Bill O’Reilly spent three segments last night whitesplaining to his viewers all the ways that President Obama and Eric Holder are conning them into thinking race still matters in this country. As I previously posted, O’Reilly teamed up with Brit Hume to “reveal” how being black is really a plus for them. In the same show, O’Reilly also got together with Dr. Ben Carson and Bernard Goldberg to “reveal” how Obama and Holder are “using their skin color” to manipulate black voters into voting Democratic.
I guess we should be glad that O’Reilly called on at least one African American to consult about Democrats and race, even if he's a Republican. Still, O'Reilly seemed to know best on the subject. As Carson argued that African Americans are not so easily duped by racial manipulations, O’Reilly suggested otherwise:
O’REILLY: What’s happening, Doctor, is this: …President Obama’s policies have largely failed… You see trouble almost everywhere… so in order to obscure that it becomes personal. So Holder and the president are making it personal. So is the Democratic party. There’s a war on women, you women are getting hosed. Hispanics, you’re getting hosed, too. And you black people, ‘They just don’t like us because we’re black.’ Now I’m saying, this could be effective, this could work.
Carson agreed that that’s the Democratic ploy. He argued, “I think the solution to it is for the people to become much more sophisticated in their analysis and not simply accept what the manipulators are trying to pull over. …There are a lot of minorities who see through this whole thing.”
But O’Reilly dismissed that as “pretty wishful thinking” and “anecdotal.” He noted that 85% of African Americans think President Obama’s doing a good job, compared to 40% overall. Therefore, O’Reilly concluded, “It just seems to me… (Democrats) know where the votes are for them and they’re just gonna do whatever they have to do to motivate these people to come out in November.”
Apparently, O’Reilly thinks that African Americans are so foolishly (or more sinisterly) gaga over race – all Obama has to do is utter a few racial buzz words and they’ll all flock to the polls like lemmings.
Before the segment ended, Carson and O’Reilly discussed whether or not Holder truly believes he has been treated differently because he’s black. Of course nobody mentioned Megyn Kelly’s phony-baloney racial accusations that Holder was going to deliver “scary black men” to intimidate white voters across America a few years ago.
Instead, Carson got this little dig in about Holder’s racial resentment, disguised as professional analysis because he majored in psychology as an undergraduate: “That’s what (Holder’s) looking for, that’s what he expects.”
Later, Goldberg helped discern whether, as Fox News “asked”: President Obama stoking resentment? I think we can guess the conclusion the two old white guys arrived at.
“The one thing this president does well is turn Americans against each other,” Goldberg announced. Just pay no attention to the steady diet of hate mongering and divisiveness on Fox News 24/7. Especially as you have people like Sean Hannity and a slew of other Fox Newsies deliberately fanning the flames of an armed rebellion against the rule of law and the federal employees tasked with enforcing it in Nevada.
“What’s the Republican crime? They want voter ID laws!” Goldberg said. As he either ignorantly failed or willfully neglected to mention how voter ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise minorities for a “problem” that doesn’t exist. “No spin” O’Reilly didn’t mention it, either. Maybe because he was too busy admiring the rest of Goldberg’s racial finger-pointing at Obama:
GOLDBERG: It is never, ever a good idea for the president of the United States to stoke resentment. Never. But this president told us that there would be no more black America and a white America, a red state America and a blue state America. There would be one, united states of America. That president, that Barack Obama doesn’t exist any more and, Bill, forgive the cynicism, but I don’t think he ever really existed.
So let’s get this straight. Republicans zealously work to enact laws that would disproportionately make it harder for minorities to vote - for the sake of “solving” a non-existent problem of voter fraud – and that’s just a good-faith policy difference. But when Democrats object to the racial impact, they’re playing the race card, being divisive and cynically rabble rousing to cover up for a failed Obama presidency.
I'll give O'Reilly credit for not stoking the Nevada range war last night. But I'm not sure that stoking a race war is all that much better.
