When White Liberals Attack – Gene Lyons On Race

Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.

At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.

If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.

My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.

On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.

One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.

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Democrat Wins In West Virginia After The GOP Makes It All About Obama

West Virginia is a very conservative state and in the special election for governor that happened yesterday, the Republicans spent nearly twice as much as the Democrats on the race. The Republicans went out of their way to tie President Obama to the Democratic candidate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and how did that work out for them?

Governor Tomblin won the election and thwarted the media’s plans to continue their anti-Obama narrative — the one that makes the President responsible for every election in every state. Individual candidates don’t matter anymore to the media, everything is a referendum on President Obama. I’m waiting for the media to blame the drain commissioner election in my township on President Obama, oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped them off.

There never seems to be any referendum on the Republican controlled House that hasn’t created one fucking job yet, hasn’t even tried to create one job and in fact, has been trying to do the opposite by playing games with the debt ceiling and anything else that is game-worthy.

It isn’t just speculation that the media was dying to continue their blame-it-all-on-Obama strategy, Mark Halperin came right out and admitted it.

Given the Republican strategy, some in the media seemed eager to seize on the race as an example of a president facing a political crisis. Mark Halperin conceded overnight, “If the GOPer had won, the national narrative would have been that Obama was the issue.” Coming on the heels of two Democratic defeats in congressional special elections, the “Dems in disarray” coverage was going to be intense.

Given that the Democrat won, even with the Republican’s outspending and trying to make it a referendum on President Obama, I’m sure the media will start a new narrative about how the President’s push for the jobs bill and his campaigning across the country is the reason for the Democratic win. I’m just sure of it.

Anyone who thinks that the cable media and much of the print media is liberal needs to have their head examined. The Democrats and the President have been enduring the right wing lies that ooze from Fox News on the half hour for years. But what is even more troubling is the anti-Obama slant that is coming from the supposed left leaning MSNBC and the new TeaNN (CNN), which has hitched it’s wagon to the Tea Party crowd.

I’ll leave you with an example that was probably missed by most people. This morning on CNN, they were talking about the Hank Williams Jr. story and his “apology” about his remarks on Fox News comparing President Obama and Speaker Boehner to Hitler and Netanyahu and then showing his great intellect by calling Obama and Biden the Three Stooges. Christine Romans, during some cross talk, said something like, maybe Hank should apologize to the Three Stooges. W.T.F.? No bias there, right?

Mark Halperin’s History Of Misguided Rhetoric!

Being the political junkie that I am, I have had the opportunity to see Mark Halperin offer his opinion and “political analysis” countless times. He certainly isn’t always wrong, in my opinion, but a lot of the time when I hear his take on things, I end up scratching my head and thinking, whaaa? Many times I’ll even do the *face palm* or the *head desk*. As far as his bias to the right, it has been obvious to me for years. After what happened on Thursday with Mr. Halperin, I decided to do a little research and was reminded of some previous “gaffes”, shall we say. There is a clear pattern with Halperin.

When President Obama was filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Mark Halperin actually went with this title for a story, which can’t be found now…

There is just so much wrong with that. First, of all the angles to take on the story of picking our next Supreme Court justice, his is the perceived “reverse discrimination” (a racists dream phrase) against poor white men. Because over the years, you know, white men have had such a hard time getting on the Supreme Court. I’m sure he thinks it is just innocent “pointing out the obvious”, but you know damn well that the audience for that statement was all the good ole boys who pit themselves against minorities as if everything is zero-sum. It is a not-so-subtle dog whistle to all the racists and classists in our country. It is a blatant appeal to the Fox News viewers, which have large numbers. There is more on the reason for that later on in this post.

Here is an example of Mark Halperin’s analyst skills and his unique perspective on things, to put it way too politely. This is Mark Halperin’s reaction to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.

What is funny is that if you look at polls of people who watched the speech, it becomes apparent that Mark Halperin sees things differently than ordinary folks. From CBS New’s Political Hotsheet…

Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved…


Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.


The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday’s State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.

