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“Breaking News” CNN’s Racist Prism

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Posted on September 15 2009 10:38 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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Last night as I walked through a restaurant, I saw the television over the bar tuned to CNN and muted (which is typical of a fair amount of CNN viewership).  But that didn’t stop the propaganda, if anything, it made it worse.

The on-screen heading, under “Breaking News,’ was “Racial Tinge to Tea Movement?”

“Breaking News”?  By all that is supposed to be sacred in the news biz, how in the world does that qualify as “Breaking News?”  What is this, MSNBC?

Worse, this was during The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, probably CNN’s most respected and even-handed part of their newscast day.

And the face I saw on the screen was of that respected and balanced newshound, James Carville.  Of course, there was a panel discussion arguing over the topic, but for the casual viewer, the impression was left that there was some hard, objective fact behind the allegation of racism in the Tea Party Movement.  Some new “development.”

In fact, had the sound been on, the patrons would have heard Republican strategist Terry Holt cleaning up the room with Carville, who was clearly somewhat uncomfortable with the suicidal tactic of the Democratic Party to smear middle America which is responding to the Tea Party message, and came there with one mission—to slime Congressman Joe Wilson.

HOLT: Well, you know, this racism charge, Maureen Dowd’s column the other day, it is meant to stoke the fires of fear and partisanship, and what we’ve seen over the last six or eight weeks in this country is the Democrats getting more intense and partially partisan, going after Joe Wilson, even after he apologized. You see the Republicans, they have seen some light. Now 85 percent of Republicans oppose the health care reform. What we’re seeing is less and less room for bipartisan compromise, and that ultimately was what — got Barack Obama elected so I think both parties should be concerned.

CARVILLE: Again, Wilson is a neo-confederate.

BLITZER: You’re talking about Congressman Joe Wilson.

CARVILLE: That is the mainstream of the Republican Party. I’ll say that Rick Perry is a little out of the mainstream who wants to secede.

Earlier in the broadcast, with “reporting” by Elizabeth Quijano, this was merely a “Developing Story.”  Quijano kept peppering her commentary with disclaimers like a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”

Wolf Blitzer kept using similar terms like “small… but disturbing,” or “dark undercurrent,” as he struggled to look evenhanded.

In Quijano’s report, she talked to several Tea Party participants, but none voiced anything close to racist rhetoric.  For that, she had to go to Clarence Page, the liberal Chicago Tribune columnist who has jumped on this theme with both feet.

CLARENCE PAGE: People are not just mad at Obama. They’re mad at Jesse Jackson, they’re mad at Reverend Wright, they’re mad at Al Sharpton, they’re mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.

QUIJANO: Page says the vehement racial resistance that’s emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama’s election was wishful thinking.

PAGE: It’s only the beginning of the process that we are able to live with leadership that may not look like us, may not come from the same background as us but is still part of this very diverse society.

Wow, Clarence, candidate Obama looked a little mad at Reverend Wright when he threw him under the bus last summer—and people have been mad at Al Sharpton since the 1980s when he falsely accused cops and prosecutors of rape, racism and assault in the Tawana Brawley fraud.

And I hate to prick your Chicago balloon, buddy, but people have mostly forgotten Jesse Jackson.

But there are certainly worse examples of rhetoric disguised as news and of agenda driven “reporting” than this Situation Room broadcast (just pick any random minute on MSNBC).  However, the fact that CNN, which prides itself on its “moderation,” would go this far in framing a story means the floodgates are about to open.

The opposition-to-Obama=racism charge has been run up the flagpole with increasing frequency by commentators—and it’s been the template on MSNBC for months.  But no one considers MSNBC the mainstream media– except maybe Crazy Keith Olbermann and the Marxist Nation Magazine (and CNN’s Don Lemon seemd to be auditioning for a show in their lineup much of the time).

But the huge demonstration in Washington D.C. this weekend, and crowds in other major cities that were bigger than some MSM reporters gave even the massive D.C. rally credit for has scared the pretense of fairness right out of CNN.

Funny how at anti-war rallies where most of the signs being carried vary from extreme to gruesomely anti-American, the reporters always seek out the people who look like they just came from judging an Apple Pie contest—but can find the 4 or 5 extreme posters out of a crowd of 4 or 5 hundred thousand when a crowd is making a conservative point.

The Tea Party Movement is both conservative and populist.  That scares the devil out of the elite Washington establishment.  The orders have gone out.  Paint this as anything but populist or something Mom and Pop America can identify with.

Brace yourselves.  It’s just beginning.

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