Let’s be very, very clear as to what has been going on over the past 7 years, and it does go back that far when it comes to this President. From the moment that Barack Obama announced his candidacy, the right wing went on the attack. He was met with every cowpie possible, all the way through his campaign and into the presidency. During the campaign, you had Rush Limbaugh trying to spread havoc by telling his listeners to register as Democrats to foul up both Obama and Hillary Clinton’s candidacies. You had Hillary Clinton being nasty enough to set up the nonsensical birth certificate narrative. You had right wing pundit after right wing pundit all predicting that Barack Obama had NO CHANCE to win the presidency, since white voters would never pull the lever for him no matter what they said to pollsters. You had all the right wing media confidently predicting a John McCain victory, even in the face of what was obviously massive support for Obama.
Then President Obama actually gets elected. And before he can even take office, Rush Limbaugh throws down the right wing gauntlet and screams “I hope he fails!” to rile up the right wing base. GOP leaders and pundits gather around the time of Obama’s first inauguration to map out a strategy of complete obstinance, declaring that no GOP congresspeople will be voting for anything Obama proposes. True to their word, the GOP in Congress refuse to cooperate, so the Democrats are forced to scramble, even with a majority, to get anything done. President Obama repeatedly tries to offer compromises, including sacrificing what should have been the centerpiece of his attempt at health care reform, the public option. And each time he offers a compromise, the GOP responds that it’s not good enough, and they want MORE. Each time he gets anything through the congress, the right wing publicly makes dark statements about how he’ll rue the day he took this or that action.
I wouldn’t say that all of the opposition from the GOP is racially driven. Some of it certainly is. Some of it is just the absolute position of Limbaugh fans that only the farthest right wing candidates are worth supporting. Some of it is a personal resentment toward Obama and his cabinet for having the temerity to be elected and then try to actually get anything done. But when you have groups in the country openly stating that the President doesn’t have a right to hold his office because they believe his birth certificate is forged, and when many of those groups repeatedly try to spread canards about his religion or his personal life, all based on his ethnicity, it all starts to get a bad taste about it. When you have tea party groups openly making nasty and racist statements about the President, it’s hard to avoid the message they’re sending: “Why is this black man President when we wanted our white candidate?”
Since the GOP was able to ride a wave of anger and frankly hatred in 2010 to a majority in the House, they’ve increased the level of their intransigence. Only now, since they have committee chairmanships, they can also assemble bizarre inquiries such as those led by Darrell Issa, a man who has spent his career chasing any ambulance he could in the public square.
It’s clear that the GOP leadership and the pundits had a specific agenda with this Presidency – to try to smear it as much as possible with allegations of corruption and scandal. Hence we get nonsense about how Holder’s DOJ isn’t pursuing a case against some Black Panther idiots, ignoring the fact that the case wasn’t being followed by the Bush DOJ either. We get a conspiracy theory about the ATF “Fast & Furious” program, an idea that had been enthusiastically followed by agents until the Obama appointees took over, at which point some of the agents suddenly had a problem with EVERYTHING. (There’s a great story in Fortune magazine from two years ago that shows the whole F&F problem was actually a personnel dispute inside ATF, not a whistleblower situation at all.) We get conspiracy theories about IRS clerks in Ohio who divided up their piles of tax exemption requests in a manner that the right wing thinks was mean. (And just yesterday, the right wing tries to imply that they have incriminating emails, when those emails actually just show the IRS and the DOJ acting normally.) We get the spectacle of the right wing jumping on a left wing conspiracy theory about the NSA. And with each of these wild goose chases, we get another episode of the “Darrell Issa, Investigative Congressman” soap opera, in which Issa throws tantrums in public about how nobody is cooperating with his small document requests – requests that are actually massive fishing expeditions into what could be millions of pages of documents, many of which full of confidential and personal information that Issa has no business seeing.
