The question du jour is: Will right wing media succeed in this metastasizing and coordinated smear campaign aimed at cowing the MSM/Beltway Media and forcing the ouster of Eric Holder?
Rachel's latest report on the Holder witch hunt by Republicans and right wing media is the best "decoder ring" account of what's really going on, focusing on the usual suspects (for a reason), FOX and Breitbart. Here Rachel examines the conduct of these right wing media outlets, with respect to the manufactured Shirley Sherrod scandal, in which an edited Breitbart video made it appear as if Sherrod was a so-called "reverse racist" against white people. This story, carried by FOX as if it was the second coming of Watergate, Rachel noted, stepped all over the White House signing ceremony of Wall Street reform. Right wing media mission accomplished.
Coincidence or conspiracy? Fast-forward to the present day. As the 'Fast And Furious' conspiracy threatens to spill over into the MSM, suddenly the same right wing players are targeting the MSM/Beltway Media and, unfortunately, whatever low-hanging media fruit they can knock off. As Rachel explains, they're "starting to overtly bait" the MSM into embracing this bizarre conspiracy. "This is a test," says Rachel. Watch:
Consider this in light of the suspension on Thursday of POLITICO's White House reporter Joe Williams for comments he made on the Martin Bashir show suggesting Mitt Romney was "only comfortable around white people." Quite honestly, in this rabidly racist society in which far more incendiary statements are said and written daily about President Obama in right wing media without sanction or negative repercussion, POLITICO's suspension of Williams is an overreaction at best, and at worst, rank cowardice.
As an African American jounalist Joe Williams must now contend with white backlash from his superiors regarding the knee-jerk right wing media canard of "reverse racism," a smear, how soon we forget, leveled by Breitbart against Shirley Sherrod. The site has now turned its sights on Williams and is making essentially the same charge against him, with the same purpose: ending his career as they ended Sherrod's career in government. Context is everything. The context here, it's important to remember, is this is happening the midst of right wing media's campaign to goad the MSM into giving credence to their bizarre anti-gun conspiracy against Eric Holder, our first African American Attorney General.
Let's be frank. What Joe Williams said is a non-issue for African Americans. Millions of white Americans, even those who aren't overtly racist, are uncomfortable around black people. Especially, one would expect, white people like Mitt Romney, who has lived an extremely insular life in the bosom of his wealth, his religion, and his homogeneous community. He hasn't been around a lot of black people. That's a fact. Black people are not unlike any person of a different cultural, ethnic, or racial background, who have a heightened sensitivity to the unease of white people, the dominant class, around them. Just as there's the 'gaydar' we should not pretend a 'racedar' doesn't exist.
For objective observers, Joe Williams' statement should be considered non-controversial and the reaction to it (much-delayed regarding his tweets) a recurring manifestation of fake right wing outrage. Honestly, Williams' observation, as a good reporter and as a black man sensitized to his culture, is very likely right on the mark. But unlike Neil Munro, or a lie in Munro's case, a black man dare not speak truth to power.
No wonder POLITICO's Ken Vogel was so guarded on Martin Bashir's show, prompting the post below, before I learned of Williams' suspension. The site targeting Williams recently referred to Vogel as "one of POLITICO's top hatchet men" (presumably because his reporting focuses on money in politics) who — key the 'ta-da' jingle — is an "ex-Soros' (sic) employee." The headline reads: "KEN VOGEL: POLITICO'S EX-SOROS EMPLOYEE ATTACKS GOP SUPER PACS." Simply because, prior to joining POLITICO, Vogel worked for the award-winning Center for Public Integrity, which has received some funding from George Soros.
Meanwhile, Daily Caller staffer Neil Munro, who rudely interrupted President Obama before the President had finished his remarks in the White House Rose Garden, then lied about it, is being feted by right wing media as "standing on the shoulder of giants" after "aggressively questioning Power (sic)" compared to Williams who was "race and class baiting." The Daily Caller, which has been on the forefront of right wing media's attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder, is bankrolled up to at least $3.5 million by Rick Santorum sugar daddy Foster Friess of aspirin-twixt-knees-as-birth-control infamy. Friess boasts in his website of being “the major investor” in the Daily Caller. The venal hypocrisy of these wingnuts is boundless.
Ironically, when right wing media claims POLITICO has "become one with MSNBC" I share their concern. POLITICO is hardly "an openly leftist news outlet." But neither is MSNBC. In fact, the network's programming model, as noted once by its president, is daytime straight news, with anchors Chris Jansing, Thomas Roberts, and Tamron Hall. Starting at 4 p.m. with Martin Bashir, Chris, the Rev, Big Eddie, Rachel, and Lawrence the format switches to commentary and opinion with a liberal bent. (So what!?)
Squeezed in between the daytime programming is the very mainstream, very Beltway Andrea Mitchell who hosts Republicans and POLITICOs to utter their talking points unchallenged, and sets the Beltway narrative with POLITICO's "daily briefing." Their tilt, the MSM/Beltway narrative is corporate and conservative, but not right wing. MSNBC leans right through its stubborn adherence to the false equivalency canard, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, and wimpy susceptibility to right wing bullying.
So yeah, are MSNBC and POLITICO too cozy? Too corporate? Too mainstream? Too Republican and corporate (Wall Street) Democrat? Too elitist? Too out-of-touch? All of the above. What's left (no pun intended) to liberals and progressives is the evening commentariat.
Liberal outliers like Joe Williams do not reflect POLITICO's corporate, conservative party line of Jim VandeHei and John Harris. As far as Ken Vogel goes, he's straight down the middle in his reporting, unless he's spooked by right wing bullies. Joe Williams is an honest reporter who understands what's going down:
The question is, do Jim VandeHei or John Harris understand? Do the MSNBC suits? I only hope Rachel's absence from her post on Friday was to rest her vocal chords or something equally mundane. These days, being a truthteller in media is a hazardous occupation.“Having covered the Shirley Sherrod firing and seen the fallout from James O’Keefe’s brand of journalism, I’m not surprised a small group with internet access and an ambitious agenda can affect reporting and distort analysis of political news,” Williams said Friday. “It’s quite unfortunate and incredibly frustrating, however, that I landed in the crosshairs this time, calling Politico’s integrity into question and jeopardizing a job and a career that I love.”
Memo To The MSNBC Suits: STOP caving to right wing bullies.