Did you notice how he called him “this troubled president” as if that is the conventional wisdom of the day. It certainly was the wisdom that Halperin and other skewed journalists were trying to push, thank goodness Media Matters for America is around to sort out the truth for us.

Here is another list of the accomplishment of President Obama through November of 2009, not even a year into his presidency. Does that look like “a troubled president” to you?

I saw this next one live, back when I used to torture myself by watching Morning Joe. It was after the President invited Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, to a speech where the President laid out his budget and took on the draconian, now much abandoned Paul Ryan plan. After listening to Paul Ryan and other Republicans touting his plan, using everything in their arsenal to twist and spin the plan as bold, the President laid waste to it. Apparently Mark Halperin took it personally and proceeded to defend those poor Republicans who were called out on their assault on the poor and seniors. First, let’s take a look at what the President said that upset Halperin and Scarborough, from The Media Research Center…

BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill . . .  That’s not a vision of the America I know.

Here is what Halperin and Scarborough said on Morning Joe in response to that passage from the President’s speech…

MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.

HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that’s rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.

SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it’s not even the words, it’s not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants.  I’m just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan’s been fighting his entire life for this?

HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.

Now, maybe these two boneheads were sleeping during the 8 years of President (with us or against us) Bush, but I doubt it. They both clearly spend most of their time defending the Republican brand and trying to convince people of liberal media bias and false equivalencies. In this post, warning, it’s a Huffington Post article, he blames President Obama for Republican opposition to the stimulus. Amazing.

Mark Halperin believes that there is a liberal bias in the media and is doing his part to swing the pendulum back to the right. It is just one more example of how absurd his thinking is. That pendulum swung to the right immediately after the horrible events of 9/11 and it’s been stuck there ever since. The Bush cabal did a masterful job of using a national tragedy to cow the media into doing it’s bidding. Wrapping everything they did in patriotism and daring the press to go against them. I remember it clearly, but apparently Mark Halperin was sleeping through all that.

Does anyone else see a pattern – President Obama stands up to Republicans and the media narrative and Mark Halperin is offended and jumps to the defense of those poor, poor Republican’s who are so cordial and nice in their rhetoric. There are many more examples of Halperin’s misguided rhetoric, but who has the time to go through all of it. I just wonder if Time magazine is really willing to offend so many people who support President Obama by continuing to employ this man who has proven his bias and terrible analyst skills Time and Time again.

Short Rant: Critics Edition


I’m so fucking sick of seeing the media use the “critics on the _____ say this” as a basis for a segment on a show or stupid blog post/column. In our over saturated media universe, you can’t throw a rock without hitting one of these stories. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Every issue there is can be framed with the “critics say” structure and the “two sides to every story” cop-out. Finding a critic isn’t hard, especially when you have professional critics on speed dial at the cable networks. Since when did every issue have a valid argument on each side, some things are just as they are. When are journalists going to attempt to get at the truth and operate in the real world, instead of some projection of public opinion polls and conventional wisdom? I saw just this morning a poll about public opinions on the constitution, should it be interpreted strictly or not and other similar questions. Remember, the people answering these polls can’t even name our vice president or tell you what year the constitution was adopted, but you want to ask them how it should be implemented. What The Fuck. I don’t give a flying fuck what the ignorant asshole driving the monster truck and flying a confederate flag thinks about the constitution. I don’t even want that asshole thinking about it, to be honest.

A free press is one institution that was seen as important enough to be included in the constitution. I don’t think our founding fathers foresaw a “free” press being owned by huge mega corporations with the power of their money, ownership of the airwaves and even the power to effect economies. The “free” press is no more, with the exception of us non-paid bloggers and a few real journalists that still exist. Beyond that, turn on any one of the 3 major cable networks and watch the absolute slant towards anti-government and pro-business. And now with the “Citizen’s United” decision by the Supreme Court, they have even more direct control over our politicians. They now can destroy any candidate they want and smile while they’re doing it. It may be the reason why Republicans think they can get away with all the crap they are doing…because they can. Our cable media is completely fucked.

Palin, Trump And The Media’s “Balloon Boy Syndrome”

I started writing this post about a week ago, having no idea that the two subjects of the post, dumb and dumber, would meet up and chow on some pizza. If you added up their IQ’s, you still wouldn’t reach 100. I imagine there was a lot of grunting and pointing going on at this meeting of the stupids.

