James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

  • Archives

  • September 2021
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • Categories

  • Subscribe

Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Birthers, civil war, damnation and lynching

Posted by James McPherson on August 23, 2010

In recent weeks I’ve discussed the craziness of “journalists” such as WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, Floyd Brown and Michael Webster, and have previously talked about the sign-carrying racists and blogging “electronic Klansmen” cowards who make up some (not all) of their followers.

I’ve also discussed the hazards of commenting on other blogs, which often brings a flurry of profane slurs. Usually I don’t mind, figuring the more those nuts post, the more they weaken the arguments of those who agree with them on other issues.

Today was the first time I ever had people suggest that I might burn in hell and should be lynched, however, under a post (from two supposedly Christian authors) that was all-too-predictably titled, “Is Obama a Muslim?” That post suggests that Obama is a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Muslim Marxist.

Aside from the fact that many progressives are unhappy because of Obama’s lack of support for gay marriage, I pointed out that the essay makes no sense on its face, asking, “How would being a Muslim correspond with “Marxism,” “abortion on demand,” or “gay marriage”?

One person expressed concerns about my soul, another about my life.

“James, I just hope that you are not among those giving each other presents, when the Two-Witnesses written about in the Book of Revelation(11:3-14) are killed by the Anti-Messiah, which a Marxist is by definition!” one wrote.

Another less courageous sort, calling himself/herself simply “Guest,” offered this: “Hey James, With your mind set, you better not go outside at night, or walk down any dark alleys. There are people out there looking for Idiots like you to hang from the tallest tree in town.”

Here’s my response, in full:

You’re really threatening me with lynching, Guest? Of course, coming from someone who hides behind a fake name makes it tough to take your comments seriously, even though they do come from someone who obviously would only do anything as part of a mob at night in a dark alley.

But thanks for the comment–the more of these sorts of comments there are here, the better the picture people get of what birthers truly stand for. Quite the Christian group you’ve got here.

The same post, by the way, has someone titled “Mary” suggesting a “Civil War,” a not-uncommon call on these conspiracy sites. As I have in the past, I asked: “With who fighting whom? Are you volunteering to take up arms? How far are you personally willing to go?”

As usual, I’ve had no response to that, just as when the various nuts proclaim that it’s time to “take back America.”

Posted in History, Journalism, Personal, Politics, Religion, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

WorldNetDaily ‘journalism’ and ‘Christian’ racism

Posted by James McPherson on August 12, 2010

I have to admit that when I see the url for WorldNetDaily, wnd.com, I automatically start coming up with appropriate alternative meanings for the abbreviation: Phrases such as WackjobNewsDelivery, or WhyNotDeceive, or WildNewDistortions, or WhiteNutjobDelusions, or WhoNeedsDetails, or WeNeedDrugs.

But I read something the other day referring to WorldNetDaily as a leading “Christian website.” If that’s true (and despite the supposed Christian faith of its founder/editor and its promoting of some Christian books, I’m not sure I’d agree), it’s no wonder that Christianity has such a bad reputation with so many people.

WND claims to be a news site, but makes no effort to hide its clearly biased perspective (or its sales pitches to the gullible). For example, the third “story” right now is about a conference to “take America back” (back from whom, as usual, is unclear). The story quotes WND founder and editor Joseph Farah, while promising:

Speakers at the conference, which is followed by a weeklong Royal Caribbean cruise called “The Tea Party at Sea,” includes such stalwarts as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Tom Tancredo, Jerome Corsi, Aaron Klein and David Kupelian. Farah – who’s also speaking – is now offering a peek at the conference’s still-developing program. With “this slate of speakers, topics and discussions,” he ensures, “the event will more than live up to its name.”

Not surprisingly, the conference will generate cash for Farah’s organization while also promoting his own book, which has the same title as the conference he is organizing.

The WND “daily poll” from yesterday asked the question, “What part of the Obama-eligibility saga has made you most doubt his legitimacy?” That’s about as unbiased as me asking, “Which WND conspiracy theory do you find to be the craziest?” The difference is, I don’t pretend to be “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice.”

Besides Farah’s writings, WND regularly features the writing of such “journalists” as Coulter, Corsi and Michael Savage (and Pat Buchanan, but he apparently works for every media organization, including msnbc). But as with most websites, even scarier that the identifiable writers (well, maybe except for Savage) are the anonymous lunatics who post comments.

