When American media reports on “racist” speech, it isn’t operating in the news business. It’s operating in the entertainment or propaganda businesses.
Consider the media’s moral panic over President Trump’s rhetorical feud with progressive Democrats. On Twitter, Trump told progressive Democrats they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States … how our government is to be run.”
The media’s hysterical reaction to these comments is insincere propaganda masquerading as moral indignation. Media accuse the president of racism as if race-baiting is unusual in American politics.
This is the same media that rewards, produces, and exacerbates the problem of racist speech. CNN and NPR promote white supremacists. Conspiracy theory websites like The Washington Post and The New York Times perpetuate racist hoaxes, such as the libel against Catholic schoolchildren falsely accused of attacking an elderly Native American at the March For Life in Washington, D.C.; the hoax hate crime by Jussie Smollett; and many other hoax hate incidents where the purpose is to stoke racial and political conflict in the United States.
The propaganda goal of the media’s reporting on racism is to help Democrats and slander Republicans. The media routinely spares Democrats from the “racism” accusation even though Democrats deploy racist rhetoric, racist nominations, and racist lawmaking. Right now, Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning for racially discriminatory public-school busing and race-based welfare to pay reparations for slavery — a Democratic institution that ended in the 19th century with a civil war that killed up to 850,000 Americans.
All that matters to media is that Trump is no longer a Democrat. Trump’s predecessor put kids in cages and repelled tens of thousands of refugees, even those fleeing the communist dictatorship in Cuba. That president is a progressive Democratic hero. But when Trump continues these Obama-era policies he becomes Hitler running concentration camps. The media even found a Pulitzer-prize winning historian to claim that Trump is “the most racist president in American history.” Apparently you can win a Pulitzer without knowing how many presidents perpetuated slavery and racial segregation.
A squad of particularly aggrieved Democrats — the political party with a state governor who wore blackface or dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes — also summoned the chutzpah to call the president a racist.
“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid debating the policy,” said New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described socialist and a Holocaust denier who advocates a race-based privilege to reside in the United States. Ocasio-Cortez said this while standing side-by-side with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who libels American Jews as disloyal and now wants Congress to endorse the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Trump “would love nothing more than to divide our country based on race, religion, gender, orientation or immigration status,” said Rep. Omar, an immigrant who calls America an unjust country, equivocates America with Al Qaeda, and vouches for ISIS terrorists yet alleges that immigrants like her “love this country more than anyone that is naturally born.”
“This is a distraction and we should not take the bait,” said Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who says that black, brown, Muslim, and queer people are unwelcome in the Democratic party unless they stay in their niches.
Pressley is, however, correct about one thing: the president’s mean tweets are a distraction that nobody actually cares about. Sure, the story dominates headlines at white-supremacist platforms like CNN. But media attention to the President’s inflammatory tweets is a function of the entertainment business, not the news business.
A media company that reports the news would dedicate its headlines to important topics like technology, education, and national security. Media companies in the entertainment business instead focus on the president’s saucy Twitter feed.
To be sure, it is a good business model. A journalist does not have to do any work when reporting the president’s tweets. The president delivers these free-of-charge. His tweets are relatable to anyone who has ever traded insults with another. So audiences pay attention. When audiences pay attention, advertisers pay media.
News reporting, on the other hand, is different. It does not come free-of-charge. And it can be depressing. Audiences would rather be entertained with tweets than challenged with societal problems. Audiences pay less attention to real news, so advertisers pay media less money to make it.
The race-baiting congresswomen made another worthwhile observation: it is not un-American to talk frankly about our country’s problems. “When we love this country, what that means is that we propose the solutions to fix it,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Instead of fixating on racism, Democrats should focus on ideas that would actually serve the country. Speaking at a conference this month, billionaire Peter Thiel described a few worthwhile ideas. Refuting the notion of American exceptionalism, Thiel said, “We are exceptionally overweight, we are exceptionally addicted to opioids, it is exceptionally expensive to build infrastructure here, we are exceptionally un-self-aware, and we are exceptionally un-self-critical.”
Some journalists watched Thiel’s speech. The Washington Post subsequently published a legitimate story about opioid pills in America. But most news media did not follow up on Thiel’s remarks with front-page stories about public health or government services.
If only Thiel had been a Republican who said something debatably racist. Then maybe The New York Times would have feigned some outrage and reported on the story.
Lew Olowski is an attorney and formerly a clerk to Radovan Karadzic, president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Lew served under Peter Robinson, who is among the world’s premiere international criminal trial lawyers litigating war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law School.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.