What do Eric Holder, Shirely Sherrod, Susan Rice and Van Jones have in common?
I mean, other than that they have all been targets of Republican-led witch hunts, false allegations, selectively edited videos, deliberately misunderstood protocol, and general clownishness? Oh, that’s right. They’re all black.
They have all been accused of being incompetent, yet not a one of them are.
They have all been targeted relentlessly by Republicans with non-stop false allegations and yet, the media continues to carry water for the white male Republicans leading the charge.
Where are the Sunday shows demanding that John McCain make himself accountable for the clearly false allegations he leveled at Susan Rice?
What is it about SOME people that puts them in a category where even white Democrats will abandon them to the wolves or tolerate non-stop attacks on their character and competency, as if it were a given instead of an outrage?
The Washington Post pointed out that more than 80 of the signatories of the letter sent by 97 House Republicans condemning Susan Rice (as if these Republicans have any room to make accusations based on competency) are white males and nearly half are from the former confederacy.
Here’s the most obvious tell that a double standard is at hand: While the media will hold Republicans’ hands in order to not only condone their accusations but give weight to them with zero evidence, in response to the charge of racism we are told this can’t be proven.
So, the life work of four (well, we could include the President in this group to get to five) leading black public officials is a free-for-all target requiring no evidence, but the reputations of the white males making the accusations are too important to smear with what are claimed to be unproven accusations.
I have just proven that a double standard exists.
So now, let’s all pretend we are watching Sesame Street. What do these four (five) people have in common? What is the justification for the double standard?
It’s not that they are Democrats, though this is a good starting point when it comes to Republican witch hunts (see Bill Clinton). No, at this particular time we have four prominent, qualified people who have been the target of complete character assassination.
No one has sincerely apologized to any of them, including the media that willingly allowed itself to be duped by Breitbarted tapes.
No one has treated their reputations as if they were all a person has in this world, and yet that is the assumption made of the Republican white male. We mustn’t accuse the white male Republican of racism! That is scandalous. Yet they were free to inaccurately accuse Shirely Sherrod of racism against a white farmer. See, it’s okay to accuse a black public official of being a racist, but the media wouldn’t do that to a white person without “proof”.
Do I think racism is the actual motivating factor? No, I don’t. I think it’s a convenient political tool Republicans are using to both fuel their base and accuse those whom they view as most vulnerable. Now, why are these folks the most vulnerable? Because Republicans assume that it’s okay to smear the character and life work of a black person. The assumption is that there is not as much at stake as there would be were you to do that to a white male, and furthermore that the media and the public will give them a pass due to an inherent bias against black people.
I don’t believe that John McCain is a racist as the general public defines racism. But I believe that he purges his inner bitterness at being a loser by attacking “down” with immunity. He views Rice as a safe target and the television media has proven him correct. In other words, he is using the inherent bias per the racism of others as a weapon, which is what racism really is – a tool of the elite used to maintain their power. John McCain is guilty of using racial bias to perpetrate a witch hunt against Susan Rice, and much of the media is guilty of assisting him.
The 97 House Republicans who signed that letter also have some explaining to do. Not only is it none of their business since the House doesn’t confirm, but they are obviously either too misinformed to be in office or they are using their power to lead a witch hunt that appears to rely on yet another false conspiracy theory about yet another prominent black person.
I would like these Republicans to be held to the same scrutiny and standards as they assume is their right to hold others to. This means that unproven accusations with no foundations are free game.
So have at it. Come up with your best conspiracy theories about John McCain and lead a charge to destroy his entire career and character just because you lost your job or an election. The accusations don’t need to be even remotely related to facts – you can selectively edit a video in order to distort the meaning of his words, or use the fact that intelligence can’t be disclosed in order to attack him over what he is not free to say. There’s nothing you can’t accuse him of – because in a just world, his character and life’s work are as valueless as he deemed Susan Rice’s.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.