Friday, August 24, 2012

Late to the Party: The Mainstream News Media is Finally Discussing Mitt Romney's Use of Racism to Win Over White Voters

Obama's team, in turn, says Romney's welfare charges are dishonest. Numerous independent fact-checkers, including The Associated Press, have determined that Romney and his surrogates are distorting the facts...
But that criticism has done little to persuade Romney and his aides to abandon the welfare issue or even tweak its assertions. The White House says the waivers Obama approved for states last month would only allow them to drop the work requirement if they can accomplish the same goals using different methods, a move Obama aides said was done at the request of both Republican and Democratic governors. 
Romney's welfare push comes with risk for the presumptive GOP nominee. Focusing too heavily on welfare, which had barely registered as a campaign issue before Romney began pushing it, could turn off voters who want to hear the candidates offer specific prescriptions for job growth... 
It could open Romney up to criticism that he is injecting race into the campaign and seeking to boost support among white, working-class voters by charging that the nation's first black president is offering a free pass to recipients of a program stereotypically associated with poor African-Americans.
In my best NPR fundraising voice...

I would like to extend a very sincere "thank you" to the kind readers of WARN who offered up some funds for my trip to Chicon7. Several of you dug deep into your pockets and made a donation that put quite a smile on my voice. In this hard economy, I am touched that you could find the resources to indulge my ghetto nerd proclivities and make it possible for me to represent at the World Sci-Fi Conference for the WARN family. We are so close to our fundraising goal of 300 dollars. Monday is the deadline for me to confirm if I will attend Chicon7. I think we can reach this goal if we are able to add one dollar, two dollars, the price of a  Starbucks coffee or a value meal into the begging bowl.

We Are Respectable Negroes is often ahead of the curve on many issues related to American politics, race, and popular culture. I know we are doing something valuable here--and providing a useful service to the folks who have found our humble site. The following piece about how The Associated Press is finally picking up on Mitt Romney's obvious race-baiting is more evidence of that fact.
The streets are watching. We have been discussing these related matters here on WARN for several months: our truth-telling is gaining some traction (and attention).

The mainstream news media is (finally) edging closer to an open discussion of how Mitt Romney is using racism to win over white voters. However, The Associated Press (AP) and other media outlets are still playing a game of political frontage; the AP's hand is up the proverbial dress, but they are still afraid to close the deal.

As I have said previously, and will continue to state whenever the opportunity is appropriate, Mitt Romney is a racist. He traffics in white racial anxiety and bigotry in order to scare white voters into voting against Barack Obama, the country's first black president. Romney is also an unrepentant liar: his "Barack the Welfare King" campaign is part of a larger pattern of intentional distortions and propagandizing that would impress masters of the craft such as Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels.

For many reasons, the mainstream media are very reluctant to criticize Mitt Romney's choice to use white racial resentment for political gains. Primarily, the myth of the liberal media, a fiction which has been created by conservative operatives and opinion leaders, has caused a general retreat from the tenets of responsible journalism. The Fourth Estate has been forced back onto its heels by the Right's Orwellian newspeak and partisan bullying.

To suggest that Mitt Romney is a racist (or manipulates white racism for political purposes) would mean that a journalist or pundit is brave enough to dance on the third rail of American politics and culture. Sadly, most do not have such grit, skill, or character. The triumph of colorblind racism in the post Civil Rights era also means that the default assumption is one where racism does not exist, and it is just an opinion--despite the mass of readily available evidence to the contrary.

And in the most perverse and twisted examples of the realities of race in "post racial" America, white men, generally, and white conservatives, specifically, constitute one of the most protected classes of people in the United States on these matters.

Consequently, the bar is set so high for what qualifies as white racism that the person who is willing to discuss the realities of race in America is now judged by the white racial frame to be more of a nuisance and a problem than the actual racists themselves.

