Frank Rich is an Awful Person

I’m sure that you all remember the so called “disastrous” Senate race of former Virginia Senator George Allen back in 2006. However, it is extremely difficult to run a successful race of any kind when the mainstream media (particularly The Washington Post) is literally waging a jihad against you, but I digress. Anyway, you all are probably wondering what George Allen and Barack Obama have in common? The answer is that they have more in common than you might think and, if you all will bear with me, I will gladly demonstrate the similarities between their two races, and yet, how their treatment from the main stream media was so drastically different.

In 2006, immediately after the Republicans lost the congress to the Democrats, Frank Rich wrote this op-ed here. In it he called George Allen “an awful person”. One of the reasons why Mr. Rich refers to Allen as “an awful person”, is because Allen didn’t openly discuss the fact that his mother was Jewish. Frank Rich even referred to Allen’s mother as a “closeted Jew” in his offensive column. Never mind the fact that Allen’s mother saw her father dragged away by the Nazis in the middle of the night, so when she came to America, she never even told Allen that she was Jewish (and she converted to Christianity) until a local reporter asked him about his mother’s Jewish ethnicity during his 2006 Senate run (the reporter, Peggy Fox, said that his mother’s Jewish ethnicity was about “honesty”). The Washington Post even explains that Allen’s grandfather was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis in this column here, in which they also try to justify themselves for calling up Allen’s 83 year old mother and harassing her about being Jewish and seeing her father arrested. The Post even tried to defend their repulsive behavior by stating that, “There are reasons to ask a candidate, especially one who has presidential aspirations, as Allen does, about religion and ethnicity”. Now, keep in mind, at the time, George Allen was just a candidate for the Senate—Barack Obama actually is a presidential candidate. So, by using The Washington Post’s logic, do you all think that any reporter is going to ask Obama about his Muslim stepfather (who, according to this article here, seems like a really cool and interesting guy) or father during a debate? I seriously doubt it—he or she would never work again (and rightly so I might add). Furthermore, do you think that The Washington Post is going to call up Obama’s eighty-something year old grandmother and ask her if Obama was ever a Muslim (Obama is a Christian, I am just making a point)? Of course not! It would be despicable. However, if the above behavior would be despicable if done to Barack Obama, then why wasn’t it despicable when it was done to George Allen? Is the media allowed to be despicable to people that they don’t like, but not to people that they do like? The double standard is shocking.

Now, about Barack Obama. First of all, I want to begin by stating that Jerome Corsi sounds like a bit of a crackpot according to what I’ve read from Peter Wehner and other sources (I wouldn’t waste my money on his book). I, personally, heard Corsi say on Hannity and Colmes the other night that “Obama has extensive connections to Islam”. Well, I looked into Corsi’s claim and found out that Obama had only minor Islamic influences during four years of his childhood (from ages 6-10). Obama’s father was raised a Muslim in Kenya (but by all accounts was an atheist), but Obama only met him once during his entire life, according to Wikipedia. From ages six to ten, Obama lived in Indonesia with his Christian mother and Indonesian stepfather, named Lolo Soetero, who, by all accounts, was hardly what one would call a devout Muslim. Obama attended a Catholic school for two years, and then attended a predominantly Muslim public school (NOT a “madrassa”) for two years where he studied the Koran (so what–so do many scholars, professors, exchange students, and CIA agents). Then, at the age of ten, Obama attended Punahou school, a Christian school in Hawaii (where he lived with his grandparents who were from KS), and stayed there until he graduated from high school. Furthermore, Senator Obama has been a Christian for most of his adult life. Therefore, Mr. Corsi’s characterization of Obama having “extensive connections to Islam” is an extreme overstatement–unless Mr. Corsi’s definition of “extensive” is vastly different than mine. Here is a video from Inside Edition covering Obama’s years in Indonesia, and here is an LA Times article that’s also about Obama’s time in Indonesia.

However, according to Frank Rich’s journalistic standards—or lack thereof—if George Allen’s mother is a “closeted Jew”, then Barack Obama must be a “closeted Muslim”. (Hey, none of you lurkers better freak out on me. I am making a point about what a sleaze Rich is—I am not making an accusation about Senator Obama.) In other words, Frank Rich has the same journalistic standards as Jerome Corsi–no, take that back. Jerome Corsi has higher journalistic standards than Frank Rich, because at least he uses footnotes.

Anyway, The Washington Post recently wrote an op-ed titled “Par for Mr. Corsi”, in which they discussed what a crackpot Corsi is and how offensive it is that Corsi was so willing to pry into Obama’s family’s religious beliefs, and cast aspersions that Obama was somehow keeping a secret. I completely agree with them. However, I wonder if they realize what complete and total hypocrites that they are, considering that that’s exactly what they did to George Allen.

