Unethical Quote Of The Month: Oprah Winfrey

 “I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree.”

Oprah Winfrey, in an interview with Parade Magazine, discussing race in America, the use of the word “nigger,” and how young people in the U.S. don’t know “diddly squat” about the civil rights movement.

Yes, Parade Readers, it's true, whites tried to wipe us off the face of the map.

Yes, Parade peaders, it’s true, whites tried to wipe us off the face of the map.

Now, thanks to Oprah, those young people think they know that “millions” of blacks were lynched in the United States.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most admired, respected and trusted public figures in the nation, decided to join the recent concerted effort to magnify racial hate and fear, this time by grossly misrepresenting U.S.history. Not only that, but she did so in the context of representing herself as knowledgeable about the history of race relations in America, while others know “diddly-squat.” The recklessness, lack of responsibility, and ignorance that Winfrey’s statement represents is staggering. Continue reading

The Media’s Birther Smear On Rick Perry

The race for the Republican nomination for president has a long way to go, but the winner of the title of Republican Contender Most Unfairly Abused By The Media has probably been wrapped up. It’s Texas Governor Rick Perry, in a romp.

I’m not sure why, exactly. I suppose the combination of a southern, gun-carrying, capital punishment-supporting, openly religious, conservative Republican just has too many characteristics that the typically Democratic, liberal atheist, gun-hating journalists who overwhelmingly populate the newsrooms instinctively want to destroy. They still have an obligation to do it fairly and honestly, however. Where Perry is concerned, fair and honest seem to be forgotten.

Last week I heard David Letterman say that Perry “is starting to look like someone who crawled out from under a painted rock.” This was a reference to the Washington Post’s unconscionable front page “expose” about a hunting lodge where Perry either did or did not hunt before the name “Niggerhead” had been painted over on a rock that bore the longtime name of the area. Most fair commentators have pronounced that story weak and badly conceived, but as the Post no doubt knew it would, the story has attached itself to Perry, creating fodder for cheap-shot artists like Letterman and Bill Maher, and scarring his reputation.

The enmity toward Perry has not abated. Checking the web over the weekend, I found links to stories proclaiming that Perry had come out as a “Birther,” challenging the validity of President Obama’s citizenship. Continue reading