Nov
19
2012

NYT Reports: In Wyoming, Tradition of White People Complaining About Black People Alive and Well

"In Wyoming, Conservatives Feeling Left Behind" is the headline on a report by the New York Times' Jack Healy (11/19/12) on how "since the election, a blanket of baffled worry has descended on conservatives here like early snow across the plains, deepening a sense that traditional, rural and overwhelmingly white states in the center of the country are losing touch with an increasingly diverse and urban American electorate."

Photo of M. Lee Hasenauer by Matthew Staver for the New York Times.

One of the many "traditional," "self-reliant" white guys in Wyoming the New York Times talked to about urban, minority "takers" and "parasites."

Healy reports:

Republican explanations for Mitt Romney's loss–that Democrats turned out the urban vote, that the United States is no longer its "traditional" self, or that Mr. Obama had showered "gifts" on women, minorities and young voters–resonated in some conservative political circles here in the state capital….

What worries conservatives here is that an increasingly diverse and Democratic polity will embrace healthcare mandates, higher domestic spending and a bigger government role in people's economic lives.

"It's a mind-set change–that government is here to take care of me," Healy quotes one Wyoming resident. Another asserted, "The young vote and certainly the minority vote went toward the perspective of 'What can I get?'"

The publisher of a right-wing local paper "said the election vindicated conservative politicians and commentators who talked about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax, about makers and takers. 'The parasites now outnumber the producers.'"

Yet another of Healy's sources summed up "what he saw as the difference between conservative, self-reliant Wyoming and liberal precincts along the coasts and in cities. 'They think, "What can he do for me?" as opposed to what Kennedy said in the '60s, "What can I do for my country?"'"

You get the picture: The "minority vote," aka the "urban vote," are "takers" and "parasites," unlike the "self-reliant," "traditional" folk in Wyoming. Did Healy mention that they're 86 percent white there? Yes, he did.

Twenty paragraphs into this 24-graf story, Healy notes that this appraisal is "complicated" by the fact that, when it comes to federal spending, Wyoming is definitely in the "taker" category:

A 2011 study by the Pew States Project found that Wyoming received more federal funds per resident than any other state, largely because of royalties from mining and drilling. That $3,757 per person went to healthcare, transportation, education and other government programs.

With that and another paragraph on Wyoming's economic dependence on resource extraction from federal land, the story is roughly one part reality to 12 parts self-congratulatory race-baiting.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.