On his radio show, Bill Cunningham asked Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "[I]f Obama was white as chalk, do you think that [Colin] Powell would be endorsing the Democrat? He didn't endorse Gore, he didn't endorse Kerry. I think color trumps everything in his mind." Peterson responded: "That's right, because if it was about what Barack Obama stood for, then he would have endorsed Gore and all those guys, but he did not. You know, it's so sad, my friend, that most black people today are racist. Not all, not all -- but most of them are racist."
On his radio show, Michael Savage said, "Do you think Colin Powell came out for BO [Sen. Barack Obama] because of his race? Duh." He later added: "[F]orgive me for being so blunt -- but it seems to Michael Savage that the only people who don't seem to vote based on race are white people of European origin."
Quinn & Rose co-host Rose Tennent asserted that former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama "because he doesn't want to be known as an Uncle Tom anymore. He wants to be black again." Co-host Jim Quinn later said of Powell, "He's tired of being called an Oreo."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, responding to Rush Limbaugh's claims that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama was all "about race":
"I don't know how you get into this tribalist talk. We could make all kinds of assumptions, but we have no knowledge of a person's inner beliefs. ... You know what drives me crazy? When somebody says "well, I know you're Catholic, so you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're jewish, you must believe this.' Or 'I know you're black, you must believe this.' Give us all a break, Rush. Let us think. Let us think. Let us decide."
That's quite a shift from April, when Matthews said:
What is the Catholic vote, Mike Barnicle? It isn't like a vote like, for example, if you're a Jewish voter probably you care about Israel, that's a safe bet. You have one key concern. I can't think of other groups that would make it that simple. But clearly, if you're African-American, you care about civil rights. You care about certain programs of the federal government. That's a generalization, but probably true. You're more progressive. But Catholics -- where would you put them? Is there a squirrel box or a rabbit hole you can put them in politically?
And from March, when he said of Obama: "this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he's good at basketball doesn't surprise anybody, but the fact that he's that terrible at bowling does make you wonder."
There's an online push to get NBC to look beyond middle-aged white men when it fills the Meet the Press moderator chair following the election season:
"Meet the Press" is the number one rated Sunday morning public affairs program. The program influences the outcome of elections, advances public policy and enhances the prestige of invited guests. It is no longer acceptable to lock women and people of color out of the corridors of power.
Here's where you can sign the petition.
We earlier noted that the press is spending an awful lot of time hyping the so-called Bradley effect and leaning heavily on the idea that Obama's big lead could still evaporate.
We noted the oddity of so many Bradley effect reports sprouting up despite the lack of evidence that it's been seen in America in decades. To us, the press attention seems more like an easy way to inject some drama into the increasingly drama-less campaign.
The latest to tackle to topic is Time and we're not sure whether to praise or mock its effort. We'd mock Time because it manages to join the media caravan detailing the somewhat soggy story:
Politicos are abuzz over the last hurdle Obama must clear in his path to the presidency: a phenomenon known as the "Bradley effect."
But we'd praise Time because it concludes:
The Bradley effect may be this fall's paper tiger: an old theory re-heated by the media because there's not much left to talk about.
For the record, Time thinks the Bradley effect is just a way for the press to juice up the campaign storyline. So Time then spends time addressing the Bradley effect.
In a report on ACORN's voter registration drives, CNN's Drew Griffin asked an ACORN official: "[W]hy is the deputy city commissioner of Philadelphia telling me that ACORN is hiring recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless people, who are so desperate to get money that they know that, if they don't make their quota, they just fill in any old name?" After the official responded, "That is not the point," Griffin asked: "But has it presented itself as a problem to ACORN? Wouldn't ACORN like to run a nice, clean, smooth voter registration drive?"
To us, the stories have the same ring as the McCain "comeback" narrative, and that the press seems more interested in injecting some missing drama into the campaign (Obama could still lose!), than advancing real news stories.
The problem, as illustrated by the ABC story, is that despite the breathless headlines, there's very little that's news to substantiate the Bradley effect narrative, which is named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, who he ran for California governor in 1982 and lost, despite pre-Election Day polls showing him with a comfortable lead. The theory was that voters mislead pollsters about whether they would vote for a minority candidate.
The issue is a legitimate one for debate and discussion. It's just that in terms of the press presenting it as a burning news issue right now, there were few if any examples of The Bradley effect during the very long primary season. Polling pro's say there hasn't been a clear example of the Bradley effect in decades. And the Obama campaign claims the notion is absurd:
"I think this is a completely overblown story," said Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, saying concerns about hidden racism skewing polling data are "ridiculous."
Despite the lack of empirical evidence, the Bradley effect lives on, fueling anxiety and nervousness among many Democrats that Obama's lead will disappear on Election Day.
Radio host Bill Cunningham stated: "I think there will be 100 cities burning if Barack loses. Yeah, that's what the black intelligentsia says." Cunningham also asserted that "Flavor Flav, 50 Cent, and Diddy" are "really in charge of the [Obama] Inaugural [Ball]."
On his radio show, Michael Savage said that "not all Muslims are terrorists," then falsely asserted that "all terrorists happen to be Muslim." Savage stated: "I am a believer in all five of the world's religions. As long as they're peace-loving and are pro-American, as far as I'm concerned, all religions are equal." He continued, "However, when you consider the fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists happen to be Muslim and that the 19 hijackers who destroyed the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were Muslim, mainly from Saudi Arabia, we have a very real obligation to remember that."
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity again claimed that "[n]obody in the Republican Party" is bringing up race in the context of the presidential campaign. In fact, several Republican officials and supporters have brought up the issue of Obama's race, made racial innuendos, or used his middle name.
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On his radio show, Jim Quinn said that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, whom he referred to as "the Queen Bee," "hated" Sen. Hillary Clinton "because she didn't want Hillary to be the most important woman in Washington." He added: "[I]t seems to be a trait that flows through, for whatever reasons, the gender, if you will."