Here are a few examples, taken from almost 3,000 “questions” the commenters think the media should ask Barack Obama ((I’ve copied and pasted, so the goofy misspellings, random capitalization, and grammar and punctuation issues were in the original; all comments are from different people):

Wouldn’t you won’t you oh pretty please stop asking the Schutzstaffel SS (aka Secret Service) funnel you the white magic dust powder and charging it to me? This cracker works two jobs to just get by and can’t afford to pay for your drug habit. Are you leaving a disgusting white film all over the White House that will have to be ServiceMastered the day you are impeached and executed for treason or imprisoned for life for all of your felonies? Also, on that day, could you and Michelle refrain from stealing any of the objet d’art left over from the great Clinton burglary in the White House as they were packing up? Thank YOU Soetoro.

Yes, you have fooled the people, but you will be found out. God help you, because, Mr. Obama, I can assure your Muslim religion will not.

Hussein Obama is the biggest, most constant LIAR of all the Liars in D.C., and THAT is saying something. He took us decent folks by surprise, as we have never seen, or expected, a usurper for Pres, let alone such a LIAR and low-down Red Communist filth pig, make it into the Oval Office. … I am pleased at your miserable predicament – LIAR, spiller of innocent blood, Communist, the Holy One has a perfect count of how many babies you have conspired to murder. They cry for justice to th Holy One of Israel. You can believe this – He listens and soon justice, the thing you hate and fear, will be served to you because of your rebellion and evil. Do you think you can LIE your way out of God’s justice?

Dear usurping, racebaiting, America hating, teleprompting, mongrel in chief…

If you look nto obama’s back ground He has never been around anyone but comunist ,his white tras mother was a communist both his father and step father were America hating communist ,his grand parents were communist…

I hear Hillary Clinton may challenge you for the 2012 Democratic nomination.[?] Maybe you should prepare for “CRONE WARS”. :o)

Why do you direspect our flag, our rights to our official days of prayer, and brainwash our children into singing praises to you in official school class rooms where they’re not allowed to speak the name of Jesus Christ but they can worship Obama? Please explain why these things are happening in our country that was founded on the moral structure of the Word of Almgihty God, not Alah or Mohammed.

You bowing down to those countries who are against America,and telling them we aren’t a Christian nation, where did you get that? Do you really think we Christian Americans are that dumb to fall for your crap?

Your consistent twisting of the US Constitution’s wording of “Freedom of Religion” with your own devious “freedom of worship” makes me wonder if this is not Taqiyya under the guise of progressive ideology.  If “Religion” is used, an argument could be made that Islam is an “Ideology”, not a “Religion”. In substituting “Worship”, blanket protection is given to those who idolize Mohammed through the “Theocracy” that is Islam. This is an obvious chess board move.

WND editor Farah has become one of the leading proponents of the “birther” movement. Birther conspiracy also is the primary focus of the organization he founded–devoting much of its early effort to the wacky Vince Foster suicide conspiracy theory–before moving on to WND.

That organization, the Western Journalism Center, now is led by Floyd Brown, who also has his own website but is perhaps most noteworthy as the producer of perhaps the most infamous racist political ad in history, the “Willie Horton” ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988.

The website of the Western Journalism Center (“journalism” apparently being used ironically in this case) also draws a smaller but perhaps even nuttier and scarier following of racist conspiracy loons, who keep asking questions along the lines of “When can we get this Muslim usurper out of the White House?” Samples from one post alone (about Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain) include comments such as the following (again, all from different commenters):

[Michelle Obama] cared less about the annoited ones birthday(maybe) and when she gets home she going on another vacation with her half black half and both piglets.

Does the word LYNCH ring a bell? We need to get the BIGGEST LYNCH PARTY together,and head for Washington, D. C.

I SAY US KICK THE MAKE BELIEVE MARIE ANTOINETTE AMAZONIAN BITCH OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE ALONG WITH HER HALF BREED OF A HUSBAND WHO PREFERS MEN.

Michelle is nothing more than a monkey bitch spending Americans tax money and she doesn’t give a rats a$$ about the rest of the Americans who are struggling financially. After all the monkey bitch and her magic negro husband were elected by the masses of liberals kool-aid drinkers and the whites who thought they could erase their collective guilt by electing Osama Obama the magic negro and his monkey bitch wife!!!

The idiots that voted for this muslim communist deserve him but We Americans that did not vote for that sleezy slime bag that came for the sewer have to be punished.