Despite the mainstream news media's reluctance to state the obvious, it is clear to even the most casual and fair-minded observer that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are political felons for their crimes against  racial and social justice in post civil rights era America. Collectively, they now own the baggage of Willie Horton, Reagan's imagery of welfare queens and "strapping young black bucks eating steaks on welfare," the "black hands white hands" ad, Birtherism, neo-Secession and the Confederacy, and stereotyping the country's first black president as a thieving, angry, lazy negro who just wants to give money to those other lazy blacks who live to suck off the government tit and the hardworking white people of America.

The leadership of the Republican Party confessed to these offenses in 2005 when Ken Mehlman, Chair of the RNC admitted that Republicans had for decades, been systematically using white racism and white racial anxiety to win elections under a plan that came to be known as the Southern Strategy.

In court, a felon is held to a different standard when matters of character, motive, and habits of behavior are discussed. They have demonstrated a propensity for certain acts, and the courts see them as having an a priori character defect which should be taken into account when rendering a judgment.

If we follow through on this logic, the smart money would assume that racism is the primary modus operandi for the Tea Party GOP and Mitt Romney until evidence is provided to the contrary.

The Associated Press and others in the mainstream news media are proceeding from the opposite assumption. In turn, this reservoir of good will gives Romney the latitude and freedom to engage in racial attacks on President Obama with near impunity.

As the day of the presidential election nears, the evidence will continue to mount that the politics of white racial resentment are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's primary tool for defeating Obama. The question then becomes, will the Fourth Estate have the courage to go all in, to speak truth to power about Mitt Romney's use of racial invective and bigotry as a strategy to win the White House in November?

Or will the racial and political felons in Mitt Romney's Tea Party GOP benefit from the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty...even when their hands are bloody, and the corpse's foot is hanging out of the car's trunk?


Shady_Grady said...

I don't think Romney would be a good President of the United States. But I also don't think that Obama has been a good President of the United States, especially when it comes to foreign policy and civil liberties.

I guess my question is, given that Romney or any Republican has no hope of getting many black votes, can we condemn him for trying to go where his votes are?

I.e there is not a day that goes by without the President trying to build on an advantage among women and seeking to appeal to their interests.

Is it possible for a Romney to appeal to white interests without being racist or do we want to say that given history, white interests are inherently a racist construction.

Anonymous said...

Here's Romney during recent speech in Michigan:

"I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised, where but the both of us were born," Romney said after introducing his wife, fellow Michigan native Ann. "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where we were born and raised."

- Buddy H.

Abstentus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abstentus said...

And I just now posted on my blog about Romney going birther, and Rush Limbaugh having an oragasm over it. I am saddened, but not at all surprised he went there. It was like Judgment Day; inevitable.

olderwoman said...

It is pretty bad when calling attention to racialized references is seen as somehow worse than making them, but it seems like the "birth certificate" quip managed to cross the line even for the mainstream [white] media. I read the stories for about 8 sources, and it was interesting to see how they played the story. They all gave the Obama campaign critique and the team-Romney response, but differed in the extent to which the articles implicitly tipped toward justifying the remark. All the ones I saw discussed the birthers and Romney's past quotations saying he believes Obama was born in the US; none mentioned the welfare ads.

Abstentus said...

I got in some discussion on a friend's FB wall about how the most discriminated "religious" group in the USA was the non religious. (Before I took it to my wall.)

Even after I pointed out the obvious biogtry of that, he all but owned up to it. Said he was a conservative, and was not willing to go that far (an atheist or agnostic POTUS,) for diversity. Prefers to see his POTUSes swearing on a bible. That kinda bigoted crap.

I bring that up because almost as acceptable in America as bigotry against non believers, is giving a pass to this sort of low intensity, dog whistle racism. I just saw the interview between Willard and CBS's Scott Pelly. Pelly pushed, but not hard enough. He let Willard get away with the 'I was just trying to be funny,' line. Would have been nice for Pelly to point out he is running for POTUS, not Toastmater General. Make jokes about yourself that don't deal with others, and racist dog whistles, perhaps?

Now I saw vid on line of a panel on MSNBC going off on Mitt and labeling that racist crap as such. That was some must watch TV. But I don't expect the Regular Broadcast Networks to call that crap out in plain English.

Shame that. I say.