Cable news and even broadcast news have become vehicles for con artists, egomaniacs and narcissists to make lots of money. There are way too many examples of this in the last few years, but I will just pick a few to focus on. The most recent and blatant example is Donald Trump. He used the guise of “possibly” running for president to promote his NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice”. It was so over the top and obvious, that some in the media even said they knew he was just trying to get publicity and then they would “roll tape” or say “we’ll talk to the Donald right after the break.” So even after admitting that they were being used, they just kept doing it. There were a few days on MSNBC where he was camped out in their studio and they put him on every half hour to spew his bullshit, mostly unchallenged. And he always dropped in several mentions of his TV show, without fail. I watched as MSNBC anchors just sat there speechless as he vomited out his racist, elitist bullshit and in my opinion, did great harm to our society. They helped to perpetuate the underlying racism behind his birth certificate claims and towards the end of his media blitz, the President’s educational accomplishments. That all came to a halt with the complete shellacking of Donald Trump at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. And then the next day, the killing of Osama bin Laden.

I called for a boycott of NBC until they fire him. I am still not watching that network until his ass is gone. It doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon, so NBC can count on one less viewer and one less consumer buying their advertisers products. I will not watch that network until he is off the air, period. I have also switched over to CNN as my daytime news network. Fuck MSNBC during the day, they simply take the latest meme from the “Morning Meme Generator with Joe” and repeat it on the half hour and then bring on Jane Hamsher or some other firebagger to beat up on the President and ignore his latest accomplishments. They usually have a Republican there to beat up on the president too, their idea of being bi-partisan. I do still watch Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and sometimes Ed Schultz. What else is there for a liberal to watch these days, until I get my cable network off the ground. (Only half joking)

The other example of the cable networks being willing vehicles for con artists is Sarah Palin. She has a documentary coming out and is on a bus tour. She has a fire in her belly, you know. I take Prilosec for mine. But once again, she is teasing the media into thinking she is running for president, when almost everyone says they know she will not. But that isn’t any reason to not pretend like she is and give her all the oxygen in the room. Who gives a shit about Joplin MO, or the radiation in Japan that has dropped off the radar, or the other communities torn apart by tornadoes or flooding. Instead, they are pimping for Sarah Palin and putting money directly into her greedy little, crib-noted hands. They are completely unabashed in giving her all the time she wants. And I’m not just talking about Fox News, this is all the cable networks, broadcast networks and the freakin internet too. I personally have grown tired of laughing at her half-witted sayings and screeching voice.

Mark my words, the next few weeks will be the Sarah Palin chronicles on cable news, they will have well paid reporters following her around, clinging to every word and tweet she spews, speculating about her run for president, blah, blah, fucking blah. And there is no way in hell she is running for president, that’s way too much work. Shit, she couldn’t handle being the governor of Alaska and cashed in while the getting was good.

I’ve been calling this phenomenon the “Balloon Boy Syndrome”, in honor of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the reality show folks who missed the limelight of being reality stars and had to jump up and down to get people to pay attention to them. This syndrome is very contagious, as soon as one network goes with a story, the others follow right along. Long gone are the days of checking sources or confirming stories, that’s for wimps. Run with it, what the hell, they can always spend 20 seconds saying they were wrong, after having beat the dead horse into the ground or followed the empty balloon half way across the country. They wait for the next ding and head off like salivating dogs to the next media created 15 minute fame whore.

The effect of the “Balloon Boy Syndrome” is that it just encourages others to do the same. At one point, I referred to the Republican primary as simply auditions for Fox News. Just today, I saw that Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are both toying with the idea of throwing their hats in the ring. Who can blame them, all they have to do is say a few crazy things, watch the media descend upon them, they get built up, form a PAC, raise a bunch of money, write a book and collect the loot. And these cable outlets and news organizations just play right along with it, no shame, no apologies and no honor obviously. Is it any wonder the media ranks below child molesters in polls. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but who’s going to check on it?)

