Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cherry Picking Bigotry

Mark Hyman makes a spirited attack on bigotry in a recent commentary. Too bad he gets the facts wrong and shoots himself in the foot in the process.

Specifically, Hyman takes to task Adam Howard, a columnist for The Nation, who recently wrote
a short piece hypothesizing that some recent African American candidates put up for election by the GOP were chosen primarily to help siphon off Democratic votes, not because of any newfound concern over minority issues.

Hyman claims Howard is a bigot who thinks that “all blacks should think, believe, live, act and vote the exact same way” and that “Howard's bigoted position is that blacks who have any opinion contrary to the very narrow views he believes all blacks should adhere to he calls ‘stooges.’” (Don’t spend a lot of time trying to scan that last sentence of Hyman’s; it’s not grammatical).

But Hyman makes an elementary mistake in reading comprehension. Howard’s reference to “stooges” is aimed specifically at three prominent black candidates running for office (as in “The Three Stooges”).

And why does he call these particular candidates “stooges”? Not because they have different points of views on issues than most African Americans, but because they’ve taken specific stands that objectively hurt the African American community.

Lynn Swann, a political novice, advocates cuts in food stamps and welfare. The infamous Ken Blackwell helped disenfranchise thousands of African American voters.

The most interesting case for us, however, is Maryland Senate candidate and current Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, who recently said he had no problem with Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich going to an all-white country club.

This is particularly interesting because Mark Hyman used to work with Ehrlich when the governor was a representative in Congress. And, as we know, Sinclair Broadcasting has had a quid pro quo relationship with Ehrlich that’s violated ethical lines a number of times.

Of course, Hyman fails to disclose his relationship with Ehrlich, or that between Sinclair and the governor. But should we be surprised that he comes to the rabid defense of Ehrlich’s underling when he’s criticized?

Hyman’s right about one thing: bigots can be of any color. But perhaps Hyman should look at the overt bigotry of his former boss’s appearance at an all-white country club and the lieutenant governor’s vocal support of this appearance before he decides to do some creative misreading of an a column in The Nation to come up with an example of liberal bigotry. Of course, if he’s *really* interested in stopping bigotry, he should begin by looking in the mirror.

Oh, and one more thing: in a delicious bit of unintentional humor, Hyman manages to commit the very sin he accuses others of when he offers up this gem:

Most black Americans are probably fed-up with the tired old liberal
stereotype that all blacks should think, believe, live, act and vote the exact
same way. [emphasis added]


And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.55


At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most die-hard Republicans are probably tired of being portrayed as pro-idiotic-war, pro-rich, anti-middle-class, pro-torture, pro-child-abuse, pro-creationist, and pro-lobbyist.


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