In case you missed it (and you probably did, unless you are a very close follower of the news), Joe Biden was forced to apologize today for using the anti-Semitic slur “Shylock” to describe what he considered to be shady bankers. Look, Joe Biden is stupid and says stupid things and many of those stupid things are racially insensitive. Jewish people have just joined a lengthy list with black people and Indian people in terms of ethnic groups Biden has offended with his serially defective mouth. It’s almost not even interesting at this point when Biden says something borderline racist.
What IS interesting, however, is the media’s reaction to it, as compared to the media’s reaction to roughly similar events on the part of Republicans. The Washington Free Beacon has noted that many media personalities seem to be excusing their non-coverage of Biden’s latest slip by essentially saying, “Wow, who knew Shylock was offensive to people? How could you possibly blame Joe Biden for making this totally understandable mistake?”
Look, whether you’re familiar with a slur that reaches all the way back to The Merchant of Venice or not, the media’s credulity with respect to the “honest mistake” claim is completely at odds with how they treated George Allen’s utterance of “macaca” which was at the time he uttered it a word that was roughly 1,000 times more obscure than “Shylock.” Allen’s stated defense, that he heard the word somewhere and assumed it meant something like “fool,” washed not at all with the media, who all suddenly within a matter of hours found themselves to be Macaca Experts, including all the connotations thereof, and blasted Allen as an obvious racist.
As stupid and silly as Joe Biden is, he is the Vice President of the United States. Presumably, he will make a futile but high profile run at the Presidency in 2016. There is no universe in which his utterances deserve less scrutiny and public attention than Virginia Senate candidate George Allen’s. The media’s laziness and unwillingness to even bring themselves to understand the connotations of the word “Shylock,” especially in the context in which Joe Biden used it, almost defies belief, even though we’ve been watching them pull this equivalent for years.