Patterico on Harry Reid


Patterico has some interesting posts on Reid’s racist quotes. First, how the LA times has spun the story compared to the Trent Lott affair.

By portraying Republicans as attackers, the editors take the focus off Reid’s remarks, and allow him to play the victim. What’s more, the paper emphasizes that Obama has accepted Reid’s apology:

Although Reid apologized to Obama on Saturday for his “poor choice of words” — and the president accepted because “I know what’s in his heart” — his remarks dominated the Sunday talk shows, where Republicans called for the senator’s head.

Note again the stark image of Republicans as violent attackers.

Well, in 2002, after Trent Lott praised former segregationist Strom Thurmond, he too apologized. But that didn’t keep the editors of the L.A. Times from spinning that story in a very different way.

Lott was never portrayed as the victim of Democrat attacks. Editors didn’t describe Democrats as “opening fire” or “pummeling” Lott. They didn’t describe Tom Daschle as “leading the charge.” Nobody said Democrats were “calling for Lott’s head” or that they had Lott “in their cross hairs.”

Instead, the editors emphasized the bipartisan nature of the criticism of Lott. (To be fair, the criticism of Lott was more bipartisan, because Democrats circle the wagons in these situations and Republicans don’t.) In an effort to portray Lott’s remarks as a major gaffe, editors portrayed the controversy as a disembodied, ghostly entity that grew daily.

Most media would be more subtle I’m guessing, but the same theme usually comes through – “those evil republicans“. The irony is that it’s the Democrats that are evil in this instance (by supporting racism) but the media doesn’t (want to) see past that.

The other story is that Reid has made these statements before, and no one batted an eyelid. The target however, was a consservative.

Crawford today recalled Thomas’s response:

In an interview in 2008, I asked Thomas why people continue to embrace this grossly false storyline — why they sell him short, understate his intellect — and why they persistently believe he merely has “followed” Scalia, when in fact there’s absolutely no basis for that.

“Give me a break. I mean this is part of the — you know, the black guy is supposed to follow somebody white. We know that,” Thomas told me. “Come on, we know the story behind that. I mean there’s no need to sort of tip-toe around that … The story line was that, well I couldn’t be doing this myself, he must be doing it for me because I’m black. That’s obvious. Again, I go back to my point. Who were the real bigots? It’s obvious.

But why no uproar, I asked. Why no outcry?

“People feel free to say about me what they think about lots of blacks,” Thomas told me. “Because of the heterodox views I’ve taken, they have license to say it about me with impunity.”

Or put another way: In Harry Reid’s worldview, Clarence Thomas isn’t the “right” kind of black guy.

It seems you can insult a black conservative, and a democrat can insult a black man, but anything else is evil racism.

Got that?

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