Oct
23
2012

WaPo: Racism in Obama TV Ad?

romney-coal

The Obama campaign has released a new ad criticizing Mitt Romney for having a Swiss bank account and wanting to keep tax breaks for corporations that offshore jobs.  The commercial's most devastating line: Romney once railed against the deadly pollution from a coal plant. I know what you're thinking: Totally racist, right? That's sort of the point of Karen Tumulty's piece today in the Washington Post (10/23/12). Under the headline "Obama's 'Not One of Us' Attack on Romney Echoes Racial Code," Tumulty uses complaints from right-wing bloggers to lead a discussion about the commercial, which she says "echoes a slogan […]

Jul
13
2012

George Zimmerman Was Never Violent–if You Don't Count Domestic Violence…

George Zimmerman's mugshot

Rarely has a story contradicted its lead like Lizette Alvarez's New York Times piece on George Zimmerman today (7/13/12). Here's the first sentence: A wide-ranging investigation of George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, found a man not prone to violence or prejudice and who moved easily between racial and ethnic groups–a "decent guy," "a good human being." No, he's not prone to violence–except, as we learn after four paragraphs about what a great guy he is, that time that he slapped his ex-girlfriend: During an argument with his ex-fiancée, a stylist he […]

Jun
11
2012

Newsweek: In Praise of Ray Kelly, Crime-Fighting Superhero

Ray Kelly

Last night's on CBS' 60 Minutes, viewers got to see an encore broadcast of an embarrassingly sycophantic tribute to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Glenn Greenwald takes it apart at Salon.com, explaining how CBS regaled viewers with "news" about "the heart of the man with a world of worry," and documented—through dogged investigative work—how Panetta "stays in touch with his humanity." This was no isolated incident; hero worship is a endemic feature of corporate media. Consider the current issue of Newsweek, where one can find another embarrassing tribute to a supposedly tough talking leader. This time it's New York Police Department […]

May
24
2012

If GOP Was Anti-Racist, Why Wasn't Buckley a Democrat?

The conservative National Review, which has had a longstanding attachment to racism (FAIR Blog, 4/11/12) which it has lately shown signs of regretting, now has a cover story (5/28/12) by Kevin Williamson that argues that the Democratic Party is now and always has been the party of racism, while the GOP has always been the party of civil rights. Sample: That is because those Southerners who defected from the Democratic Party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican Party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had […]

May
15
2012

New Evidence of Stop-and-Frisk Abuses Prompts NYT to Call for More Evidence

 The New York Times editorially decried the New York City police department's stop-and-frisk practices ("Injustices of Stop and Frisk," 5/13/12), noting that the criterion of "furtive movements" most often used for stopping disproportionately black and brown people is "so vague as to be meaningless," that people of color are treated more violently than white people when stopped, and that the excuse that stop-and-frisk keeps guns off the street is not supported. The paper's conclusion: "The mounting evidence reveals a pattern of abusive policing that warrants the attention of the Justice Department, which should be using its broad authority to investigate […]

Apr
11
2012

A Racist at National Review? Do Tell

Conservative Forbes columnist Josh Barro is happy that John Derbyshire was fired for writing a racist column: I'm pleased to see that National Review has fired John Derbyshire as a result of his racist screed in Taki's Magazine last week. Derbyshire's remarks were beyond the pale, and this severing of ties is important for the credibility of one of the pillar institutions in conservative publishing. Barro, a contributor to National Review (NR) and National Review Online (NRO), was one of the first conservatives to call for Derbyshire's ouster, arguing that keeping company with a racist like Derbyshire presented a "problem […]

Apr
03
2012

Joe Klein on Trayvon Martin: Democrats Are Bad Too

Time columnist Joe Klein has harsh words for the right. His new column uses the Trayvon Martin tragedy to talk broadly about the right and racism. Klein points out that some of the Republican presidential candidates are desperate men playing on the ignorance and racist bigotry of their audiences. Those of us who cover campaigns and watched the Tea Party grow have notebooks full of hateful quotes from that distinct minority of militants who believe that nonwhites are "taking over" the country and that Shari'a looms and that the President is somehow egging this on. This is a relatively tiny […]

Mar
27
2012

Geraldo Rivera and the Pre-Post-Racial America

Remember when the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama was going to usher in a new "post-racial" era in American politics? It was obvious at the time that that was a pipe dream, but it's remarkable how much the U.S. discourse on race has actually gone backward–as illustrated by Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera's comments on the killing of Trayvon Martin. Appearing on Fox & Friends (3/23/12), Rivera asserted that the 17-year-old's attire was as much to blame for his death as the person who shot him: "I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let […]

Jan
18
2012

NYT and the Racism Bog

When a Republican presidential candidate goes around talking about Barack Obama as the "food stamp president," eventually reporters are going to have to write about racism. But how they talk about the issue in instructive. In today's New York Times (1/18/12), Jim Rutenberg has a piece headlined "Risks for GOP in Attacks With Racial Themes," where we learn this about Newt Gingrich's food stamp rhetoric: Mr. Gingrich was clearly making the case that he is the candidate most able to take the fight to Mr. Obama in the fall, but he was also laying bare risks for his party when […]

Jan
10
2012

'Opinions Differ' Should Be the Start of PolitiFact's Job

There are two ways to approach being evenhanded: You can try to actually be evenhanded, which could mean that you find that one side is right and the other is wrong. Or you can strive for the appearance of being evenhanded, which means that you decide in advance that you're going to find that there's truth on both sides. PolitiFact, a political factchecking project based in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been criticized for taking the latter approach. An item it posted yesterday (1/9/12) is further evidence of its preference for the appearance of evenhandedness over its reality. The item addressed […]

Dec
06
2011

Fox News Goes to the Middle (and Other Fantasies)

Is Fox News Channel going soft? In an election year? Some media figures seem to think the hard-right channel is going to the "middle," but this seems to be a figment of the centrist imagination. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman has a short piece trying to make this case. His first bit of evidence is that Fox granted backstage access at its recent Republican debate to a New York Times reporter–as Sherman put it, "Fox's decision to allowTimes scribe Jim Rutenberg into the building to confront the candidates in person." That sounds rather aggressive, and Sherman sees this as some […]

Aug
26
2011

O'Keefe's Bogus NPR Sting Lives On

Jesse Jackson had some tough criticism for the Tea Party movement at a Martin Luther King event on Thursday. USA Today's Melanie Eversley covered his remarks, getting a Tea Party activist to respond to his criticism. The piece then added this, presumably in order to add some context: The group has faced criticism of being a racist group, a claim made most visibly by former National Public Radio fundraiser Ron Schiller, who was caught on hidden camera calling the group racist and xenophobic, prompting his immediate resignation. In other words, lots of people seem to hurl accusations of racism at […]

Aug
24
2011

NYT Points Out 'Racist Overtones' in Libyan Disinformation It Helped Spread

Today's New York Times has a story by David Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland running down the exaggerations and misinformation that have been spread throughout the Libya War. There's been "spin from all sides," they report. Gadhafi's exaggerations are well-known, but this passage is rather striking: Still, the rebels have offered their own far-fetched claims, like mass rapes by loyalist troops issued tablets of Viagra. Although the rebels have not offered credible proof, that claim is nonetheless the basis of an investigation by the International Criminal Court. And there is the mantra, with racist overtones, that the Gadhafi government is using […]