Friday, November 14, 2014
“Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other. Journalists should encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media; admit mistakes and correct them promptly, and abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.” The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics
You would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to see the coordinated cooperation the Republican Party received from the news media to bring about their so-called historic win from a 37% voter turnout, one of the lowest in history. Whoop-Dee-Doo! Don’t be misled that Republicans had some great ground game and people were falling all over themselves to jump at the chance to vote for them. No! They’re still more unpopular than President Obama, but what they did have was an effective media campaign that doomed Democrats’ chances by forcing them to abandon their twice-elected Democratic president.
Republicans did not win because they had a clear vision for the Country or they had earned the respect of the American people for helping the Country get back on its feet after the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression. GOP voters did not care that Republicans in Congress had shut down the government, threatened to default on the full faith and credit of the United States. It didn’t matter to GOP voters that they had obstructed every effort to make the Country fairer and more equal. All GOP voters wanted were candidates that could beat the Democrats and were willing to punish Barack Obama for being a black man occupying space in the White House other than as the butler or cook.
Republicans had great cooperation from conservative bloggers who behaved in their typical rabid dog fashion and intimidated spineless Democratic candidates in so-called red states by tying them to Conservatives’ #1 nemesis…Barack Obama. They see him as their bitter enemy who was unbeatable in two presidential elections. They still haven’t gotten over it. Even progressive bloggers wrote an onslaught of highly critical pieces which surely made some Democratic voters think, why the hell am I voting for these people?
One way the Sunday news shows helped Republicans’ efforts to suppress Democratic voter turnout was by simply making voter suppression a non-issue. For some folk, if it’s not in the news then it must not be true. Another way was that they relied on journalists like Bob Schieffer, host of CBS Face the Nation, and Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press to carry water for them.
Schieffer generally favor Republican guests and the door to his CBS studio is always opened to critics and haters of Barack Obama. Schieffer supports the conservative position on issues and regularly levels abrasive criticism against the President. To have Bob Schieffer, host of the highest rated Sunday news show, catering to your Party's point-of-view is a win-win for the GOP no matter how you analyze it.
Todd gained more GOP fans when he joined the merry band of conservative and progressive hypocrites on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show excoriating Alison Grimes for refusing to answer whether she voted for Barack Obama. Todd, a staunch critic of the President and the Democratic Party in general, declared that Grimes had disqualified herself.
Chuck Todd: “The idea of -- I'm sorry even to say you regret your vote that would almost seem as disingenuous. But that is -- can Kentuckians expect her to cast a tough vote on anything? Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything? You want to be a U.S. Senator? If you can't say -- if you can't find a way to stand behind your party's president, you can disagree with him but can't answer that basic question and come across looking ridiculous. I think she disqualified herself.”
Republicans thanked him publicly for his cooperation by using Todd in an ad against Grimes, which probably drove a few thousand Republican viewers to his failing show and drove even more viewers away from the Democratic candidate. Though I was not a fan of Grimes and definitely did not support her strategy of dividing the party into Clinton Democrats and Obama Democrats, I joined the chorus of those calling Chuck Todd unethical for interjecting his personal opinion about a candidate; thereby giving an advantage to the opposing candidate. He should have remained fair and objective, especially as a news director for a major news organization. But I don’t know anyone who thinks Chuck Todd has an objective bone in his body.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) bought into the GOP narrative, peddled by the news media, as to what Democrats were up against in the midterms, and out of fear, they sidelined their most valuable player Barack Obama. Their strategy was not to lose. They never had a strategy to win.
How the news media helped Republicans cruise to victory
1. Convince white men that the black President’s approval rating of 42% to 45% is the lowest of any white president before him and only conservative white men can save the Republic from the black guy. Repeat it constantly and avoid comparing his approval to previous presidents. Have a slew of prominent white men, whom all vote Republican, on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC attacking every decision the black guy makes. If you listen to cable news, Barack Obama has the lowest approval rating of any president in history, which is a bald-faced lie.
2. Distract from the Democratic Party’s economic successes and the fact that 10 million Americans now have healthcare because President Obama and the Democrats in Congress risked their political futures to pass it. How to distract? Push media coverage painting the highly successful Democratic black president as “the other” and his policies of equal pay, education reform, equality for all is bad for America, particularly white Americans. Keep comparing him to former presidents, all of whom are white, to drive home the point to white men and older white voters that when they look back on the Country’s greatness, white men were in charge.
Of course that strategy counted on silence by minority reporters from pointing out that the good, the bad, and the ugly of America happened under the rule of white men until just six years ago when the first non-white male was elected as President of The United States. Before then, it had been over 200 years of total white male domination. A lot of ugly sh*t happened during that time which created a stain on America’s image that can never be washed away.
3. Instill fear by making white Americans fearful of an African disease, an imminent attack by a crazed Muslim terrorist group, and an influx of Hispanic children crossing the border carrying diseases. The news media was culpable in pushing GOP hysterics that Ebola was spreading rampant on the continent of Africa. It was so effective that, not surprisingly, gullible Democratic candidates jumped on the bandwagon of wanting to impose a travel ban on ALL of Africa, not just the infected areas.
4. Force Democrats to adopt GOP’s preferred strategy by pushing candidates into a corner to see President Obama’s approval rating through the lens of the GOP and Republican-leaning independent voters, thereby; ignoring his 76% approval rating amongst all Democrats and 87% approval amongst black voters. Republicans got a major lift from the news media for carrying out this specific strategy.
5. Trick Democrats to adopt a win with white only voters’ strategy by placating to that strain of anti-Obama voters in the Democratic Party who have racial animosity toward the black president and started voting Republican because of it. Republicans and the media knew this strategy would alienate black voters, and they selectively put white Democratic candidates on the spot to defend the black guy at the expense of losing a more likely white racist voter. The Democrats chose the more likely white racist voter. This strategy infuriated black folk and their trust level for white politicians took a dramatic nose-dive. Blacks, who didn’t vote, point to how Democrats treated President Obama as a reason not to trust white politicians. Quote unquote.
Cable and news organizations got into the mix with scathing criticism of President Obama and his Administration and unrelenting negative news coverage designed to scare white folk and weaken already vulnerable Democratic candidates. After the GOP won, all of a sudden, presto…Americans don’t have to be afraid anymore.
Fox News role in GOP win
Everybody knows that Fox News Channel is the media arm of the Republican Party and a platform for the conservative movement. They’re unapologetic about it. So, of course, they were very instrumental in helping Republicans scare white folk and capitalize on what is historically low voter turnout in midterm elections. They didn’t have to implement some specific strategy, they simply kept doing what they do every single day, paint Barack Obama as a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist who wants to scrap the U.S. Constitution in favor of Sharia Law, and drill down into the subconscious of white folk that the black guy is coming for their guns and their Bibles.
CNN role in GOP win
CNN, that bastion of negative news coverage, probably wasn’t asked to cooperate with the GOP in taking over Congress. They volunteered because wherever the majority of white folk are on issues, there is CNN promoting that position. So, no way would they be left out of gaining some of that anti-Obama rating from Fox News. They just threw a ton of negative sh*t out there about President Obama and the Democrats and whatever stuck, they ran with it. They didn’t try to be fair, balanced, or ethical. Of course, they think they’re a pillar of integrity. Barf…barf…barf!
MSNBC role in GOP win
That bunch of progressives on MSNBC, the ‘liberal my ass’ channel, played a role in the GOP win too, maybe unwittingly but their negative coverage fed into black folk and many Americans’ distrust of politicians in general. Chris Hayes (All In With Chris Hayes) and Rachel Maddow (The Rachel Maddow Show) are both equal opportunity offenders, so Democratic candidates should never consider them a friendly progressive venue. That distinction is reserved for progressive/libertarian guests like Glenn Greenwald. Hayes and Maddow gave their viewers a lot of unflattering facts about Democratic and Republican candidates that would make some first time voters and young voters say, ‘F**k this, I don’t trust any of these people in either party.’
MSNBC content writers for Ed Schultz (The Ed Show) and Al Sharpton (Politics Nation) shows must be GOP moles because 80% of the content for those shows is about how disgusting Republicans are. Like people don’t already know that. I would bet you a dollar to a dime that relentless coverage of GOP antics had a demoralizing effect on Democratic voters and apathy ensued. Some Americans probably thought not even voting will stop the GOP. You would expect two boisterous bleeding heart liberals to focus primarily on the positives about America, instilling optimism, a platform to educate viewers about how the political process works, and so on. It’s not like Schultz and Sharpton are journalists or claim to be unbiased. So having a format like that would not be out of line because they are billed as opinion shows. The shows’ content writers limit reporting on the great things that President Obama and Democrats have achieved in the last six years. They spend way too much time on how pathetic the GOP is. Like I said, we already know that.
I stopped watching both shows (, and MSNBC in general,) because I simply grew tired of them regurgitating GOP hysterics while progressive gains sometimes were tabled for later on in the show, like the last fifteen minutes, or barely discussed.
Even if I didn’t mention the king of hypocrisy Joe Scarborough’s role in the GOP win, you would know that Mr. Hypocrite, host of MSNBC's the Morning Joe Show, had a hand in depressing the Democratic vote. Surely, the guy writes his own content, and it is all about how bad of a president the black guy is compared to previous white presidents. He had a slew of left-leaning guests who were big supporters of the Democratic Party before Barack Obama became the Party’s standard bearer. These ‘I don’t like the black guy’ Democratic operatives were more than willing to pour water on the Democrats chances for victory.
Black activists and educators’ role in GOP win
We can’t leave out cooperation the GOP received from black activists and educators who have an ongoing beef with President Obama for not showing enough of his “blackness.” What the hell does that mean anyway?
Baptist minister Michael Eric Dyson and Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC The Melissa Harris Perry Show, issued a venomous attack on President Obama regarding what the two perceived as a lack of their preferred response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Surely, both being respected voices in academics, knowingly or unknowingly, convinced some blacks to stay home because it would not make a difference. Dyson seemed to want the black president to raise his fist and say, ‘F the police,’ while Harris-Perry signaled she wanted him to apologize for racism and all other ills of society.
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, the two poverty pimps, played a major role in riling up poor black folk to distrust ALL politicians, even the black guy in the White House. They have hoodwinked them into believing that the answer to all of their money woes rests in the hands of Barack Obama and the reason they’re still broke or living paycheck-to-paycheck is because the uppity black president doesn’t care about poor people. Smiley and West probably tell their anti-Obama supporters to pooh-pooh on JFK’s famous quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Poor people should be the first in line at the polls in every election.
If Democrats had been fortunate enough to have this degree of media cooperation and outside support to get out their message, they could have won too. Oh wait…screech…. back up…nothing was going to save Democrats this election cycle because they let the news media and Republicans sucker them into believing that President Obama, their most valuable asset, was a drag on the party.
Besides Democratic voters expect a hell of a lot more from their candidates than GOP voters do and will not support candidates who are too spineless to stand up for their convictions. Democrats tried to run away from being Democrats and it backfired on them. It was a colossal failure of judgment on their part.
Oh well, if you don’t believe in something, you will fall for anything, and Democrats fell hard for GOP messaging. Of course, the GOP could not have been victorious without help from the news media. Cue the applause.
That's my yada yada and I’m sticking to it!
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
“Black folk generally do not trust the police, the media, or politicians.”
Every Tom, Dick, and Harry have an analysis as to why the GOP won the midterm with a 37% turnout of primarily white men and older white voters, which is the historical norm for likely voters in a midterm election. Theories range from the GOP’s ground game, Democratic voter apathy and lazy voters, GOP voter suppression tactics, historical low voter turnout, and of course, Americans (meaning white folk) rejected the black guy in the White House and his policies.
Gracious and responsible as always, President Obama shouldered the blame for the losses, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman of the DNC, was way too happy to let him. The woman has no shame. She hasn’t even bothered to own up to the role she played in Democratic losses, like her embarrassing performance on MSNBC and what Politico billed as a behind the scene look at her leadership style.
President Obama does not deserve the blame unless he personally devised the ill-fated strategy to downplay his own successes in the economy, energy, environment, foreign policy, healthcare, and manufacturing; unless he advised Democrats to avoid him like he was infected with Ebola and alienate black voters and other staunch supporters in the process; and unless he personally told voters to listen to the negativity in the media and let cynicism and distrust of politicians keep them from voting. Only then can he be blamed for the losses.
The Democrats’ defeat can be penned on the individual candidates themselves, chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional Committee Conference (DCCC), the Democratic Senatorial Committee Conference (DSCC), and the political strategists they paid to come up with their brilliant plan. Their strategy resulted in the demise of the Democratic majority in the Senate, a larger GOP majority in the House of Representatives; an increase in Republican governors, a demoralizing defeat for the base, and it brought embarrassment to our Democratic president. The Republicans’ deep money pockets did not defeat the Democrats, their own stupidity did, and their strategy fueled black voters’ distrust of the Party.
It is a distrust that has seethed beneath the surface for a long time, and the Democrats made a fatal error in judgment when they devised a strategy to distance themselves from the most highly successful Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Barack Obama is a biracial black man with three Muslim names who successfully beat Republicans like a drum in two highly contested presidential elections. His approval rating is still high amongst Democrats and he has an impressive and historic list of accomplishments. However, the DNC’s strategy was to focus on getting votes from the typical midterm voting block of older white people, which historically do not vote for Democrats.
For Democrats to win those white voters, that meant they had to betray their own president because older white people are less accepting of America’s diversity and idea of a fairer and more equal society. They view President Obama as a thorn in the butt of progress that Conservatives made in keeping America unequal. Some older white people can’t even stand to see black folk on television more less a black man in the White House as President and not as the butler. “I don’t understand why the n**gers have to be on TV?” Those exact words came from the mouth of one of my girlfriend’s 90-year-old Republican mother-in-law.
Black folk’s disdain for the Democratic Party is worse than it has ever been. For many blacks, a strategy to denounce the black president in order to get white votes that were not going to vote for Democrats anyway was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Democratic Midterm Candidates: If you’re white stick around, if you’re black get back.
Senatorial candidate Alison Grimes of Kentucky became the face of the Democratic strategy. She was a delegate for Barack Obama 2008 election but repeatedly refused to say whether she voted for him. It was an incredible display of cowardice and disrespect. Before that fiasco, which many of us believed at the time put a nail in her political coffin; Grimes stood with Bill Clinton and boldly declared very loudly that she was a “Clinton Democrat.” She ran ads declaring “I am not Barack Obama.”
How could Democrats count on her vote for anything President Obama proposed? She surely would not have allowed her photograph to be taken shaking his hand or simply standing next to him. Not surprising to many of us that she lost her election. In fact, Grimes got 584,622 votes and President Obama got 679,370 votes in 2012. She alienated about 95,000 likely voters. I looked up the definitions of foolish and ill-advised in the dictionary and all I got was ‘See Alison Grimes’.
Grimes seemed perfectly content employing her strategy of dividing the base, and it was not lost on black folk that Bill and Hillary Clinton basked in the limelight standing next to her, waving to an adoring crowd of mostly white people in support of a Democratic candidate whose campaign strategy was to pretend: ‘I don’t know who that black guy is in the White House or where he came from.’
It was in your face and downright nasty the way Grimes expressed her seemingly contempt for all-things Barack Obama. The woman never had a positive thing to say about him. But, we have to give credit where credit is due. Grimes followed what many of us perceived as the DNC’s playbook for all Democratic candidates in so-called red states. It went something like this: ‘placate to the anti-Obama white voters in the Party by pissing on the black president in public so all the white folk can see you do it and they’ll trust you more. Just pretend that he doesn’t exist. Don’t defend him, just go along with whatever foul sh*t they say about him.’
It sounds cold and harsh indeed, but that’s exactly how it felt to black folk. The Democrats’ midterm strategy of distancing themselves from President Obama only served to fuel black voters’ distrust of the Party, and the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC have a much bigger problem on their hands than turnout.
To add insult to injury, as I mentioned earlier, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee went on MSNBC and had to be goaded into even mentioning our Democratic president’s name. She stuck to some lame talking point and refused to give President Obama any credit for the Country's economic successes by suggesting the Democrats in the Senate did it all by themselves. Democratic voters were angry and dismayed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the DNC, did not, would not even defend President Obama.
Wasserman Schultz's actions and that of other Democratic candidates were all some black and white voters needed to justify sitting out the election. I could not help but think about the black man in Atlanta that I encountered in 2010. He probably said, “See…I told you that you can’t trust these white politicians.” I had one friend to tell me that he didn’t vote (, and he ALWAYS had before,) because it was no way he would support anyone who treated President Obama like that. Quote unquote. He was unapologetic about it.
