The Racially Tinged Assault on Herman Cain

by John R Guardiano on November 3, 2011

Ann Coulter gets it. She understands how the Left viciously uses race to smear black conservatives.

I was, I think, the first conservative to charge that Politico and the media were engaged in a “high-tech lynching” of Herman Cain. Since that time (Sunday night), several influential conservative writers and bloggers have demurred. Race, they insist, has nothing to do with this story, and conservatives should stop “playing the race card.”

“Cain would have us believe his critics are racists,” declares Jennifer Rubin. And that “really sickens me,” emotes Quin Hillyer.

“If harassment was the sort of blanket smear of black conservatives that [Ann] Coulter [and others] suggest it is, you’d expect them, [other black conservatives], to have been smeared, too, by now,” adds Allah Pundit.

Are Rubin, Hillyer, Allah Pundit and other like-minded cons really this obtuse and this clueless? Do they really think that race has nothing to do with this story? Really? Where have they been for the past 25 years?

No one, obviously, thinks that Politico consciously set out to smear Cain because he is black. That’s a gross oversimplification and caricature of the point that Coulter, myself and others have been making.

As I pointed out at the Daily Caller on Monday, Politico is no better or worse — and certainly no less liberal — than any other standard D.C.-based media outlet.

Politico certainly shares the same political and cultural biases of the Washington press corps as a whole — which is to say: they lean decidedly to the left. And so, they commit the same errors and mistakes — and indulge in the same stereotypes and prejudices — as most other reporters.

This means, consequently, that they are far more zealous about examining the alleged misdeeds of black conservatives (i.e, Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain) than they are the real-world wrongdoing of white liberals (i.e, John Edwards and Bill Clinton).

It means that they are not at all reticent about playing into, and exploiting, ugly racial stereotypes involving black men and sex. And it means that they will rush into print with incomplete, half-baked stories that unfairly indict black conservatives, while ignoring well-documented facts that damn their while liberal allies.

“With no standard other than the subjective offense taken by the accuser,” explains Coulter, “absolutely anyone could be called a witch, i.e., a sexual harasser. So it’s striking that the only two conservative public figures accused of being witches both happened to be conservative blacks: Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain.

“Liberals,” she adds, “go straight to ugly racist stereotypes when attacking conservative blacks, calling them oversexualized, stupid and/or incompetent.”

Indeed, this is the cultural milieu that Politico partakes in and swims. This is the world that they live in and inhabit. It is a world in which black conservatives are viciously attacked and abused with all manner of derogatory insults: “Uncle Toms,” “Aunt Jemimas,” and “Oreo cookies” (black on the inside, but white on the outside).

It is a world in which reporters and journalists are ever-so-careful not to offend the politically correct sensibilities of the culturally dominant Left, but seem not to worry really about smearing lone and abused black conservatives.

So yeah, race absolutely has something to do with this story — quite a bit, actually — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And it matters not at all that Politico’s initial base report — that when Herman Cain was its president, the National Restaurant Association settled sexual harassment charges against him — is true.

For starters, you don’t publish a piece — and you don’t smear a man — based on flimsy and anonymous accusations.

Politico’s story was premature at best and should not have been published until such time as they had better reporting and more facts. (You know, the kind of facts that Politico and other media studiously and disinterestedly waited for in the John Edwards scandal.)

Moreover, Politico’s reporting has since extended well beyond its initial base report to encompass a veritable smear campaign against Cain.

“There are currently 10 Cain-related stories at the top of, Jim Geraghty noted yesterday. And the assault has continued throughout the week: Why, by my count, there are now 12 Cain-related stories on the homepage.

This isn’t dispassionate journalism; this is passionate politics aimed squarely at the Right and designed to discredit a prominent black conservative who is now leading in the GOP presidential race. And conservatives who say race has nothing to do with the media assault on Cain are deluding themselves with overly simplistic, ahistorical and non-contextual thinking.

The truth is that the Left knows what it is doing, even if Politico doesn’t. And some of us on the Right at least are on to their racket. And we intend to circle the wagons to protect one of our own unjustly accused.

Ride to the sound of the guns.

Cross-posted at the Minority Report blog.

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