Category Archives: African American

Does Murdoch Think Obama is a Racist- Or What?

The Grand Poobah of the Fox empire got himself in some hot water when he said he basically agreed with Glenn Beck’s characterization of President Obama. You may remember Beck said the president was racist, and “had a deep seated hatred of white people”. That was after Obama said police had acted stupidly in arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch was interviewed on (what else?) Sky News Australia. He said the president “made a very racist comment”. And what comment would that be, Mr. Murdoch? Like Beck, he must have been talking about the word stupidly, which last I checked doesn’t have racist connotations. No matter. The irony of a man commenting on race who owns the New York Post and pays the salaries of Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and an anchor who once called a fist bump terrorist shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

But wait! Faster than you can say Media Matters, one of Murdoch’s minions rushed to clarify his remarks. He doesn’t agree that President Obama is a racist, or so spokesman Gary Ginsberg told Politico. He wouldn’t comment any further on the interview, however. The White House wouldn’t comment at all. Barack Obama understands too well what a loaded time bomb race is now that he’s president. After the administration’s criticism of the Fox News Channel, is it a reach to think Murdoch was hoping Obama would go for the bait?

Which brings us back to Murdoch’s empire. I’ve always been amazed at the number of people of color who read the New York Post. It must be masochism, or habit, or something I’ll never be able to figure out. And the Fox News Channel? More of the same. Which brings up the question when will folks stop participating in their own marginalization? Ask yourself this question. According to those in Murdoch World, has Barack Obama done anything right since he’s become president?

And still the Post, which is losing money like just about every other paper in America, survives. It survives even after a woman who was fired sues the paper, saying one of her bosses referred to her as “Cha Cha Number One.”  Maybe the empire stays alive because people who ought to know better don’t take it seriously. How many times have you heard somebody say “that’s just the Post, or that’s just the Fox News Channel?”

No matter how many denials Rupert Murdoch may issue about his own views, too many of his media holdings have questionable histories when it comes to race. Remember the infamous “chimp cartoon?” Murdoch apologized for that, but no one, save Sandra Guzman, the woman mentioned earlier, got fired. She had the guts to complain about the cartoon.

All of which means, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether Rupert Murdoch says he doesn’t think Barack Obama is a racist. If it walks like a duck…..

Or am I wrong? You tell me.

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Will GOP Jihad Dethrone Charles Rangel?

Don’t bet on it. The Republicans have a two pronged approach to dealing with the Manhattan Congressman’s admitted bookkeeping lapses. On the one hand, they would revel in the chaos that would follow if they were successful in forcing him out as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. At the same time, they’d like nothing better than to use Congressman Rangel as a symbol or litmus test in next year’s congressional elections.

Neither will work. They’ve already tried to pass a resolution calling on Rangel to step down.

It failed miserably. Now, one of the congressmen leading the GOP jihad, John Carter of Texas, has had to admit to failing to disclose nearly $300,000 in profits from oil stock sales in 2006-2007.

Congressman John Carter, Texas
Congressman John Carter, Texas

While some might look at this as the height of hypocrisy, Carter and his friends in the House say they’ll press on trying to push Charles Rangel out as chair of Ways and Means.

As is typical when the pot calls the kettle black, Republicans try to differentiate between Carter’s failure to disclose and Rangel’s.

It doesn’t hold water, and they know it. But they press on, because in  the end they have little else to run on next year but the twin fears of Charlie Rangel and Barack Obama. Now be honest. Other than the nonsensical effort to insert health insurance co-ops in place of a public option, what new ideas have you heard from Congressional Republicans?

The answer is few if any. In fact, Charles Rangel has introduced and helped pass more legislation important to the American people than all his detractors combined.

Charles-Rangel

He has admitted to sloppy record keeping. It was Charles Rangel who asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate him, and it was Charles Rangel’s forensic accountants that found the tax and disclosure discrepancies in the first place.

So let John Boehner and John Carter do their worst. Charles Rangel has a distinguished history of service to his country (as a US marine) and his congressional district (take a walk through Harlem if you don’t believe me).

demchairs

The Ways and Means Committee is one of the most powerful in Congress. That’s why they’re trying to take Charlie Rangel down.

Expressions of support, now a whisper, will turn into a deafening roar. Republicans will have to come up with more than just nit-picking to explain their own ethical problems. And in the end, no matter what you think of the dean of New York’s congressional delegation, he’ll prevail.

That’s what I think. How about you?

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Do Racists Have a Right to Speak?

Thursday night I did a segment on BBC Five Live centered around a guy named Nick Griffin. For those Americans who don’t know who he is, Griffin is the head of the British National Party.

He’s also a member of the European Parliament.

To put it bluntly, Griffin and his party espouse a crude form of nationalism that has been called racist, Anti-Semitic, Islamaphiobic, homophiobic (gee, have I left anything out?), you get the picture.

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin

Earlier Thursday, Griffin appeared on the BBC program “Question Time”. His appearance sparked angry protests, with about 25 people breaking through barricades at the BBC’s London TV studios. Suffice to say Griffin was taken to task for his views, so much so that he’s complaining about the program, and demanding to come back on in a different format. Ironically, the show drew four times as many viewers as normally watch it, the Jon and Kate effect, if you will.

So what was I asked to talk about on a BBC radio show? The links between Nick Griffin and our own home grown racist-Anti Semite, David Duke. They are linked, through an appearance they made together back in 2000.

David Duke chilling out with Nick Griffin
David Duke chilling out with Nick Griffin

They’re also linked by a shared desire to achieve their racist ends through the acquisition of political power. Duke, you may remember, is the former member of the KKK who went on to become a member of the Louisiana state legislature. He also made unsuccessful runs for President, the House, and Senate. Duke understood. as does Griffin, that wearing Klan robes and reading Mein Kampf  won’t win the kind of support necessary to create the lily white world they want.

So they use the tools at their disposal. They run for political office, and demand fairness and accuracy in reporting their philosophy from a media both claim is dominated by Jews and other liberals. The question becomes to what extent do they have the same right to speak as anyone else? Are protesters acting properly when they demand that Nick Griffin not be allowed on the BBC? Does giving the Griffins and David Dukes a platform in the mainstream actually lend credibility to their organizations and views?

My older brother Clayton (who passed away a year ago tomorrow- RIP) once told me you can’t be halfway for the First Amendment. His position was that the cure for racist speech was better speech to drown it out. I have a hard time disagreeing with this line of thinking. Once you start saying people have no right to express their thoughts, no matter how obnoxious, where do you draw the line?

You tell me. Should racists like David Duke and Nick Griffin be given mainstream airtime?

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