not.
In a fabulous display of bipartisan comedy -- Stewart deliciously lambasted Republicans, Democrats, Fox News, CNN, Brian Williams, healthcare reform, and, yes, the President -- Stewart ended the segment criticizing Obama's answer to Lynn Sweet's question about what the Gates incident says about race relations in America (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 6:12, vulgarity warning, h/t NBer balboa):
Now that President Obama has weighed in on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, it seems a metaphysical certitude news media will milk this story for all it's worth.
On Thursday, the CBS "Evening News" did exactly that by first opening its program with the President's statement made during Wednesday's press conference, and then following it with a segment on how this incident "spotlights a history of mistrust between police and minority communities."
As you watch the following video, ask yourself whether the content of this segment will improve race relations in America, or worsen them (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):