On a side note, I just wanted to state that if Barack Obama does indeed lose the general election, it won’t because some voters thought that he might be a “secret Muslim”, as so many pundits have opined. (It will be because voters think that he is an inexperienced neophyte who has unsavory friends.) Yeah, yeah, I know that, according to some polls, something like 12 percent of Americans think that Obama’s a Muslim. However, I also saw a poll the other day that said 16 percent of Americans believe in Bigfoot and that eight percent of Americans believe that Bigfoot is a Muslim (OK, I made that last one up). Anyway, my point is that there will always be a small percentage of conspiracy theorists in tinfoil hats who believe anything that they read on the “interwebs”—and I’d be willing to bet that most of them probably don’t even vote (or if they do vote, they will probably vote for Ron Paul).

Now, I’m sure that we all remember Senator Allen’s so called “Macaca Moment”. I linked the video here just in case someone, somewhere, has yet to see it. I’m sure that all of you heard that it was meant as some sort of racial slur used by French Tunisians, and that Allen supposedly learned it from his mother (who was a French speaking Tunisian). However, does anyone know what the word “Macaca” actually means? Well, I took the trouble to look it up right here on Wikipedia. The word “Macaca” was a slur used by French colonist in North Africa for the Congolese natives. Well, if any of you really looked at S.R. Sidarth (the Jim Webb campaign aide whom Allen called “Macaca”), I don’t see how anyone could have mistook him for Congolese—or even North African/Moroccan (however, the word “Macaques” was the slur used for Moroccans). To me, Sidarth clearly looks Indian (but then again, my sister-in-law and my best friend are Indians). So either Allen knew what the slur meant, and how to use it, or he didn’t—he couldn’t have kind of known what it meant.

Furthermore, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, along with a multitude of other pundits, even speculated that Allen’s mother taught him the word “Macaca”. Is it just me, or is that a serious accusation to make against Allen’s mother (that she would deliberately teach her son a racial slur) without any proof? Amanda Carpenter discusses this accusation (among other things) in a really excellent column that successfully documents The Washington Post’s witch hunt against Allen.

And finally, the word “Macaca” is actually the Latin genus for the macaques monkey. Many argue that Allen somehow knew that the word “Macaca” was the genus for the macaques monkey, and that even if he didn’t learn it from his French speaking mother; he somehow knew what it meant, because—I don’t know—maybe Allen moonlights as a zoologist? I mean no disrespect to Senator Allen, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who has a running knowledge of primate taxonomy. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe George Allen secretly studies zoology so that he can come up with creative ways to slur his opponents’ campaign aides, but I doubt it.

Finally, I want to make it clear, that I don’t approve of Senator Allen, or anyone for that matter, calling anyone “Macaca”. It was definitely rude, boorish, and ungentlemanly behavior on Allen’s part, and he was right to apologize. However, I think that it takes it a bit too far to think that Allen and his mother were part of some racist conspiracy deliberately using zoological jargon. Besides, Allen looked directly into the camera (it wasn’t like he was caught on a hot mike or was secretly tape recorded like Obama was with his infamous “Bitter comments”), so I have to doubt that he honestly knew that the word “Macaca” was some sort of racial slur. Bottom line, only George Allen can honestly tell you what he really meant by “Macaca”. Anyway, Kathleen Parker has a really good column here about what she thought really happened with “Macaca”.

However, what is really interesting about the whole “Macaca” fiasco is the depth of coverage that The Washington Post chose to give it. According to Amanda Carpenter (in her excellent column which I previous linked to), The Washington Post ran a total of 30 news stories (10 on the front page), 10 editorials, and 4 style columns about “Macaca”. Yes, that is a grand total of 44 columns about “Macaca”. The Washington Post actually ran more columns about “Macaca” than they ran about Hamas. I mean, is it just me or is that a little extreme?

Now, let’s look at Senator Obama. Gee, I wonder if he has had any “Macaca moments” of his own? (I would define a “Macaca moment” as the mask slipping—i.e., an embarrassing Youtube worthy gaffe or sketchy close associations that reveals something about the candidate.) No, Senator Obama hasn’t had any “Macaca moments”. Oh wait, except for telling his opponent that she was “likeable enough” at a debate here, refusing to shake his opponent’s hand at The State of the Union Address here, calling PA voters “Bitter gun and Bible clingers” here, his pastor of 20 years being found out to be an anti-American racist here, and a visiting priest at his church proving that his church was a racist organization here. Oh and, here is a column, written by Jim Geraghty, that does an excellent job of documenting a bunch of sexist statements, that could also be called mini-“Macaca moments”, that Obama and his surrogates made about Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. Hypothetically speaking, could any of you imagine what the media would have done to George Allen (or any conservative male for that matter) if he had made any of those statements, about a female opponent, that Obama had made about Hillary? Yeah, that’s what I thought you would say—they would have crucified him. Anyway, I am not a betting woman, but I would be willing to bet, in this case, that The Washington Post probably didn’t do 44 stories on all of Obama’s “Macaca moments” put together. In fact, the boys over at Powerline wrote a column here about how The Washington Post was going out of its way to not cover the Reverend Wright controversy.

