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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Cynical (Yet Painfully Obvious) Prediction

by matttbastard

All this recent vocal conservative dissatisfaction with Sarah Palin is a deliberate attempt to lower expectations so much that when she doesn’t completely embarrass herself at Thursday’s VP debate (say, by not drooling all over her pantsuit) they can change the narrative to “Sarah Palin surprises her conservative critics!”

Regardless, unless the McCain campaign can successfully reorient public focus away from the economy (even so-called ‘values voters’ cite the economy as issue #1) and back to its issue-free rural identity politics strategy, Palin’s effectiveness as a game-changing force of nature has been largely eliminated.

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