There was a particularly disturbing segment during Howard Kurtz’ Reliable Sources Program on CNN this weekend. Host Howard Kurtz was interviewing David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of the New Yorker Magazine, who was “pimping” his new book “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.”
Kurtz asked Remnick a question about the love affair between the mainstream press and Obama during the campaign to which he answered the media was in love with the narrative of having an African-American win the presidency and that was a legitimate approach for a journalist to have.
“Kurtz: What came over the press in 2007 and 2008 when it came to Barack Obama?
Remnick: … let’s face it, Barack Obama was a part of a narrative of the most painful and prolonged history that we have in our country, which is the epic story and extremely painful story of race in America. And the business of him being a serious candidate for the presidency, not just a symbolic run, not one that’s doomed to failure, but one that could quite possibly reach the end and be elected president, well, I think we were all taken up with that, and I think legitimately so. I think the notion of an African-American running successfully for president –”
Even Kurtz seemed to have held in a gasp on that one
“Kurtz: Legitimately so, except that you have another candidate for president. And a lot of people concluded, fairly or unfairly, that the media, or parts of the media, were in the tank for the Democratic candidate.
Remnick: Well, I’m only responsible for “The New Yorker” and for myself, and I thought we were fair to Hillary Clinton and I think we were fair all around. Were we taken up with the extra story of race? Absolutely. And I think we should have been.”
Mr. Remnick forgot that there was also a Republican candidate, John McCain. Not that it seems to have mattered much to the New Yorker Editor; he was “taken up with the extra story of race.” Sadly, he honestly expects us to believe that the press was “taken up by one element of the story” and was impartial with the rest of it. All that seemed to matter to the David Remnick was the color of Barack Obama’s skin; it was if the election of Barack Obama was going to purge Remnick and America of hundreds of years of white guilt.
Of course it is very naïve to believe the election of one man, even one who had a parent of African descent would automatically erase nearly four centuries of racial discrimination that in this country.
Maybe Remnick’s guilt stems from his Democratic Party affiliation. He could feel guilty for the fact that his party fought so hard to prevent African-Americans from getting equal rights. Sen. Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957. When the Civil rights act of 1964 came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964, the “Southern Bloc” of Democratic Party Senators led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage. Said Russell;
“We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our [Southern] states.
Remnick is so concerned with racism that it clouded his judgment during the Presidential campaign, and it still does today. During a April 16th 2010 appearance the HBO show of his childhood friend, Bill Maher, Remnick promoted the fantasy that the President’s biggest critics in the Tea Party movement are simply racists.
“What concerns me is the phrase Take Back Our Country. When I hear the phrase we want our country back, I’m afraid that’s coded language. There seems to be something very combustible by having ten percent unemployment and economic anxiety and with a lot of people that’s legitimate with also the presence of an African American president.”
If Remnick did a little investigation he would have realized that in 2007 Barack Obama was one of the featured speakers at the Sixth annual Take Back America conference in Washington, D.C., so maybe the phrase didn’t have that secret racist meaning (unless of course Remnick believes that when the future president spoke, he was only using his mother’s genes).
There must be some deep seeded racist guilt developed during Remnick’s middle-class suburban upbringing that makes him ascribe his racist thoughts to others. Of course, when he plays the part of the racist, and gets taken up with the story of one candidate because of the color of his skin, the New Yorker editor tries to tell us that it didn’t lead to bias.
Even though he accuses others, it is Remnick who is proven to be a racist, at least when judged by the words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
During the 2008 election campaign, the New Yorker Editor judged Barack Obama by the color of his skin, just as today he judges the Tea Party protesters the same way. That is the definition of racist.