Indeed, while Chait barely discusses it, the network’s coverage of the Trayvon Martin case was as factually challenged and racially inflammatory as anything this side of Fox News.
“Few liberals,” Chait argues “acknowledge that the ability to label a person racist represents, in 21st-century America, real and frequently terrifying power. Conservatives feel that dread viscerally.”
Well, perhaps they should. However, I’ve got trouble believing that most do. First, because there’s really no denying that a visceral reaction to an African-American president has shocked a significant fraction of white America senseless. Much of it’s what psychologists call “projection” — mistakenly attributing to Obama an angry radicalism reflective of one’s own fears.
Second, because the dread “r-word” has been devalued by overuse. Once signifying a terrible moral sin, it now means nothing more than disagreeing with somebody like the aforementioned Harris-Perry, who berated poor Chait on her MSNBC program for six full minutes the other day before letting him speak.
Then she convened two panels of professors to condemn him in absentia. How dare he use the phrase “stop and frisk” without their permission?
Chait’s a resourceful fellow, though. I’m confident he’ll survive.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.