The violence in Charlottesville has had the effect of magnifying the longstanding power of racial narratives in the establishment media, exposing a racial double standard between the GOP and its members while leaving the Democratic Party largely unscathed.
”A poor choice of words conveyed to some that I embraced the discarded policies of the past … I apologize to anyone who was offended” said then GOP Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott after making glowing remarks about former senator and 1948 presidential candidate Strom Thurmond at his 100th birthday party in 2002. Thurmond had run for president as a Dixiecrat on a platform that included segregation. Lott had said that his state of Mississippi was “proud” to have voted for Thurmond, and if he had won the presidency, the country “wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
The outcry from many the media was so fervid that two weeks later Lott resigned as minority leader. “Republicans, Democrats and many media outlets have been calling for Mr Lott’s head since his comments at a 100th birthday party for Mr Thurmond” wrote The Guardian in December 2002.
Fast forward to 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given the Margaret Sanger award, Planned Parenthood’s “highest honor,” given to those who show “leadership” in the “reproductive rights” movement. The award carries the name of noted racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who among other controversial statements, once wrote “[w]e do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision … I am really in awe of her” said Clinton after accepting the award. Democratic Rep. and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also received the award in 2014.
Amidst all the recent calls from the media to remove confederate statues that glorify “white supremacy,” there exists little outcry from those in the establishment media calling on Planned Parenthood to change the name of their award, let alone putting pressure on Clinton and Pelosi to return them.
In a eulogy for former Ku Klux Klan member and former Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, Hillary Clinton referred to him as her “mentor and friend” and a man of “passing eloquence and nobility.” When some in the center-right media raised questions about Byrd’s past and his relationship with the Democratic Party, The Washington Post called it “pathetic” because Byrd “admitted his mistake.”
Former President Bill Clinton eulogized his “mentor” and former segregationist William Fulbright in 1995, saying he “stood against the 20th century’s most destructive forces and fought to advance its brightest hopes.” Al Gore Sr., the father of former Vice President Al Gore, voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both Fulbright and Gore Sr. renounced their segregationist past.
“Is it unforgivable that Bill Clinton praised a former segregationist? No” writes Mona Charen at National Review. “Remember what happened to Trent Lott when he uttered a few dumb words about former segregationist Strom Thurmond? He didn’t get the kind of pass Bill Clinton did when praising Fulbright.”
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