by tjdailynational, Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 02:27:59 PM EST
Right-wing lunacy has won again! MSNBC yesterday forced itself to apologize for telling the truth about Mitt Romney’s rhetorical ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Here’s the background: The good folks at Americablog.com reported that Mitt Romney has again used the phrase “keep America American” in a recent speech. The journalists at the site then factually noted that this was a phrase widely used by Ku Klux Klansman in the 1920 and was even used in their recruitment literature. Further, it was noted that Romney has a nasty habit of smearing Obama on any policy disagreement by claiming Obama “wants to transform America into a European style nation.” Get it, Obama is un-American if he wants, say, basic health care common to, say, Austria. Yet conservatives who routinely cite their belief in a field of economics founded in, say, Austria, are claimed by Romney and other conservatives to be good, right-thinking Americans.
Next, here is what MSNBC reported yesterday:
“So you may not hear Mitt Romney say "Keep America American" anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the KKK group, and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews, and the progressive AMERICAblog was the first to catch on to that.”
As Americablog has since pointed out, MSNBC merely reported two indisputable facts: 1. The phrase Keep America American” was a phrase widely used by the Klan. 2. Romney has used this phrase and is unlikely to use it again.
I will give a free dinner on me to any reader who can point out the factual errors in that report. Typically, when news organizations make obsequious apologies, it is for getting facts wrong, not getting facts 100% right, as in this case.
So how did the ostensibly pro-Democratic Chris Matthews react to this news report? Here’s what Matthews said:
“It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize; we really do, to the Romney Campaign.”
So in the Chris Matthews/MSNBC worldview, it’s not irresponsible or incendiary for a presidential candidate of the conservative party to pander to conservative white voters by using the rhetoric of the Klan. It is irresponsible and incendiary of a news organization to report well-documented facts that might make a Republican candidate look bad.
Nor does Matthews think it is incendiary for Romney to say things like this: “he (Obama) takes his political inspiration from Europe, and from the socialist-democrats in Europe.”
This is insanity!
Of course I can understand MSNBC’s position. After all, why spend valuable time reporting actual facts about Republican Presidential candidates when it’s so much more fun to report “debates” on utter nonsense on how Obama was born in Kenya, how Obama is a Muslim, and how Obama wages class warfare and numerous other right-wing memes.
Romney, to his credit, is basically the only Republican candidate who hasn’t called Obama a socialist or communist. So we are supposed to grade him as the enlightened one and so it’s supposed to be unfair to make him look bad on these sorts of things. After all, nobody, myself included, really things that Romney is a bigot or endorses Klan philosophies. But the problem is that a lot of dangerous demagogues of the past didn’t really believe their own demagoguery. They used it because it worked.
It’s important to note that people who knew George Wallace didn’t think he was really a racist. It’s just that in his first gubernatorial Wallace ran as a liberal, integrationist on race relations and lost. So he simply switched positions for pragmatic reasons and vowed that he would “never be out-nigg*!d again.” Hmm…a pragmatic politician who first ran as a liberal and then moved right out of pragmatic concerns…sound familiar?
We are supposed to give Romney a pass because compared to the Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Mark Levin/Sean Hannity/Herman Cain/Newt Gingrich demagogues on the right who routinely traffic in socialistic/communistic/un-American slurs, Romney looks like a flaming liberal. But that is a low bar indeed.
This whole sordid episode is a perfect example of how the right-wing establishment has completely taken over the media in the US. Fox News is merely the clubhouse. But make no mistake about it, the ten gazillion right wing “think tanks,” media criticism institutes, talk show hosts, bloggers and pundits, have been “working the refs” (as right-winger William Kristol once conceded) for so long that all mainstream reporters and hosts and even supposed Democratic host and pundits have been cowed.
We now live in world where the only valid criticism of politicians is when it is directed at Democrats. Criticism of Republicans is, ipso facto, illegitimate and therefore must be retracted immediately, as happened yesterday.
I’m half-way tempted to produce a 30-second anti-Romney attack TV ad using footage of his “keep America American” sound bites and then juxtaposing it with quotes and a voiceover from KKK literature, but given, shall we say, the “proclivities” of the Tea Party, that might actually help Romney win the nomination.