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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Attack on Sotomayor: White Nationalist Outrage!!!!

The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States may have defeated white nationalism in the body politic but the election did not defeat the white nationalist ideologues. On November 4, 2008, America became a lot bluer. The New York Times demonstrated that Obama’s election showed Republicans to be almost a regional party, with the rest of America trending bluer. Profound changes that have taken place with regard to racism since the days of Jim Crow. Overwhelmingly, older Black Americans never thought they would see the day when a Black man would become president. In the face of America’s white nationalist legacy, the changes have been profound.

Scott Simon on NPR reminded us that May 30 was the birthday of Benny Goodman. Important among his achievements was that he was the first to perform at Carnie Hall in 1938 with a black musicians, almost ten years before Jackie Robinson broke into Major League Baseball. Today, it is taken for granted that artists perform without regard for race. Will Smith, Tiger Woods, the Williams sisters and so many other Black public figures have become major marketing icons. While still a very small percentage, marriages across racial lines are no longer a novelty. The acceptance of African Americans into the hearts and minds of most Americans is certainly supportive of the idea that white nationalism is no longer hegemonic. The election of Obama is indicative of that.

On the other hand, it should not have been expected that white nationalism that is deeply embedded in America’s history would die without a fight. Having been defeated at the ballot box, the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor has given the white nationalist ideologues some “meat” for a fight back. Judge Sotomayor is being attacked because she recognizes and gives legitimacy to her existence and experience as a Latina. She is being opposed on the basis that she does not a priori legitimize white nationalism. A fraud like Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, she is not! She is qualified. Led by the white nationalism of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gringrich, Tom Tancredo, and Joe Scarborough, among others, the racist attacks on Judge Sotomayor have been nothing short of outrageous. Unabashed white nationalist, Patrick Buchanan, accuses Judge Sotomayor of discriminating against white males. The racists have made her nomination the ideological battle to promote white males as the victims of “reverse discrimination.”

This attack on Sotomayor is an attack by the white nationalists to maintain their hegemony. It is time that these racist arguments be beaten back. The election of Barack Obama was a direct challenge to the hegemonic character of white nationalism. The nationalist campaign against Sotomayor is an attack on the rights of people of color and to re-establish the acceptability of the norm of racism in America.

We must resist allowing the media and their right wing pundits to set the agenda in this debate. We must fight back. When it comes to the Supreme Court, it must be exposed for what it has been. The question must be asked as to whether Chief Justice Roger G. Taney’s being a slaveholder had any relevance in the Dred Scott case? Why is it ok for Associate Justice Alito can take into account to discrimination against his Italian immigrants when he is deciding a case and not for Judge Sotomayor. This hypocrisy and racism is an attack on us all.
Media Matters exposes of these vicious attacks. RGN

POTUS picks "bigot" "liberal" "radical" "racist" "reverse racist" "activist" "socialist" "Marxist" "anti-constitutionalist" "affirmative action" nominee for SCOTUS

Be sure to bookmark Judicial Matters for the latest on conservative misinformation in media coverage of President Obama's Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

On Tuesday morning, President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. In the four short days that followed, understandably, most of the media's attention has centered on the nominee, though much of that attention has been riddled with conservative misinformation.
Yesterday, Media Matters released a special report noting that in coverage of Obama's announcement, the media have advanced numerous myths and falsehoods about Sotomayor. In some cases, the media assert the falsehoods themselves; in others, they report unchallenged the claims of others.

The report suggests that in addition to evaluating these claims on their merits, the media should also consistently report that conservatives were reportedly very clear about their intentions to oppose Obama's nominee, no matter who it was. Their attacks must be assessed in the context of their reported plans to use the confirmation process to, among other things, "help refill depleted coffers and galvanize a movement demoralized by Republican electoral defeats."

As documented in the report, the myths that have emerged or resurfaced since Sotomayor's nomination was announced include:
• Sotomayor advocated legislating from the bench
• Sotomayor said, "Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges"
• Sotomayor's Supreme Court reversal rate is "high"
• Liberal judges like Sotomayor are "activist[s]"
• Sotomayor was "[s]oft on New Jersey [c]orruption"
• New Haven firefighters case shows Sotomayor is an "activist"
• Sotomayor lacks the intellect to be an effective justice
• Sotomayor is "domineering" and "a bit of a bully"
• "Empathy" is code for "liberal activist"

Be sure to read the entire report for a detailed breakdown of the facts dispelling these right-wing myths and falsehoods.

In all, this week, Media Matters released more than 100 research items, blog posts, video clips, and columns surrounding media coverage of the Supreme Court and Sotomayor's nomination.

