Boy, What A Racial Mess The Media Have Made

DannyG | August 27, 2008
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By K. Daniel Glover Over at Hot Air, my friend Ed Morrissey doesn't think conservatives should get exercised about former Democratic President Jimmy Carter calling wannabe Democratic president Barack Obama a "black boy" in an interview with PBS. Ed is right to note that taken in context, Carter's comments weren't at all racist. He was praising Obama. But conservatives should be upset at the hypocrisy of the liberal media ignoring the use of the word "boy" this time to refer to the first black man about to be nominated for the office of the presidency. The press would castigate any conservative who uttered the words "black boy" in reference to Obama, regardless of the context. They would be all the more outraged if a Southern conservative used the phrase. That's precisely why conservative radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin called attention to the clip first aired at Eyeblast.tv yesterday. The issue was never about race; it was about the media double standard. Think back to April and the outrage that ensued when Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., said of Obama: "I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country." Politico blogger Ben Smith reported the gaffe, as did blogs for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and MSNBC. Obama's campaign called Davis' criticism "a condescending and personal attack." Davis ultimately apologized directly to Obama for his "poor choice of words," as he should have. But from the context, Davis clearly was saying that Obama lacks the experience to be president. He was not referring to the color of Obama's skin, which is what drove the offense at Davis' words. Here's what one blogger said at the time: "Any white person from the South understands exactly what they mean when they call a black man 'boy.' Yes, IT. IS. RACIST." That blogger was wrong. As Ed noted, context does matter, and Davis wasn't attacking Obama over his race. But the media should be consistent in applying its news judgment about the use of the word "boy" by white people from the South. What's good for Kentuckian Geoff Davis is good for Georgian Jimmy Carter.
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