I was born in 1944, back before the blacks were allowed to set at the front of the bus, not in the back, and when they had to have their own fountains to drink from and their own public rest rooms. I will not use the N word, but what the Obamas are doing is what was called N_ _ _ _ r Rich back in those days. If they got a dollar for picking cotton, hey would go out and spend ten dollars. Looks like their intelligence level has remained the same over al these years. Guess you can take them out of the innercity, but you can’t take the innercity out of them.

Tea Party folks keep claiming they’re not racists. Maybe most of them aren’t. But a fair number of the “Christians” who hang out at wnd.com and the Western Journalism Center obviously are racists, along with being stupid in many other ways.

And though it may be impossible to keep up with the garbage spewing forth, it would be nice if more of those Christian readers and Tea Party fans of the two sites who aren’t racist jackasses would call out the ones who are.

Posted in Journalism, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Is the Tea Party racist?

Posted by James McPherson on July 23, 2010

“There is no racism in the Tea Party,” Rush Limbaugh says. “They don’t have racist signs.”

Just the fact that Rush says something would make most thinking people assume the opposite, and of course in this case he’s wrong again. I’ll paste a few of the obnoxious examples below.

But in one respect, it is wrong to say the Tea Party is racist, simply because there is no specific Tea Party (even if some of them now have their own lunatic queen in Congress). There are lots of different Tea Party groups, some loonier than others, who seem to be more offended by the actions of a black president than they were by the all-too-similar actions of the white president who proceeded him.

And there obviously are racists in the Tea Party movement, perhaps in bigger numbers than elsewhere in society. But racism won’t be the factor that makes the movement largely meaningless in the long run, other than affecting a few primaries (and thereby no doubt benefiting as man liberals as conservatives); their demise will result from a lack of cohesion or any significant goals beyond “waaah!” Take this example, from a USA Today story:

“I don’t really understand it, but I like what they stand for,” says Terry Rushing, 63, of Greensburg, La., who was among those surveyed. “They just support everything I’m looking for — lower taxes, less government. … All the good things, you know.”

No, we don’t know, any more than you do, Terry. But it probably doesn’t matter. Like the one-time media darlings of the pro-Hillary PUMAs, the tea partiers will fade away. Fox News will no doubt miss them, though five years from now probably most of us won’t remember them.

In the meantime, perhaps a few of them will go back to school and improve their spelling:


Posted in History, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Stimulus prompts cartoonish monkey business

Posted by James McPherson on February 18, 2009

I haven’t understood why the story of a crazy chimpanzee has been worth days of coverage on virtually every news site. In fact, until today I had not read any of the stories, and have managed to tune out most of the television discussion of Gonzo Bonzo.

Now there’s another reason to hate the fact that the media have gone ape, so to speak, over the story: It helped prompt a cartoon that some perceive as racist, on the same day that attorney general Eric Holder calls the United States “a nation of cowards” on the issue of race. Ah, remember the good old days, when all we had to worry about with the attorney general was his unwillingness to follow the Constitution, and his inability to remember if he had followed it?

Syndicated columnist and regular TV talking head Roland Martin is among those now arguing that a New York Post cartoon offers a racist portrayal of Barack Obama. For its part, the Post, drawing international attention, pleads innocence. It claims that the dead stimulus-writing monkey in the cartoon simply represents the widely reported chimp gone crazy, which police shot and killed, while making fun of the flaws in the stimulus bill.

The Post argument would be more convincing if it weren’t known as a conservative anti-Obama newspaper. It also doesn’t help that today’s first story highlighted on the Post Web page is titled “From baby to beast,” while the second is headlined, “Bam’s $75B house call.” (The site also prominently carries a “pop video quiz” titled “Wet hot swimsuit models”–those conservatives do like their T & A.) And while the first complainant about the cartoon was publicity hound Al Sharpton (and no, Rev. Al, I’m not comparing African Americans to dogs), who would call someone a racist for commenting that a plane crash occurred on a dark night, Martin is not the same kind of loony that Sharpton is.

Even if we give the Post the benefit of the doubt–and I think that when it comes to matters of race we should be as gracious as possible in assuming the motives of others–we also shouldn’t automatically ignore the aggrieved parties, either. Regardless of any racist intent, the cartoon still represents a cluelessness on the part of the newspaper, because in fact African Americans have been negatively compared to apes throughout history. Not long ago a Voguemagazine cover featuring basketball star Lebron James drew similar criticism. Much longer ago, noted sportscaster Howard Cosell referred to black wide receiver Alvin Garrett as a “little monkey,” drawing considerable criticism (despite the fact that at one time Cosell may have been one of the best friends that black athletes–especially boxers, and especially Muhammad Ali–had in any press box).

