Mainstream Media Begins Stoking the “Racist” Fires

Here we go, the setup: McCain starts to catch up in the polls, and the media starts playing the race card. This is the first story I’ve seen that mentions racism explicitly as an explanation for McCain’s recent gains, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. 

Note the tagline that showed up in my RSS reader:

John McCain hopes for an opening in rural Pennsylvania, where race talk is sometimes submerged, sometimes open.

The very clear implication here is that McCain is looking to exploit this racism, whether it’s as significant as the story makes out, or not. And as much as I don’t like McCain, I don’t believe for a second that he would use racism to get elected, nor allow his campaign to do so. In fact, I can only imagine the care that McCain’s campaign is taking, consider that some people are quick to equate his (entirely valid) socialism charge with race-baiting.

Here’s a snippet:

Such sentiments could bode ill for Mr. McCain, who hopes for a surprise victory in Pennsylvania to rescue his presidential bid. And they dovetail with poll findings that show a gravitation of white voters, female and male, toward Mr. Obama’s camp. To try to stanch that flow and tap into doubts about Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain will return to the state on Monday for the second time in a week and then appear on Tuesday with Ms. Palin as they try to sway voters like Mr. Piroli.

I’m sure there are “doubts about Obama,” just as there are doubts–mentioned in the article–about McCain’s age and Palin’s qualifications. Or, as the article puts it, there are those who feel that “McCain is too old and Ms. Palin too unsophisticated.”

The evidence for the seething racism?

Mr. McCain may have an opening: 35 interviews over three days offer up a conversation about race and presidential choices, and that is where the greatest uncertainty lies for Mr. Obama. Sometimes race talk runs like a subterranean river. Sometimes it floats right on the surface.

35 interviews conducted over 3 days–I can only imagine how hard the reporters worked the streets looking for a racist or 35 to drum up. John Murtha would be proud of such efforts. And note that it’s the writer himself that mentions “the opening.” There’s no evidence mentioned anywhere in the article that McCain or his campaign are actually looking to exploit whatever racism actually exists. Instead, the articles goes on:

“This is McCain’s Hail Mary; they looked at the huge margin here for Hillary Clinton in the primary and figured, ‘Hmm, we have a shot,’ ” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster. “But it’s going to be very difficult here for him to get the margins needed to offset the cities and the eastern suburbs.”

Now that makes perfect sense, of course, for the McCain campaign to exploit areas where Clinton’s strength necessarily hints at an Obama weakness. I’m sure the campaign has been looking for such areas all over the country, and has tried to exploit them, as well. But the quote itself says nothing about racism, and it’s actually a bit of a non sequitur, coming as it does in an article with racism as its central thesis.  

I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that if Obama does lose, the mainstream media’s story won’t be about Joe the Plumber and taxes. It will be about how America remains too racist to elect a black President. I do hope I’m terribly, terribly wrong, but I’m afraid that the mainstream media will end up making a race war out of the whole thing.

And that’s something this country just can’t afford.

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