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April 15, 2008

Bob Herbert: Don't Blame Obama For Calling Pennsylvanians "Bitter;" He Only Meant To Say They Were Unenlightened and Hopelessly Racist
Update: Didn't He Actually Call Them Racist, Too?

Well! Controversy over!

There is no mystery here. Except for people who have been hiding in caves or living in denial, itís pretty widely understood that a substantial number of those voters ó in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere ó will not vote for a black candidate for president.

...

Senator Obama has spent his campaign trying to dodge the race issue, which in America is like trying to dodge the wind. So when he fielded the question in San Francisco, he didnít say: ďA lot of folks are not with me because Iím black ó but Iím trying to make my case and bring as many around as I can.Ē

Instead, he fell back on a tortured response that was demonstrably incorrect. Referring to the long-term economic distress of many working-class voters, Mr. Obama said: ďItís not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who arenít like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.Ē

He danced all around the truth. Unless youíre Fred Astaire, if your dance steps get too intricate youíre bound to make a misstep. This was a big one.

That's the third inconsistent media defense I've heard for Obama's Redneck Rampage speech.

Let's see:

1) He could not possibly have intended something so offensive and absurd.

2) But he's 100% right about that offensive and absurd characterization.

and now three:

3) He can't be held responsible for his offensive and absurd characterization, because he misspoke; he actually intended something more insulting.

Via Hot Air, which also claims, rather optimistically, that the "media" is moving beyond "bitter" in reporting on/analyzing Obama's remark.

First of all, this isn't the "media." It's Slate, or as I term it, the amateur leftist Webzine Slate. It's the media like I am.

Second of all, on-line writers have a big honking incentive to write provocative stuff -- and even provocative stuff which has the benefit of being the unpopular truth. It drives traffic. "The media" doesn't have this sort of incentive, or at least they don't react to it; witness the fact that most major media companies continue chasing the same 30% liberal slice of the market. They have built-in audiences and do not worry much about "traffic spikes."

Third, John Dickerson, being an online writer, is probably more exposed to conservative writers' complaints about the speech. It's even possible he bothers to read a conservative column or blog from time to time, just to keep tabs on the other side. I'm guessing it's easier for the real MSM to cocoon themselves in nothing but warmly stultifying liberal opinion. They really don't have to listen to anyone but themselves.

And finally -- the MSM is very heavily invested in claiming this is all about "bitter" and defending Obama and attempting to declare it a non-story which is not worth discussing. They've been doing that since the story broke; it would take an awful lot to reverse themselves at this point.

They would have to admit -- gasp! -- they got the story almost entirely wrong from the get-go, and mostly because they're so uniformly liberal that neither they nor anyone they even know could imagine what could possibly be offensive about the remarks apart from "bitter."

Thanks to markytom.

CQ Prediction: Hillary Will Gain a Whole Three (!) Delegates from Pennsylvania: Wow. Is that all we're talking about here?

Update: Anwyn writes:

Don't forget that in addition to the HuffPo-reported remarks, he actually did say (paraphrase) "these people don't believe the message when it's coming from a 46-year-old black guy named Barack Obama," to which the billionaires laughed appreciatively. So when Herbert says Obama couldn't come right out and say they're racist, well, he did.

True, and the whole bit about fearing/hating people who don't look like them (wink, wink) made that point to.

It seems pointless to pile on Bob Herbert though. He's a fucking idiot. As Evan Coyne Maloney pointed out, he basically turns in the same three barely-rewritten columns week after week after week.

He even put together this nifty Automatic Bob Herbert Column Generator which samples from his cliched and endlessly recycled oevure to create "new" Bob Herbert columns.

No one reads Bob Herbert, including Bob Herbert.

Another Update: Vid here.







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