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 […]

Jul
15
2011

USA Today Debunks Once Again the Myth of the Bloody Border

USA Today published a useful investigation today (7/15/11) finding that "rates of violent crime along the U.S./Mexico border have been falling for years," that U.S. border cities are "statistically safer on average than other cities in their states" and "border cities, big and small, have maintained lower crime rates than the national average, which itself has been falling." The USA Today report is not the first to dispel what it calls the "bloody" picture of the U.S. border with Mexico. But while it cites politicians, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, for spreading the myth, the piece lets right-wing media, including […]

Jul
13
2011

NYT Says: No All-Star Game Immigration Protests. And Reality Says. . .

The headline in today's New York Times (7/13/11): Plenty of Action Before the Game, but No Immigration Law Protests The Paper of Record reported that the much-discussed protests against Arizona's SB 1070 law fizzled: In the end, commerce trumped conscience. It was no mystery why the fervor over the immigration law was as flat as a half-full can of soda left in the 100-degree heat. Meanwhile, back in reality (Think Progress, 7/13/11):

Jul
13
2011

NYT's Immigrant Name-Calling

As we pointed out here and Monica Novoa pointed out here, Jose Antonio Vargas came out in the pages of the New York Times Magazine as an undocumented immigrant. In that piece and in some follow-ups, he seems to be aware of the distinction between "undocumented" and "illegal." His Times piece was headlined, "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant." That is the term he used in the article. It is completely inexplicable, then, that the magazine chose this headline for the Vargas letters this weekend: I, Illegal Immigrant

Jul
05
2011

Jose Antonio Vargas and the 'I Word'

Reporter Jose Antonio Vargas wrote a moving piece for the New York Times magazine about his status as an undocumented immigrant. One hope is that his story might improve the tone and substance of media coverage of immigration; Vargas has suggested as much, at one point tweeting this message: Undocumented Immigrant trending. So let's drop "Illegal" and "Alien." No person is illegal or an alien. His story has received a tremendous amount of media attention. But as Monica Novoa pointed out at ColorLines, too much coverage has dwelt on Vargas' "illegal" status: Vargas' story has drawn enormous media attention and […]

May
16
2011

More Evidence of Gingrich's Idea-Spewing

Last week, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz explained that Newt Gingrich was "an idea-spewing machine" and a "one-man think tank"–even warning that "a keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of intellectual superiority." Well OK. A few days in Balz's paper, readers learned that in a recent speech Gingrich called Barack Obama a "food stamp president." Which I think must be some wonky think tank rhetoric. Matthew Yglesias also noted that in the same appearance, Gingrich advocated a return to Jim Crow-era voting laws, saying: "But maybe we should also have a voting standard that says to vote, as […]