How Stupid Is Donald Trump? The Boycott Of NBC Continues!

Based on the responses I’ve received after calling for a Boycott of NBC, I know that I’m not the only person incensed by the “carnival barker” Donald Trump. And I really mean no disrespect to carnival workers, they aren’t all like the stereotype that we are used to seeing. I’m sure the President meant no disrespect either and chose those words in lieu of a few choice words he would have rather used. If only I could be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office. :)

I have really been trying not to watch any more Donald Trump packages on the cable news networks, but I can’t help but read and hear some of it. The more I hear from him, the more I think he is really fucking stupid as well as racist, and I posit that you have to be really fucking stupid to be a racist, anyway. As he talks about how “very, very successful” he is and how he has built “a great company”, he doesn’t seem to realize that there are millions of people in this country who will never visit a single hotel or property of his. who will never watch a TV show with his arrogant, elitist, racist ass on it and as a matter of fact, there is a growing group of people who are consciously boycotting his sponsors and NBC, the network that has given him a platform to spew his vile, hateful, white elitist bullshit. MSNBC, a sister station, has been just as bad, with the exception of the evening opinion shows. I’ve had a feeling since Keith Olbermann left, that the writing is on the wall for the rest of the liberal evening lineup. I hope I’m wrong, because moving into election season, we need some sanity to level out the craziness that I’m sure is going to be even more over the top in the next election.

So, if “The Donald” thinks that alienating, offending and hurting millions of people across this country is a good business move, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell his dumb ass. And what he has done HAS hurt a lot of people across this country. He has brought back an era of hate that many of us have long hoped was dead. He’s given racists comfort by his subtle and not so subtle racist appeals to the “devils of our worst nature”…to twist around the powerful words of the second greatest president, Abraham Lincoln…

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Goldie Taylor’s incredible words the other day are just one example of the pain he has wrought on our country. Baratunde Thurston touched on similar themes and showed us why this sideshow Donald Trump should be relegated to the trash heap of history – the stinky, nasty pile of rotting food and waste where the vultures of history can pick at his rotting memory.

Abe, I hope you are right.

Updated again: Petition http://www.change.org/petitions/dump-trump-tell-nbc-to-fire-donald-trump-for-lies-against-obama

Updated sponsor list from NamelessGenXer


The Breitbart and Ratigan Lovefest (Updated) – Racists Loving On Each Other!

Bob Cesca takes on Dylan Ratigan’s lovefest with Andrew Breitbart, the guy who brought us the Acorn scam, the Shirley Sherrod scam and all sorts of other racist crap over the years. Here’s part of Bob’s take on Breitbarts appearance on Ratigan’s show the other day….

Dylan Ratigan gave Andrew Breitbart ten full minutes of MSNBC airtime the other day to promote his book, and predictably failed to corner Breitbart on any of his egregious lies and self-admitted scams.

After introducing Breitbart as a “controversial blogger,” Ratigan described the Big Government entrepreneur as a “sharpshooter who’s good,” a “smart man,” and “an incredibly passionate and effective man.”

This after Ratigan called Swift Boat financier T. Boone Pickens a “true patriot” a couple of weeks ago.

So, naturally, Twitter erupted with criticism of Ratigan’s pathetic Breitbart infomercial. My remarks are here. And here’s a pointed back-and-forth between Ratigan and David Shuster. Meanwhile, Media Matters compiled a series of questions for Breitbart that Ratigan should have asked.

Update: On my commute to my day job today, I was listening to the Bob and Elvis Show podcast and they were talking about this subject. As they were talking, it occurred to me that both of those men are blatant racists. There are way too many examples of Breitbart’s racism to pull up here, go to Google and type Breitbart and Racism and you will see a slew of them. Now, Ratigan’s racism isn’t as blatant and even when it is blatant, most of the media and the blogosphere just ignore if for some reason. I say it is because he is on MSNBC, which is not liberal, I don’t care if they have a few hours of left leaning opinion shows at night. The rest of the network is becoming Fox News II. In many ways, Ratigan’s racism is much worse, since he couches it in populist rhetoric which is targeted at the less informed, which makes it very Fox Like if you ask me.