On Gwen Ifill, White Privilege and Working the Refs

by matttbastard

Yeah, about that *cough* top-secret “pro-Obama” book by notoriously anodyne PBS anchor and longtime Beltway insider Gwen Ifill that has the usual suspects in a histrionic froth: Howie Kurtz quotes from his September 4th profile of Ifill, in which her upcoming book is discussed:

In The Post interview, Ifill said that as the daughter of a minister who marched in civil rights demonstrations, she recognized the historic nature of Obama’s candidacy. But, Ifill said, “I still don’t know if he’ll be a good president. I’m still capable of looking at his pros and cons in a political sense.” She added: “No one’s ever assumed a white reporter can’t cover a white candidate.”

Unfortunately, Kurtz’s post at The Trail doesn’t include the paragraph that originally preceded the quoted statement:

As Barack Obama was claiming the Democratic nomination in Denver, Ifill says, a white television reporter asked her: “Aren’t you just blown away by all of this?” She said she was not.

“Aren’t you in the tank?” the reporter wondered.

As Jamison Foser observes (h/t Steve Benen):

1) The October 7 presidential debate will be moderated by NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who currently serves as NBC’s liaison to the McCain campaign — while spreading pro-McCain misinformation on Meet the Press. In fact, the McCain campaign hand-picked Tom Brokaw to moderate the October 7 debate[…]

2) CBS’ Bob Schieffer moderated one of the 2004 debates, despite the fact that he is a longtime friend of George W. Bush who had previously acknowledged that his personal relationship with Bush made it difficult to cover him. Schieffer’s brother was a business partner of Bush’s before Bush became president — and Bush made him an ambassador.

DJ rewind:

“No one’s ever assumed a white reporter can’t cover a white candidate.”

Bottom line:

To insinuate that Ifill, who’s likely to run a tough debate and ask serious questions, can’t be impartial is insulting to all African-Americans. Because y’know, THOSE people always side with their own.

Oh, and regarding the oh-so-impartial and objective (to say nothing of, um, credible) source of all this manufactured wingnut outrage, WorldNutDaily, Kurtz sardonically notes:

On the World Net site, the “Deal of the Day” is a $4.95 offer for what is described as the “Obama blockbuster: ‘Anatomy of Deceit.'” The Web site says the book “reveals” that “his brand of change is a hostile attack on the Judeo-Christian values and freedoms most Americans hold dear.”

What was that about a “conflict of interest”, Greta?

Related: Steve M has more on The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, which he says, judging by the publishers description, “isn’t hero-worship — it’s analysis” and that even if Obama wins in November the book “isn’t going to be a bestseller — it’s just too poli-sci.”

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