This week’s political news has been dominated by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s anti-Obama rant, and subsequent doubling and tripling-down rantlets about how Obama doesn’t love America. In case you missed it, he told a crowd at a dinner for Republican douchebags that ““I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”
Giuliani then went on a full-blown media blitz to defend the comments, and apparently explain that Obama was actually killed during the attacks of 9/11. On Friday, the White House responded to the attacks in the person of Press Secretary Joshua Earnest. Here’s what he said, followed by a transcript of what he was actually thinking:
Mr. Earnest: “Fuck that guy.”
What’s been fascinating about this kerfuffle is the way the political media has met the accusation that the President doesn’t love America with the heat of a thousand “Would you please pass the jelly?” fainting parties. Part of the reason is that while the news media at large is composed mostly of white males, our political news media is also aimed much more squarely at a white, male, mid-western audience for whom such an insult resonates. Tell someone within a half-hour of any city that they don’t love America, and they’ll laugh in your fucking face. It’s one of those absurd, meaningless assertions, like those old commercials that promise a precise percentage of additional “goodness.” Earnest wouldn’t say, but I’d bet good money that’s exactly what President Obama did when he heard that quote.
But for the audience that our political media empowers, that kind of talk will result in fisticuffs, or greased pigs on the fairgrounds at dawn. The whitening effect of news media’s lack of diversity is amplified in politics by our influence-skewing primary calendar.
It’s that snow-blindness that has led the media to focus exclusively on that one aspect of Giuliani’s comments, to the exclusion of the really racist shit that Giuliani said. As the reporter told Josh, Rudy was conscious enough of this to offer up an “Obama’s mom was white” defense, but the veins on the fig leaf aren’t really important, it’s the racist dick they’re covering that matters.
This is not really even coded, like when restaurant servers call black people “Canadians.” They’re not trying to fool anyone, it’s just there so the charge won’t stick. When Giuliani says “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country,” he isn’t speaking to an audience that’s steeped in the biographical lore of Barack Obama, he’s talking to people who will hear exactly what he’s trying to say. Rudy has already been as explicit as he can be about who he thinks “we” are, and who they are. Ask Rudy if he “loves” the America where black people are all “killing each other.”
I’m not mad at Rudy for being a vicious anti-black race-baiter, though, because like I said, we already know this about him. What pisses me off is that the news media not only doesn’t care, they don’t even notice. Sure, the New York Times thought enough about it to ask Giuliani to respond to “critics” who noted this obvious dog-trombone, but that’s about it. To everyone else, Rudy is denying that questioning Obama’s patriotism is racist, because they never even heard the rest of it. To the extent that any of them are trying to make the case that the patriotism charge is, itself, a stand-in for race (as the enduring Jeremiah Wright smear certainly proves it is), they are leaving out the smoke from the end of that barrel.