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Ben Johnson

When the Left-Wing "Racism" Smear Becomes Truth, Print the Smear

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Posted on September 28 2009 11:58 pm

Newcomers to political activism may be surprised to learn that this summer was not the first time the Left had used lies and distortions to smear its opponents as racist. As David Horowitz pointed out Monday, this is the Left’s defining modus operandi and has been for a generation: as he writes, “the left’s chief political contribution to American politics is witch-hunts.”

Another chief contribution would be the myths that undergird those witch-hunts. On the health-care front, we’ve seen MSNBC talker Ed Schultz lie to transform protest signs into death threats (even though the correct wording was on the screen for everyone to see). Jimmy Carter soon repeated the lie as Gospel.

Last night on Fox News, Bob Beckel revisited a golden oldie “racist” hoax to smear a man who is now dead…

Beckel was part of Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel,” discussing the current outbreak of racial hypersensitivity. Beckel — who has transformed into one of the most sensisble and likeable Democrats this side of Ron Radosh or Pat Caddell — said he had experience with genuine racial campaigning. “I had a campaign with Jesse Helms where he played the race card,” he said. He described a TV ad during the 1990 North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Helms , the one “with the application — a black man pulling it from a white man’s hands.”

There’s only one problem: the ad doesn’t exist.

As seen above, the ad shows a pair of white hands crumpling a job rejection letter. There is no job “application,” and no one of any race would wish to seize it from its rightful owner. As far as I can tell, the myth of the grasping black hands originated with a Jesse Jackson appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, in which Jackson wrongly described the ad the same way Beckel did. Co-host Pat Buchanan corrected him, but it seems the Reverend’s talking points won out.

The ad was neither racist nor out of bounds (although Helms at times in his career was). Helms opposed Affirmative Action, and his opponent, Harvey Gantt, supported it. At the time of the election, the 1990 Civil Rights Act was pending President George H. W. Bush’s signature. (Bush vetoed the “quota bill,” then signed a substantially similar bill a year later.) The Left’s lies, then as now, were an excuse to paint all opponents of reverse discrimation as “racists.”

(Roger Clegg at NRO’s The Corner shared his thoughts on the ad here.)

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Nineteen years later, the dishonest witch-hunt continues.

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