The real reason behind the “scandal of the week” approach they’ve been taking is that the right wing is still angry about the attention given to the scandals that engulfed the Nixon, Reagan and W. Bush presidencies. They’re still angry that they got busted with Nixon for the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover-up. They’re still angry that Reagan’s people got busted for Iran/Contra among many other scandals including graft and influence peddling. As I understand it, Reagan’s administration actually topped the record for indictments and convictions of its membership previously held by Warren G. Harding’s venal operation from nearly 100 years ago. More than the first two insults, they’re really angry that the Bush people got nailed for their behavior. They’re angry that Alberto Gonzalez was forced to resign in disgrace after his improper behavior. They’re angry that Scooter Libby got busted and took a fall for both Rove and Cheney when the Bush people took revenge on a wayward diplomat who’d contradicted them in public. So their response is to try to smear the current administration with all of these faux “scandals”. Their hope is to establish a historical narrative where even if the W. Bush presidency is known for its failures and scandals, the right wing can then immediately bring up all these ready-to-order microwaveable treats about the Obama presidency.
What you’re seeing is the creation of a false narrative – specifically designed to create an alternate version of current history. Within the right wing echo chamber, you’ll hear talking points coming up on right wing radio or at Fox News, and within a day those talking points will spread across the right wing punditocracy. Repeat that three or four times, and you’ve got a consistent story that’s been told in multiple outlets, even if it has almost nothing to do with facts or truth. Keep repeating that story a year or two later when most people don’t remember the details, and you can actually have a chapter in a history book where the reader doesn’t realize that the pages are not accurate. To my mind, this is the real purpose of Fox News in the first place. As I’ve said before, the existence of websites like this one is crucial to defeating this false narrative before it can take hold anywhere. So that when these guys put out a completely biased account of, say, how the Obama Administration dealt with a bust of Churchill, someone can immediately challenge them with the actual facts of what happened.
Given the level of personal animosity and anger the right wing has shown toward President Obama and his entire administration, it’s no surprise that they were doubly infuriated by his re-election, another event Fox News went out of its way to insist would not happen. They actually spent no less than TWO YEARS doing this. We saw Bill O’Reilly confidently predict that Obama had very little chance of being re-elected given the economic numbers. We saw Sean Hannity start every broadcast for over a year with the snarl of “We are On the Road to 2012!” as a battle cry to try to get the GOP base excited about their candidates. We saw multiple on-air pundits confidently predict that Obama would lose to Mitt Romney in a landslide. Even some of the outlets that have prided themselves on accuracy, like Gallup, fell into this trap. Scott Rasmussen’s GOP-leaning polling group even took the position of leaving their thumb on the scale all the way up to Election Day. (In years prior, he would always take the thumb off at the last minute, thus establishing his “record of accuracy”, provided you only counted the final couple of days before the election in question.) As has been recounted, this was all due to the right wing simply not being able to conceive of a world in which Barack Obama could be re-elected. All the way to the last second, even Mitt Romney was convinced he was going to win, even in the face of polling data that consistently showed that not to be the case.
We shouldn’t forget that the right wing also employed Doug Schoen and Pat Cadell at Fox News to publicly muse about the Dems not even running Obama for re-election. We shouldn’t forget that the pundits on Fox News would regularly do things like refer to Obama as “President Crybaby” or as “a pathetic little man”. We shouldn’t forget that the Fox News pundits all predicted Eric Holder would either be forced to resign or be impeached on multiple occasions. It doesn’t seem to have worked – he’s still there. I would argue that his continued presence is a reaction to the constant drumbeat of attacks from the GOP. Had they not repeatedly challenged him, including a ridiculous contempt vote over one of Issa’s tantrums, I think it likely that he would have stepped down for Obama’s second term. But with them constantly calling for his head over every nonsensical thing they could find? There’s no way he was going to give them that satisfaction.
So yes, there is a racial component to what the right wing has been doing here regarding Obama and Holder, and there is also a personal and political component. It’s all intertwined. But Eric Holder is correct to call them out on their behavior. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh can cry foul all they want, but if they acted in a less obstinant manner, they wouldn’t be getting called out in the first place. And they don’t get to rewrite history to whitewash their own actions.
At this point, he’s just the watered down version. but he’s saturating fast.
People on Fox should just stop talking about race, because they embarrass themselves every time.