Using a time-honored establishment press technique, an unbylined Associated Press report out of Indianapolis this evening (“Ind. lawmaker’s lynching reference riles tea party;” saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) twisted the real news about Congressman Andre Carson’s inexcusable, hateful comments at a Congressional Black Caucus-sponsored event in Miami on August 22 by making the story largely about the reaction to what he said. By doing so, the AP largely diverted attention from Carson’s clear primary targets: Tea Party-sympathetic congressional colleagues.
The AP report also opens by contending that what Carson said was only a “metaphor.” Really.
CARSON: And this is beyond symbolic change. This is the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow. Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. (audience members reply, “Yes!”) Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party would love to see you and me- I’m sorry, Tamron (Hall) – hanging on a tree. (audience members reply, “Yes!”) Some of them right now in Congress are comfortable with where we were 50 and 60 years ago.
Carson was obviously accusing some of his congressional colleagues, whom he gutlessly would not name, of actually wanting (not metaphorically wishing) to see himself and his black colleagues lynched. The meaning of the words Carson used is not arguable.
But that’s not at all how the AP framed it:
A black Indiana congressman used a lynching metaphor to describe tea party policies he says would turn minorities into “second class citizens,” and the lone Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus threatened Wednesday to quit the group in protest.
Democrat Andre Carson made the remarks to a crowd at a black caucus-sponsored event in Miami, arguing that some tea politicians are trying to block the economic advancement of blacks and other minorities.
“Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me – hanging on a tree,” the Indiana congressman said.
The comments from Carson’s speech last week were first posted online Tuesday by the Glenn Beck-founded website The Blaze.
Allen West of Florida, the only Republican member of the black caucus, said on the program “Fox & Friends” that he might quit the panel over what he said were “reprehensible” comments.
Carson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he and West have a “cordial” relationship but that nobody on the black caucus would “lose sleep” if West left the panel because of the comments. He said the Democrats who make up the rest of the caucus have supported him.
Carson said that while he wishes he would have chosen different analogies in his speech, he would not have changed its substance. He said the language he used has become a “distraction” to the message he was trying to get across about some tea party members.
“I’m deeply concerned about some of the extremist elements who I feel have been a distraction to many of the well-meaning Americans who affiliate themselves with the tea party,” Carson said.
Carson can claim he used “analogies” all he wants, but that will never change the actual meaning of what he said — nor will the AP’s pathetic attempt to cover for him.
Carson owes Majority Leader John Boehner, every Tea Party-sympathetic congressman (really all of his colleagues for his total abandonment of decorum), and the American people a major apology. Absent that, I agree with blogger Doug Ross’s call for a congressional censure.
When a Republican says something controversial, reporters almost invariably work like mad to get a negative reaction from a fellow party member until they find someone who will criticize him or her. Why isn’t there any evidence of any such attempt by the AP to get quotes from Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Jesse Jackson Jr., or any other Black Caucus members about what Carson said, whether agreeing or disagreeing? Or, if they won’t talk, where’s the time-honored employment of “Congressman X wouldn’t comment on Congressman Y’s controversial remark”?
Meanwhile, back in Indiana, the AP upped the distraction by getting reaction from Tea Party-sympathetic citizens instead of Congresspersons, and found “Indiana State Rep. Vanessa Summers, an Indianapolis Democrat who is chairwoman of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, (who) said Carson shouldn’t apologize for expressing what many people feel.”
By the way, speaking of “economic advancement,” has anyone else noticed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for whites from January 2009 to January 2011 increased from 7.1% to 8.0%, while the black unemployment rate rose from from 12.1% to 15.7%? The black unemployment rate went up four times as much as the white rate (3.6 points divided by 0.9 points). This occurred during the first two years of the Obama administration while Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid ran Congress and before any of the eeeeeevil Tea Party-sympathetic freshmen arrived. Since then, both rates have stayed about the same (July’s rates were 8.1% and 15.9%, respectively). Who has had the more harmful effect on black economic advancement — or I should say, who has inflicted real harm on the black community?
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.