Still, the racial aspect that probably bothers me most about this incident is one I’ve noted before, that any dead or missing little white girl or pretty white woman will get far more attention from the media than a missing or dead black or Latino child–and now it is clear that a dead chimpanzee can get more ink, as well.

Next-day update: The New York Times reports that even employees of the New York Postapparently are among those troubled by the cartoon, which ran one page after a large photo of Obama signing the stimulus photo. Ted Rall, president of the Association of Editorial Cartoonists also dislikes the cartoon, but not because he thinks it’s racist (he doesn’t). According to a Poynter piecewell worth reading, Rall calls the cartoon “a cheap form of editorial cartooning,” in which a not particularly ambition tries to combine two unrelated news events into a cartoon that is “rarely clever” and typically “doesn’t mean anything.”

Another cartoonist, Chip Bok, also didn’t consider the cartoon to be racist–just “in bad taste” because the chimp had seriously injured a woman. As Rall noted, however, there are almost no cartoonists who aren’t white men, so their depth of understanding as a group may be a bit limited.

Next day update #2: The Post now “apologizes for” and defends the cartoon, after singer John Legend urged people to boycott the newspaper.

The new cartoon, followed by the Labron Vogue cover and one of the comparisons from various sites:

monkey1

lebron21

Posted in Journalism, Media literacy, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments »

Culture warriors were dreaming of a really white Christmas; others get coal in their stockings

Posted by James McPherson on December 12, 2008

Writing for the Daily Beast, Max Blumental traces the idea of a “war on Christmas“–the bitter annual holiday tradition of right-wing moralists such as the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger, Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, several Fox News commentators, and Focus on the Family, which maintains a list of major retailers who prominently acknowledge” Christmas and those that have “apparently abandoned” the word–to former Fortune magazine editor, anti-immigrant, and perhaps anti-Semite Peter Brimelow.

Blumethal writes: “In his 1995 book, Alien Nation, Brimelow argued that the influx of ‘weird aliens with dubious habits’ from developing nations was eroding America’s white Christian ‘ethnic core,’ and in turn, sullying its cultural underpinnings. The War on Christmas was, in his view, a particularly pernicious iteration of the multicultural ‘struggle to abolish America.'”

For Bill O’Reilly this is the hap-happiest time of the year because he knows he’ll get to wade into a can’t-lose culture battle. He has repeatedly made the war on Christmas a central theme of his “talking points,” most recently on Dec. 3 and Dec. 5. Of course, the night after that last show, he referred to O.J. Simpson conviction as “karma,” not exactly a Christian term. One front of the war over (not “on,” in my view) Christmas (not the war that killed three people on “Black Friday”) is in my own state of Washingon, where atheists have been allowed to put up a sign near the capitol Christmas tree. Now someone wants to put up a “Festivus pole,” an invention of “Seinfeld.”

On an even weirder front, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Technology has put the holiday to its own use. As Rachel Maddow and others reported earlier this week, the group has put together a series of videos in which animated lumps of coal sing “carols”–changing the words to fit the coal message. Unfortunately, the ACCCT has removed the video from its site, but you can see a photo here:

cleancoal2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sheldon Rampton points out: “Some of the lyrics sung by the ‘Clean coal carolers’ might actually offend people who take Christmas seriously as a religious holiday. ‘Clean Coal Night,’ for example, uses the melody of ‘Silent Night’ but replaces the words, ‘Christ the savior is born’ with ‘Plenty of coal for years to come.”‘Similarly, the chorus praising Jesus in ‘Come All Ye Faithful’ is transformed from ‘Oh come let us adore him’ to ‘And we can count on clean coal.'” Citing O’Reilly’s annual rants about people using the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” Rampton writes, “Let’s see if O’Reilly even mentions the coal industry’s latest sacrilege.”

Clean coal actually is appropriate for the Christmas holiday, of course, because it has at least three things in common with another “weird alien with dubious habits [smoking a pipe, overeating, talking to animals, etc.]”: Santa Claus. Both Santa and clean coal make you feel warm and fuzzy, both end up in your chimney, and, most importantly, NEITHER IS REAL. Despite Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s kowtowing to the Pennsylvania and West Virginia coal industries, there is no such thing as “clean coal.”