Oh, and on a side note, when the Reverend Wright controversy first broke, I remember the media as a whole, not just The Washington Post, going out of their way to suppress the story. In fact, I remember Anderson Cooper literally apologizing for having to cover both the Reverend Wright and the Father Pfleger controversies by asking, “Is this really important?” both times when each story broke. Furthermore, I also remember Time magazine’s Joe Klein telling Clinton surrogate Lanny Davis that he was “spreading the poison” when he brought up Reverend Wright on Copper’s show 360. (Lanny Davis discusses Klein’s comment in his op-ed for the WSJ here.) So, if Lanny Davis was “spreading the poison” by simply mentioning the Reverend Wright controversy, then I guess that The Washington Post must have been shoving a cocktail of hemlock and arsenic down all of our collective throats with its 44 articles and columns about “Macaca-gate”.

And finally, there was George Allen’s n-word controversy during his 2006 Senate race, a story which was originally broken by Salon (a liberal magazine). When the Washington Post reported on it here, they simply mentioned that Dr. Ken Shelton, along with two of Allen’s other teammates (from his college football days), had stated that they heard George Allen use the n-word in college over thirty years ago. However, Amanda Carpenter pointed out (in the column that I previously linked to above) that 17 other teammates of Allen’s swore that they NEVER heard Allen use the n-word—but, The Washington Post column only mentioned two teammates that denied ever hearing Allen use the n-word. Surprise, surprise. Furthermore, The Washington Post also states in that column that Dr. Shelton also accused Allen of cutting off a deer’s head and shoving it in an African-American family’s mailbox. However, Carpenter also points out that the two police officers who would have had jurisdiction in that area during the early 1970’s said no such complaint was ever filed. One of the two officers was quoted as saying that the story “was probably a myth”. Again, The Washington Post column on Allen fails to mention this little factoid—I am shocked.

Now, to be fair, The Washington Post did run a grand total of ONE column about someone accusing Jim Webb (George Allen’s opponent in the 2006 VA Senate race) of using the n-word in this column here. Not to mention, the accusation against Webb was far more severe than the one against Allen, because Webb was accused of driving to an African-American neighborhood, with his friends, and pointing guns at blacks just to scare them. However, I clearly remember Chris Matthews relentlessly discussing Allen’s “n-word problem” every night on Hardball, during the 2006 election, but I only remember Matthews discussing Webb’s” n-word problem” for one night (and the accusations against Webb were way more damning than the ones against Allen; however, the accusations against both men lacked any corroborating evidence and were entirely based on thirty year-old hearsay).

On a side note, Amanda Carpenter also reports (in the column that I linked to previously) that Jim Webb’s Jewish primary candidate, Harris Miller, accused Webb of printing and distributing anti-Semitic fliers about him. Carpenter has a copy of one of the fliers in her column (and I must say that it does look extremely anti-Semitic), and she reports that The Washington Post did not run one front page story about the Webb flier. Hypothetically speaking, could you imagine what The Washington Post would have done to George Allen if a Jewish opponent had accused him of printing anti-Semitic fliers about him? Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say—they would have crucified him, but I digress.

Now, I’m sure that all of us, at one time or another, heard the internet rumor about Michelle Obama supposedly using the disparaging term “whitey” in Trinity United Church of Christ (home of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright). Let’s pretend The Washington Post had dug up someone who said that they overheard Michelle Obama use the term “whitey” fifteen years ago in Trinity Church, without offering any other corroborating evidence (video, tape-recordings, etc.). That would be despicable! The entire story would be based on fifteen year-old hearsay (sorry, my husband’s an attorney), and it would be shoddy journalism to say the least, if not outright libel and defamation of character. Furthermore, it’s not really too difficult to find some self-indulgent, narcissistic, twit who will say anything in order to get his or her fifteen minutes of fame. However, it is OK to dig up someone who supposedly overheard George Allen use the n-word over thirty years ago, without offering any corroborating evidence? Whatever. Now, I realize that it was reported that George Allen used to hang a Confederate flag in his home (during the early 1990s), so some in the media automatically assumed that Allen was a racist and so it was, therefore, OK to run stories on him based entirely on hearsay. Well Barack Obama attended a racist, anti-American, anti-Semitic (they did give an award to Farrakhan after all, and Reverend Wright did say that Israel was a “dirty word” in this video here) church for over twenty years. Does that make it OK to print unsubstantiated rumors about him and his family? I think not, but I don’t think that it’s cool to print unsubstantiated rumors about George Allen either.

So, in conclusion my friends, this diary is not really about George Allen or Barack Obama. They are neither here nor there. This diary is about how both men had “Macaca moments”, both men have had family members from different religious/ethnic backgrounds, and both men have had “race problems”. However, I believe that I’ve produced overwhelming evidence that the media (in particular, The Washington Post) treated both men in drastically different ways. (Please forgive me if this diary is a bit long, but it deals with the sensitive topics of race and religion, so I wanted to make sure that I properly researched and documented everything.) This should be a serious lesson to us all. Some in the media are legitimate journalists. However, some are “awful” people who will write and say sexist garbage about a former First Lady (see Gereghty’s column), will accuse a US Senator of using the n-word based on thirty year-old hearsay, will harass an eighty-three year old woman on the phone and refer to her as a “closeted Jew”, and will bury stories about candidates that they are in the tank for. We should not turn our backs on them.