As the week went on, it became clearer that Sotomayor would be a victim of attacks from conservatives in the media reminiscent of those on Obama:
• MSNBC's Pat Buchanan called Sotomayor a "lightweight," "an anti-white, liberal judicial activist." He and his sister Bay both claimed that Sotomayor's nomination was the result of "affirmative action."
• Media Matters' Eric Boehlert went head-to-head with former Rep. Tom Tancredo on CNN over the context of Sotomayor's past comments. During the segment, Tancredo claimed Sotomayor was a member of the "Latino KKK," earning the right-wing former congressman the mocking of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
• Jeffrey Kuhner, filling in for right-wing radio host Michael Savage, claimed Sotomayor believes "that America is a racist, sexist, homophobic and misogynist society."
• Fox News' Glenn Beck said Sotomayor's appointment was more evidence of a Marxist "hostile takeover" of the United States. He also called her a "racist," who "is not that bright" and "divisive."
• Savage described Sotomayor as "Chairman O's pick for the Supreme Court" and a "radical activist."
• Radio host and conservative movement leader Rush Limbaugh called Sotomayor "an angry woman," "bigot," and "racist."
• Mark Krikorian, over at the National Review Online, had an issue with the pronunciation of Sotomayor's name, writing that "it sticks in my craw."
• Fox News' Sean Hannity claimed Obama turned "his back on Mainstream America" by nominating "the most divisive nominee possible," a "radical."
• Politico's Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin initially reported that Sotomayor was "a Latina single mother" despite the fact that Sotomayor has no children.
If media coverage of week one of the Sotomayor nomination is any indication, it's going to be a long, hot summer. Fear not, though -- Media Matters will be there through it all.

Other major stories this week:
Is there something in the water at Fox Nation?
Back in March, while promoting its newly launched website,, Fox News ran advertisements telling viewers that "[i]t's time to say 'no' to biased media and 'yes' to fair play and free speech." In the weeks since the website's launch, Media Matters has documented more than 50 instances where Fox Nation failed to come close to the bias-free, "fair play" standard set out by Fox News.
This week has been particularly awful. Case in point:
• Fox Nation is just asking: "Sotomayor Argued Death Penalty Is Racist... Is She?"
• With picture of burning WTC, Fox Nation wonders if Obama has "Pre-9/11 Mindset"
• Fox Nation: "Need Another Tea Party? National Sales Tax 'on the Table' "
• Fox Nation baselessly claims Sotomayor "Wants to Ban Guns"
• Fox News still trafficking in birth certificate theories
• Continuing to be "bias"-free, Fox Nation calls Obama "Cocky Barack"
Be sure to check out the Media Matters archive on Free Republic ... er, Fox Nation.

Rush Limbaugh's Failure-palooza
By now, everybody watching the Obama administration remembers Rush Limbaugh's well wishes for the new president the day before his inauguration -- that's when El Rushbo said, "I hope Obama fails." The comment picked up a head of steam in the press, provoking Limbaugh to elaborate two days later, saying, "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black." A month later, Rush let us all in on "the dirty little secret," as he described it, that "every Republican in this country wants Obama to fail, but none of them have the guts to say so; I am willing to say it."
Since then, Rush has been quick to wish failure on all kinds of things. For example, back in February, Limbaugh said, "I want the stimulus package to fail." In March, he strangely compared his hope for Obama's failure to a Steelers fan wanting the Cardinals' QB to fail in the Super Bowl. The same month, he seemed to offer up some reverse psychology, claiming, "If there's anybody who wants America as it was founded to fail, it's Barack Obama."

And so, Rush Limbaugh's failure-palooza marched on this week as news of Obama's selection of Sotomayor for a seat on the Supreme Court was reported. Without skipping a beat, Limbaugh said of the president's nominee: "Do I want her to fail? Yeah."

To give you an idea of how completely warped Rush's thinking is, two days after his Sotomayor "fail" comments, Limbaugh claimed, "This country is failing because President Obama is succeeding."

So, was it Sasquatch or Chupacabra driving the Chrysler?
Another week, another bizarre conspiracy theory from the right. Eric Boehlert brings us the story of the budding Obama scandal that's been hatched this week within the right-wing blogosphere, which has all the hallmarks of previous failed Obama conspiracy theories. The latest centers on the idea that Obama's White House, as part of the automaker's restructuring, personally selected which Chrysler dealership would be closed. Not only that, but the Obama White House punished dealerships whose owners gave campaign contributions to Republicans. The horror!

Conservative bloggers excitedly claim that their research proves a massive conspiracy's afoot. Their research? A laundry list of names of dealers who have indeed given money to the GOP and have indeed been closed down as part of the GM restructuring. So why doesn't that prove Obama has a hit list? First, because nearly 800 dealerships are being closed down, yet bloggers detail campaign contributions for less than 10 percent of those dealership owners. Second, all the bloggers actually prove is that a lot of dealership owners are Republicans. Does that surprise anyone?

Statistician Nate Silver demolishes the theory with actual research, noting, "It shouldn't be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote -- and donate -- Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don't own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can't think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party."
This week's media columns

This week's media columns from the Media Matters senior fellows: Eric Boehlert asks why Washington Post columnists didn't call Cheney a disgrace; Jamison Foser looks at how suddenly it's OK to call a judicial nominee a racist; and Karl Frisch discusses the Right's supremely flawed opening argument against Sotomayor.
Don't forget to order your autographed copy of Eric Boehlert's compelling new book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press (Free Press, May 2009).
Do you Facebook or Twitter?
If you use the social networking site Facebook, be sure to join the official Media Matters page and those of our senior fellows Eric Boehlert, Jamison Foser, and Karl Frisch as well. You can also follow Media Matters, Boehlert, Foser, and Frisch on Twitter!
This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Karl Frisch, a senior fellow at Media Matters. Frisch also contributes to County Fair, a media blog featuring links to progressive media criticism from around the Web as well as original commentary.

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