Brimelow probably would be appalled by the Clean Coal Carolers. For one thing, all the singers are black. Of course, most of the 26,500 children under the age of 5 who will die on Christmas day also are black (and most of the rest are brown-skinned or Asian), as are the 26,500 who will die on Christmas Eve, and the equal numbers who will die every day from now through the forseeable future. Most of those children will die of things we could prevent today, if we had the will–things such as disease, starvation, bad water and war.

Put another way, a child under the age of 5 dies about every three seconds, about the same time it takes to say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And until we dramatically improve that statistic, speaking as a Christian, I don’t really care what you call your damn tree.

Dec. 15 update: The state of Washington has put a moratorium on future displays.

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Hillary Clinton & John McCain joining ‘Obamanation’–of course

Posted by James McPherson on November 17, 2008

With the presidential election barely over and Barack Obama’s inauguration still a couple of months away, the president-elect and his vanquished rivals apparently are well on their way to patching up their differences. Many of those differences weren’t all that large to begin with, since both Obama and Hillary Clinton are more conservative than many think (and Obama will govern even more conservatively, I think and fear), and the pre-campaign McCain was a bit more liberal than the grumpy old conservative he became on the campaign trail.

Still, Obama and John McCain were never good friends in the Senate, and McCain and Clinton probably remains surprised by their losses. Nonetheless, this coming together to achieve a peaceful transition of power is one of the things about American politics that makes our system so strong. It’s also a political necessity, which is why we so often find ourselves puzzled when former enemies–even terrorist enemies–somehow become friends.

Of course, practical bipartisanship (largely absent during the past eight years, so we’ll see what happens from here) also is what most surprises some of those in other countries most unaccustomed to Democracy, and what makes even some rabid partisans in this country a bit crazy. But the middle has again shown that it matters most, so for now let’s hope that the far left and the far right stew in their juices. And let the racists hang themselves.

Despite the fact that Obama has yet to take office and the economy continues to crash (for which Rush Limbaugh has managed to blame Obama, while he and other nutjobs on the right try to capitalize on the historical ignorance of the populace and blame Obama or Bill Clinton for pretty much everything) you can tell many things are returning to normal.

After all, one of the two most popular stories for today’s Huffington Post is a meaningless piece from the New York Daily News (in the “gossip section,” as if the newspaper is ever much else) about Diane Sawyer (who also sang a duet with noted newsman Stephen Colbert on “Good Morning America”) landing an interview with Eliot Spitzer hooker Ashley Dupre.

Next day update: Despite the added “a bit crazy” link added above, more evidence of the forgiving nature of American national politics comes with today’s news that Joe Lieberman–thanks to the support of Obama–will keep his Senate leadership post.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How many cell phone users won’t vote for a black guy?

Posted by James McPherson on October 15, 2008

I raise the above question–not a serious one–to highlight a couple of issues that concern pollsters who worry that today’s political polls may be flawed. The first is the so-called “Bradley effect,” which supposes that many people who tell pollsters they favor an African American candidate will then cast ballots for a white candidate instead.

With Barack Obama we’ve also heard discussion of a supposed “reverse Bradley effect,” which theorizes that some white people might not openly admit they’ll cross racial lines to vote, but under certain conditions (such as a compelling individual candidate or a collapsing economy while the white candidate’s party is in the White House)  will do so in the privacy of the polling booth.

Another issue, raised by the National Journal today, is related to cell phone usage. As I noted back in August when I predicted a substantial Barack Obama victory: “Many surveys rely heavily on phone interviews, which tend to underrepresent college students and techno-savvy people who rely on cell phones and/or computer phone services instead of traditional landlines. Yet those people are the ones who seem to be among Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters. I would not be surprised in this election to see Obama’s numbers underrepresented by 5 percent or more in many polls.”

I actually hope the polls are screwed up (assuming my favored candidate wins, of course); maybe then journalists will stop relying so much on polling for political coverage. Unfortunately if the polls are significantly wrong, many people will suspect another culprit: voter fraud.

Conservatives are now beating a drum about ACORN–despite the facts that the voter registration problems involving signature gatherers were discovered and reported by the organization itself, that no real problem exists (after all, “Mickey Mouse isn’t showing up on election day, and states have safeguards built in), and that the ploy is an obvious Republican smear designed to harm the credibility of the organization.

