When you start seeing representative images like this — the HuffPo photo caption reading: “Demonstrators take photos of an Obama sign placed under droppings from a police horse,” it’s easy to think about the photo below in a new context:
Update 11:10 am 9/13: Thinking about it overnight, this post (with first image originally linked to, versus shown) was far too cryptic.
If you look at the first slideshow at this post at Huffington (which is where the linked image above came from), it suggests that the MSM — and I’ve looked through most of the wire images of the event, as well as the NYT and WAPO published staff photos — avoided those signs and scenes bluntly threatening (to) Obama or painting him (with a blatantly racist brush) as a Muslim extremist.
We were hoping to get BNN contributer Alan Chin down to DC this weekend but he got tied up, which is unfortunate because it was this discrepency — the effect of the media filter watering down the tone, the animus — that we were interested in exploring.
A nod, by the way, to Maureen Dowd who notably broke the gentility this morning with her frank comments about Joe Wilson — comments that reflect directly on the visual media’s handling of Dick Armey’s extravaganza (cynically scheduled and branded to appropriate 9/11 and the anniversary, by the way).
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.
I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.
“A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation. Clyburn, the man who called out Bill Clinton on his racially tinged attacks on Obama in the primary, pushed Pelosi to pursue a formal resolution chastising Wilson.
“In South Carolina politics, I learned that the olive branch works very seldom,” he said. “You have to come at these things from a position of strength. My father used to say, ‘Son, always remember that silence gives consent.’ ”
The danger of “taking the hard edges” off this radical and racist thrust is to “normalize” the Teabaggers and frame them as far more innocent than they really are.
(Revised 11: 40 am. Added top photo.)
(image 1: unattributed, via HuffPo. image 2:: Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)