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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Russert, Nigger, and Race

No comment is necessary. Taken from Salon's Gregg Greenwald. The entire post is here.

UPDATE II: Instapunk's far-from-uncommon thoughts on race illustrate another significant point. What explains the media's Obama/Wright fixation while virtually ignoring McCain's embrace of people like Rod Parsley and John Hagee is the assumption that the controversial behavior of any one black person is easily attributed to black people generally, while white political leaders aren't held accountable for the views of others solely by virtue of shared race. That dynamic is what explains this -- Tim Russert interviewing Barack Obama, January 22, 2006:

MR. RUSSERT: I want to talk a little bit about the language people are using in the politics now of 2006, and I refer you to some comments that Harry Belafonte made yesterday. He said that Homeland Security had become the new Gestapo. What do you think of that?

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Belafonte went to Venezuela, as you well know, some time ago and met with the Hugo Chavez, leader of that country, and said some things that obviously were noted in this country and around the world. Let's listen, and come back and talk about it. . . . Is it appropriate to call the President of the United States "the greatest terrorist in the world"?

Barack Obama has nothing to do with Harry Belafonte and yet, out of the blue, Tim Russert demanded that he opine on Belafonte's statements -- just as Russert demanded that Obama renounce Louis Farrakhan's. Here, to my knowledge, is the only other time Russert ever asked anyone about the statements of Harry Belafonte -- Tim Russert interviewing Colin Powell, May 4, 2003:

MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned criticism of Castro. In fact, some artists and writers from the United States of America, led by Harry Belafonte, said that the United States has been guilty of harassment of Cuba, and this is a pretext for invasion.

By stark contrast, there is never any assumption that John McCain shares the radical and vehemently "anti-American" views of his "spiritual guide" Rod Parsley or John Hagee, whose endorsements he sought and with whom he has shared a stage and lavishly praised. What accounts for that extreme disparity in media treatment? (That Obama has a closer relationship to Wright than McCain does with Parsley/Hagee is a separate issue, for the reason explained in the first paragraph here). Instapunk's observations shed significant light on the reasons for that disparity.
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