As Editor & Publisher points out, it is too bad (though perhaps not surprising) that so many in the media have helped hype the story, while turning a blind eye to the type of voter problems that may have cost Democrats the presidency in both 2000 (in Florida) and 2004 (in Ohio), and which Republicans are pursuing for this election, as well. “The allegations can also help cover up actual election fraud undertaken on behalf of McCain,” author Glenn W. Smith writes, adding that the media seem to find the more common situations that limit voter turnout to be somehow less egregious than the remote possibility that someone might accidentally be allowed to cast a vote: “Exclusion is a tradition with deep roots in our cultural narratives and founding documents. Historically accustomed as we are to exclusion, maybe we don’t judge it to be news.”

As for the supposed “threat” of ACORN, John McCain characterized the organization more fairly a couple of years ago as a keynote speaker FOR the group. You can see his remarks, along with more voter fraud discussion, in the first video (from “Countdown”) below. If you have the stomach for it, the second video–with claims similar to those made in an ad that drew a “pants on fire” rating from PolitiFact.org, shows the new, dishonest, attacking McCain perspective. In about an hour from this writing, we’ll see which version shows up for the debate.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics, Video, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

GOP VP nominee not Palin’ by comparison to Biden

Posted by James McPherson on September 3, 2008

From “bullshit” to bull moose: In her speech earlier tonight, Sarah Palin showed that she can not only shoot down and field dress the meat, but she can also pitch that red meat to the Republican base. She has no apparent qualms about doing what good VP candidates are supposed to do, attack the other side. Joe Biden won’t be the only VP pit bull–with or without lipstick–in this campaign.

Palin gave a good speech, with the usual convention-sized helpings of exaggeration and mischaracterization sprinkled with lie or two (she should quit repeating her false-but-appealing “bridge to nowhere” story, or that’s where it the bridge may help take her campaign). Palin did well what she had to do, though now that she’s “out there” without days to prepare for each appearance things may get tougher. On the other hand, Jay Rosen offers this somewhat depressing quote in considering the apparent McCain-Palin strategy:

Strategy: Comes from Bush, the younger. When realities uncovered are directly in conflict with prior claims, consider the option of keeping the claims and breaking with reality. Done the right way, it’s a demonstration of strength. It dismays and weakens the press. And it can be great theatre.

Rosen discusses how the GOP might reignite the culture war (it’s best strategy in the past couple of presidential elections), and elements of that war could be seen tonight. There wasn’t much on abortion–after all, Palin’s warmup act was pro-abortion, pro-gay civil unions, pro-gun control Rudy “9/11” Giuliani (I would like to see Rudy try to wrestle a rifle from Palin). But there has been plenty in recent days from the GOP (and its Fox News mouthpieces) about “elites” (a funny term for a ticket with at least 10 houses between them) and about that old Republican favorite, “the liberal media.”

It also was interesting to hear Palin and other speakers during the evening talk about the need for “change” from Washington politics. They obviously hope that a fair number of Americans will forget that it’s their president–the one McCain votes with most of the time–who has occupied the White House for the past eight years, and that their party controlled Congress for almost that entire time (while holding enough seats to sustain George W. Bush’s vetoes for the last two years, after the electorate kicked many–but not quite enough–of them out of office).

McCain himself was a Senator for all of that time, though he hasn’t showed up for the past five months. Giuliani made fun of Obama for voting “present,” but it has been quite a while since McCain could even say that much.

One media problem the McCain camp is trying to head off, fresh on the heels of the Bristol Palin pregnancy: the latest National Enquirer story about an alleged Sarah Palin affair. This is the sort of story that many of us would consider to be unlikely and irrelevant trash–but the exact thing that many conservatives recently criticized the mainstream media for not following up after the Enquirer reported similar allegations about John Edwards.

Unfortunately, as long as the major media let bloggers and tabloids dictate news selection, the GOP will have a case against the press–but it’s not a case of bias, as Republicans now pretend, as much as it is a case of laziness and sensationalism. And the Democrats can made the same case.

A even more ludicrous complaint from the McCain folks is that criticism of Palin’s obvious lack of experience is somehow sexist. That’s just stupid, especially since the GOP has been citing Obama’s lack of experience for months. Using their own reasoning, one would be forced to assume their criticisms stem from racism.

Tomorrow night is McCain’s turn. Any bets on how many times his years as a POW will come up?

Thursday elitist note: Vanity Fair estimates that Cindy McCain’s outfit from the other night cost approximately $300,000. Most of those “small town Americans” that the Republicans keep talking about that didn’t pay that much for their houses. And most of them only have one house.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »