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Whitey Pride

Now that it's "official" (and, more importantly, almost guaranteed to be true) that there is no Michelle Obama "whitey" tape, I think it's a good time to look at the whole mess and try to learn what lessons ought to be learned from it.

I'm feeling a bit arrogant about this topic; I figured from the outset it was bogus, and stayed the hell away from it, and now I feel a bit validated -- and want to crow a little.

The first lesson is one I've repeated many times: "The more something tends to confirm your own beliefs and prejudices and desires, the more suspicious you need to be about it." There are a lot of us who do not want to see Barack Obama elected president, and some of us aren't overly concerned with how he is defeated. To those people (not me, I feel I must say), the "whitey" tape was a gift from the heavens.

I've fallen for this a couple of times, and I still nurse grudges over those who deceived me. I have yet to forgive the London Police Department after they killed a suspected terrorist on a subway. The guy turned out to be innocent, but he'd done everything wrong to make the police believe he was a dangerous, fleeing terrorist.

But he didn't. One cop made a bad call, and the rest of the department covered for him and lied and threw as much dirt as they could on Mr. de Menzies to cover up their own screwup, and I don't know when I will ever put much stock in them -- or if I ever should.

The next lesson is "know your sources." From the outset, the only people willing to go on the record and talk publicly were Larry Johnson and Bob Beckel. Johnson traded on his background in the CIA, but was a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter. And Beckel is a lifetime Democratic activist with, shall we say, some shady moments in his past. Both men had a great deal to gain in seeing the rumor spread, and neither was willing to "put up or shut up." To me, this waved its arms and shouted "Danger, danger, Will Robinson!"

This doesn't mean that they were automatically wrong. Indeed, sometimes such people are the best sources -- they are the most strongly motivated to root out such things. But they are also the ones who are the most tempted to just make things up, to suit their own ends. Don't put any stock in their word alone -- verify it before you run with it.

The third lesson is one I am ashamed that I didn't learn beforehand. It's that there are those on the left who will cheerfully commit the most unethical and underhanded deeds, then later turn around and blame it on the right. And the media will not only allow them to get away with it, but will cheerfully aid and abet them in doing so. This whole "whitey" tape is a perfect example. It was pushed by a lifetime Democratic activist and party bigwig, and a hyper-partisan Hillary Clinton supporter.

But that is being quickly brushed under the carpet. Now, if you pay attention to the current narrative, it was right wingers in the blogosphere and talk radio who were hyping the hell out of the story. Indeed, in what could be the new definition of chutzpah, Bob Beckel himself is on record as saying "let these crackers and right-wingers prove it" before they come out with these rumors.

This whole story is degenerating into the kind of paranoid fantasy that is often laid at the feet of Karl Rove. Except, in those cases, it's aimed the other way and so cunningly crafted that there is never any actual evidence that points to Rove -- which, of course, is just absolute proof that he was behind it all anyway.

So, what do we do about it? Two things come to mind:

Keep up our skepticism about any new "bombshells" being peddled, especially by those who have no reason to love us and every reason to see those bombshells We, as a group, did pretty good at resisting this one.

But more importantly, don't let the second part of the smear succeed. The primary target was to "get" Barack Obama, and it failed miserably. But the secondary target, the consolation prize, was us -- to get the blame for the rumor pinned on "right-wingers" when it blew up.

Guess what, Bob Beckel and friends: it wasn't us. It was you. We have documented proof of it, and we will NOT let you stick us with holding YOUR bag.

No matter how hard you and your co-conspirators in the media try to push it.


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Comments (22)

You mean you can't check EV... (Below threshold)
Candy:

You mean you can't check EVERYTHING on snopes??? :)

JT, right on. I said yester... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, right on. I said yesterday in another comments section that this rumor story again proves how the MSM is in the tank for the dems. Just like the Bush lied story, etc. It is brazen, but thankfully they aren't fooling anyone. Most political eyes have been opened. ww

Limbaugh, who was the main ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Limbaugh, who was the main focus of this smear, got caught up in it for merely talking about it and also mentioning that the source was not reliable as it was the same guy who said karl rove was indicted. It's a typical left wing tactic, so don't try to get all high and mighty here with an "i told you so". The left does this all the time. get used to it, or fight back, but try not to scold those of us consumers of news for the things the left wingers are blaming us for.

"The more somethin... (Below threshold)
"The more something tends to confirm your own beliefs and prejudices and desires, the more suspicious you need to be about it."

Heh. And if Dan Rather and Mary Mapes had only remembered this, their careers would be intact today.

The whole thing was definit... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The whole thing was definitely concocted by Larry Johnson, a sleazebag lefty. Some on the right were taken in, others were skeptical but hopeful, and still others just thought it was bogus.

However, most of those who thought it was bogus did for the wrong reason. The most common response I've heard from those people is along the lines of what Jay wrote,

It had, at its core, a certain plausibility

but that Michelle Obama is too smart to say such a thing publicly. This response, I'm guessing, is most common among white people who don't know many blacks. I work on the south side of Chicago, not too far from Obama's home and his super-evil!!1! church. I've lived here for many years. I've never once heard a black person call anyone "whitey". Never. I'm not saying there aren't plenty of blacks who don't like whites, but its just not a term they use. They call us (gasp!) "white people". Horrible, I know. I did get called whiteboy once by a pissed off black woman, but that is the only time I've ever heard anyone use any sort of alternate term. So whenever I hear people say, "I doubt it, but it's plausible," I think, you don't know many black people, do you?

Another red flag, which most have ignored, is the fact that Barack Obama's mother is white, as are the grandparents who raised him for much of his life. Do you really think his wife hates white people (hey, it's plausible!)?

So no, the story did not have, at its core, any plausibility. But the idea that right-wingers would make up such a story does have a certain plausibility, and that's why people will believe it, even though it was a left-wing scumbag who made it up.

Really Mantis????I... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Really Mantis????

I lived in Oakland and got called a hell of a lot worse than "Whitey".

The story is only plausible when you examine the entire record AND are willing to believe that ANY race can be prejudice against any other.

The tape did not need to ex... (Below threshold)
914:

The tape did not need to exist, accept for Hillary's benefit. The 20 year affiliation at Trinity said as much as the alledged tape.

I lived in Oakland and g... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I lived in Oakland and got called a hell of a lot worse than "Whitey".

I'm not saying black people don't call white people names, or worse names, I'm saying I've never heard any of them use the word "whitey". Who talks like that? Curious, what have you been called? Are you talking racial slurs? What, cracker? Btw, I used to live in Oakland, so I'm familiar with the slang out there too (the ten year old slang, anyway).

The story is only plausible when you examine the entire record AND are willing to believe that ANY race can be prejudice against any other.

Examine what entire record (do you mean Michelle's? I doubt you have examined shit beyond what you might hear on Hannity)? I am willing to believe any race can be prejudiced, I just don't believe black people run around calling people "whitey". At least not in Chicago.

I'm curious; who were the r... (Below threshold)

I'm curious; who were the right wing guys who took this story and ran with it and made a big deal over it? The reactions on the rw blogs I frequent ranged from "skeptical" to "dismissive" based primarily on the extreme unreliability of Larry Johnson.

Did Hannity or some other talk radio host get suckered?

There's a video with Beckel... (Below threshold)
Clay:

There's a video with Beckel's statements then and now side by side in a single clip. Very, ahem, interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyWiRQXaR8A

...and, just for the record... (Below threshold)
Clay:

...and, just for the record: This is not the Bob Beckel that I knew.

I know you wrote it tongue-... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I know you wrote it tongue-in-cheek, but your title nicely sums up this sentiment from the Texas Republican state convention.

Stay classy, Texas.

Hey jerk-offs Larry Johnson... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

Hey jerk-offs Larry Johnson and Bobby Beckel nice try, keep up the good work...MSM is just waiting for any juicy crap you can fabricate..

Sincerely,
your mythical right wing, honky, whitey bag man...

The tape may have been inve... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The tape may have been invented by a lefty scumbag, but you can't deny that right-wing blogs ran with it. Heck, some even saw two weeks ago how this would play out, but few (including Wizbang's own Kim) allowed reason to prevail. Even Jay, whose post is factually correct, just sat back silently for weeks while the right-wing blogs fanned the flames of the rumor. Only once it was shown to be bogus does Jay stand up to say he knew it all along, and that right-wing sites have no culpability in the frenzy.

Yep. Thank goodness we have... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Yep. Thank goodness we have the Democrats to thank for lifting the black man up from the mire. Al Gore has said it best:

"My commitment to civil rights is a deeply personal one. I watched my father when he was, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, take courageous stands for civil rights. He opposed the poll tax in the 40s, and supported civil rights in the 50s, he supported voting rights in 1963, and was one of two Southern Senators to refuse to sign the hateful Southern Manifesto opposing integration in our schools. He lost his Senate seat because his [sic] stands."

There are some minor problems with Gore's statements: Al Gore Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in fact he participated in a 74 day filibuster to delay and weaken the legislation. Al Gore Sr. proposed an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that would have kept federal funds flowing to schools that defied court desegregation orders. It was defeated by a vote of 74-25. 23 Democrats and 1 Republican voted for it.

Stay classy, Al Gore!

hey mantis, i live in seatt... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

hey mantis, i live in seattle. i've been called honkey, cracker, and whitey. by the same people who think all white people are racist.

Guess what, Bob Be... (Below threshold)
jp2:
Guess what, Bob Beckel and friends: it wasn't us. It was you. We have documented proof of it, and we will NOT let you stick us with holding YOUR bag.

Such a strong, manly stand on such an important topic. Your courage is infallible.

Actually, Brian, I called i... (Below threshold)

Actually, Brian, I called it bullshit over two weeks ago -- just not here.

To quote myself:

I don't think that it's a "why'd he/whitey" confusion. I think it's just sheer and utter bullshit. It's the equivalent of the "October Surprise" from 1988, or Jason Leopold's "Karl Rove has been secretly indicted" -- all smoke, no fire.

The only thing that makes even the slightest sense is that Larry Johnson heard (fifth-hand or even further removed) that such a tape existed, and figured if he talked about having it, he might smoke out the actual tape, as the possessor would think they better get it out before Johnson scooped him.

And since it hasn't come out yet, I think it's safe to assume no such tape exists.

And Johnson has just flushed any credibility he might have ever had and -- if there's any justice -- any he might ever have with this.

Stupid dipshit.

Before now, I didn't think it worth talking about here. I think, deep down, I knew we "right-wingers" would get blamed for it, even if we debunked it -- which is what's going on right now. So I left it alone here, waiting for it to blow up -- and it did.

J.

mantis - em>"I just don't b... (Below threshold)
marc:

mantis - em>"I just don't believe black people run around calling people "whitey". At least not in Chicago."

Don't listen to much rap music do ya? "Whitey" and every other childish invective are used on a regular basis.

Actually, Brian, I calle... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Actually, Brian, I called it bullshit over two weeks ago -- just not here.

Oh yes, Jay, such conviction that you had, sticking your opinion in a comment at another blog when you have a bully pulpit right here.

Before now, I didn't think it worth talking about here. I think, deep down, I knew we "right-wingers" would get blamed for it

Well, that's reason to keep quiet about it right there, eh?

So I left it alone here, waiting for it to blow up -- and it did.

OK, so knowing something will blow up on you and waiting until it does before acting: good. Let's make a note of that.

Methinks someone is bitter,... (Below threshold)
epador:

Methinks someone is bitter, a biter, a bit too snide.
Perhaps his problem is a very thin hide?
Or just a little ego-challenged, micro-peter sized
Looking for vacuum enlargement, self-esteem aggrandized.
Alas there is no treatment that can be recommended
For those that live in constant DIS - belief suspended.

epador, while your descript... (Below threshold)
Brian:

epador, while your description of Jay is largely accurate, you're being far too hard on him. Besides, it's not the first time he's sat on the sidelines and then later claimed prescience.




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