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Aug 29 2012

Why is this not news?

A report emerged yesterday about an ugly incident in which someone attending the Republican convention threw nuts at an African-American CNN camerawoman and saying “This is how we feed animals.”

CNN later issued a statement saying “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

This is odd. The report eventually appeared on a CNN blog but why would CNN not have a further comment? I can understand the Republican party or a private company not wanting to comment to a news organization about things that might embarrass them. But CNN is allegedly a news organization. Surely this incident is a legitimate news story? And it would normally be considered a scoop since no one else has access to all the facts that CNN had. News organizations may not like being part of the story but they sometimes cannot help it.

On the broader question of the incident itself, there has been a truly ugly undercurrent of racism in the way that Barack Obama’s legitimacy to be president has been questioned. Many political leaders know how to use coded language to ignite ugly passions but their more ignorant followers pick up their cues about attitudes but not the codes and this is the kind of thing that can result.

It did not help that this followed the awkward moment yesterday when for some reason a group of delegates started chanting “USA! USA!” when a Puerto Rican delegate was trying to speak at the podium. The chants may not have been directed at her but the optics were not good. These kinds of incidents cement the perception that the Republican party is anti-minority, which when added to the perceptions that it is also anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-poor does not leave it with much of a future.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    And it would normally be considered a scoop since no one else has access to all the facts that CNN had.

    Because by contemporary “journalism” standards, it wouldn’t be fair to report it unless a Democrat also threw peanuts at an African-American; we need both incidents so that the “journalists” can show that they are balanced.

  2. 2
    Pierce R. Butler

    Isaac, come back! You’re battering the wrong city!

  3. 3
    jaxkayaker

    Also, it’s possible CNN could have been denied access if they had reported on the incident.

  4. 4
    Tracey

    The Republicans have quit trying to hide their ugliness. Egged on by the media, who support them, and each other, they’ve ratcheded up the hatred and racist baloney to frightening proportions.

  5. 5
    busterggi

    Its not news because its no secret that the GOP is basically the old Southern KKK wing of the Democrats who defected fifty years ago.

  6. 6
    astro

    Good! What a great opportunity to take a principled stand. The shut off to access would be a compelling enough ongoing story in itself.

  7. 7
    stonyground

    This is amazing. In the UK if you say something that can even be perceived as racist by the terminally stupid, our mainstream media will be all over you like a rash. A teacher was once hauled over the coals for using the word niggardly which some witless and ignorant parent perceived as being racist. It was some time before someone capable of using a dictionary could be found to clear the teacher’s name.

  8. 8
    Art

    The Democratic party, attempting to advance the the nation along the road to equal rights even at their own expense, a move that advanced the cause twenty years or more, kicked out the Dixiecrats. The Democratic party has never fully recovered from that sacrifice made for the common good.

    The Republican party gained power by playing on racial fear and stroking that fear. This technique was applied to the religious right and since that day the GOP has ridden the twin horses of racial bigotry and religious fanaticism to power. They have been loyal constituencies because if it wasn’t for the GOP, and the veil of lies and excuses covering for and normalizing their radial views, they would have no voice in politics.

    But nobody is allowed to talk openly about these groups or how completely wrong they are in public. Like the crazy uncle that lives in the GOP’s basement their outrageous acts are excused, equivocated away, made into a joke, and the subject is quickly changed to something more pleasant and productive. Of course, late at night, behind carefully soundproofed doors the blood sport of feeding token welfare mothers, hippies and humanists to starving and enraged bigots and zealots is the entertainment of choice. The blood-lust and carnality run rampant. Staining both floor and ceiling.

    But come the morning the hired help will have scrubbed away all evidence and after brunch the men will be well washed and polished, the women coiffed and painted. If any mention at all is made of the night’s activities it will be only be made in hushed tones and whispers with names and specifics only referred to indirectly.

  9. 9
    N. Nescio

    Doesn’t the RNC get any credit for quickly reacting to the situation and kicking those two assholes out, then publicly denouncing their behavior as unacceptable?

  10. 10
    Art

    To the extent that Akin’s statements are an egregious exception to a profound respect for the rights of women to live free of violence, coercion and fear, and to control their own bodies the GOP indeed deserves some credit. To the extent Akin’s words are simply an expression of a widely and deeply held misogyny and desire to control women’s minds and bodies through force and intimidation, and the reaction and censure of Akin are just attempts to pull the curtain to cover what is an accepted point of view within the GOP they deserve no credit at all.

    If you want to figure out where these actions fall on that scalar it is helpful to look at the evidence. Consider the GOP platform. It is quite long-winded speaking of the right of the unborn and quite silent about the rights of women. Consider the many well funded groups within the GOP who focus on what they call “family values” and how so very many of those values fall hard on women while lavishing privilege upon men and fetuses.

    It doesn’t take any great effort to figure out where women, and their rights, fall withing the GOP cosmological hierarchy of value. Women are placed slightly above dirt. Their only value being what what benefit they have for their man, and their ability to have babies.

    Makes me think that the GOP disagreement with Akin is more about damage control and keeping up appearances than respecting women. Based on that I think the GOP deserves no credit for the way they handled it. They could have used the moment to correct their negative views of woman but that would alienate both the the Christopaths and the rednecks. They rode those horses to power and they aren’t going to give them up as long as they can continue to carry them.

  11. 11
    jaxkayaker

    Pretty unlikely that a business would lose money by taking that stand, especially since they can stay, make money, and always report it later, after the convention is over. Staying also allows them to potentially be there to witness any additional newsworthy events that might occur.

  12. 12
    N. Nescio

    You make some good points, but I’m not talking about Aiken.

    Two individuals attending the RNC engaged in bigoted conduct that was utterly unacceptable and inexcusable. As best as I can know, the individuals responsible were promptly ejected and an official statement was issued condemning their conduct. Isn’t that supposed to be the appropriate response to such an incident?

    All I’m saying is they deserve some credit. That is, a value greater than zero. As you have convincingly shown, it’s not much more than that.

  13. 13
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    OMG U GUISE, the RNC totes deserves a cookie for throwing a couple of blatant racists out of their racist convention!!

  14. 14
    Chiroptera

    All I’m saying is they deserve some credit.

    I guess you may have a point.

    Being conscious that some people will take great offense at these actions and call them out on it — even if they can’t quite understand why — is a step up from their usual emotional abilities.

  15. 15
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    I think someone brought up on another FtB thread that tea bags were now essentially the new Klan hood. They don’t even have to hide their faces anymore because half the population is so stupid and retrogressive enough to agree with them.

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