How can you make sure 10 million Americans have healthcare, some for the very first time, and have no national outreach to inspire and encourage them to vote in order to save their healthcare coverage and subsidies to pay for it?
After all of the hard work we did to get those reforms passed then to have Democrats not defend the progress that we have made in the last six years was highly insulting and offensive. But I, like many others, voted anyway because we wanted President Obama to get his agenda through Congress in his last two years.
Black folk generally do not trust the police, the media, or politicians. They use their distrust of these institutions as an excuse (, or for some a reason,) why they don’t watch the news and why they don’t vote. When talking to people in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi after the election about why more black folk in their states didn’t turn out to vote on Tuesday, I heard repeatedly, “They don’t trust these damn white politicians. It’s like pulling teeth trying to get them to vote.”
Older black folk are loyal to the Democratic Party and vote for Democratic candidates even if they have to hold their noses to do so. However, some black voters feel perfectly fine sitting out an election because of perceived distrust of the politicians on the ballot. Most black folk simply will not vote for politicians they do not trust.
I have told this story in part before, but the Democratic ill-advised strategy must have certainly justified this black man’s distrust of white politicians.
In 2010, while canvassing in the Atlanta area for the midterm election, I came upon a black man who voted for President Obama and held him in high esteem. However, he was adamant that he would not vote for a white politician. He declared, very frankly, “I ain’t voting for no white dude.”
To say that I was stunned is an understatement. “But President Obama needs your help,” I said, trying to convince him to change his thinking. “He can’t get his agenda through if Republicans take over.”
“Oh, I’ll vote for the brotha, he replied, “but I ain’t voting for no white dude, sistah.”
“But the “brotha” is not on the ballot, the white politicians who will help him are on the ballot.”
“Yeah, I hear you sistah, but you can’t trust these white politicians especially down here in Georgia. They say one thing and do another. They don’t care about blacks down here. They just think all we want is welfare and food stamps. Hell, I work sometimes 50 hours a week. I don’t want nobody to give me nothing. He went on to say, “I got principles. I can’t be voting for no politicians when I know they’re just lying right in your face and saying stuff to get in office then once in there, they don’t do a damn thing.”
We can debate whether he should have disregarded his “principles” and voted anyway for the greater good or that I should have argued more vigorously to get him to change his mind, but I had not engaged a so-called lazy voter. He was very clear about why he wasn’t going to vote, and unfortunately, his thinking is pervasive amongst many blacks who are very straightforward in telling you they don’t trust white politicians.
GOP voters vs. Democratic voters
Democrats are not like Republicans when it comes to voting. GOP voters would vote for the animated character “Dumbo the Elephant” if they were convinced that he could win because they want power more than anything else. They don’t care if the candidate is a bigot, homophobe, misogynist, racist, qualified or unqualified, dumb or stupid. They have one criterion for their candidates: Can they beat the Democrats?
Democratic voters are much more principled when it comes to voting, some might say to a fault, and will support politicians they trust, those that will stand by his or her word. However, they will not vote just as a show of loyalty to the Party or just to say Democrats beat Republicans. They see power in being a courageous fighter, honest, and trustworthy.
The Obama Winning Strategy
President Obama inspired voters of all stripes (black folk, young people, first time voters, Asians, Hispanics, single white women) to see his vision of America as a more equal society and more tolerant of diversities. He encouraged Democratic voters and gave them a reason to vote. He motivated them to stand and take matters into their own hands. He won their trust and they followed him. He didn’t play ‘chicken little the sky is falling’ with them. His message was uplifting, optimistic, and positive. He told voters repeatedly that it would be hard. He warned them here would be “setbacks” and “false starts” and asked for their patience. As a result, he had two successful and historic elections. Unfortunately, the 2014 losing Democratic candidates did not give Democratic voters enough of a reason to vote.
President Obama changed the game about how to drive the Democratic base to the polls. Unless leaders of the DNC, DCCC, DSCC and other Democratic organizations and political strategists adopt The Obama Winning Strategy of inspire, encourage, motivate, and win their trust, Democrats will continue to lose elections, which is something the Country cannot afford because ALL Americans regardless of party affiliation, gender, race or station in life benefit greatly from Democratic policies.
That's my yada yada and I’m sticking to it!