Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson falsely accused Sen. Hillary Clinton of playing the "race card."

On February 2, blogger Taylor Marsh highlighted a blog post on the American Prospect website by Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson that was headlined "Hillary Plays the Race Card." In the American Prospect post, Meyerson described a phone call that a friend of his in Los Angeles received from what Meyerson described as "a high-decibel gentleman with a very exaggerated, old style -- Amos 'n Andy, in fact -- black pattern of speech, singing the praises of Barack Obama." Without any evidence to support his accusation or any indication that he had attempted to contact the Clinton campaign, Meyerson pronounced the phone call "a Clinton ploy against Obama." In making the allegation -- which the Clinton campaign called "outrageous and baseless" and "completely false" -- Meyerson himself was advancing the "race card" narrative, which he labeled "despicabl[e]" when falsely accusing the Clinton campaign.
The original Meyerson item has, in Marsh's words, "been scrubbed from the American Prospect website." Marsh wrote further:
Meyerson makes the leap, without one single fact, that Clinton's campaign was the one who is "playing the race card discreetly -- and despicably." The title of his post blames Hillary personally, again without any proof. The comments roundly slammed him, even demanding that he take the post down, offer a retraction, but also included a few of the usual Hillary hating suspects. Now you also can no longer see the comments that attack Meyerson. [emphasis in original]
Though the original Meyerson post has been taken down, Meyerson has posted a second item on the phone call, this one headlined "The Race Card in L.A., Part 2." Meyerson wrote:
My post occasioned some indignation when I surmised the call came from operatives working for some organization that supported Hillary Clinton. I'm sure it didn't come from the Clinton campaign itself, and I have no reason to think the campaign knew about it.
Meyerson's assertion that he "surmised the call came from operatives working for some organization that supported" Clinton is at best a distortion. While in his original post he mentioned the possibility that groups supportive of Clinton might be responsible, Meyerson first accused the campaign, blaming Clinton herself in the headline. He also referred to the call as a "Clinton ploy" and a "Clinton Dirty Trick." Moreover, he did not in any way acknowledge having made the accusation; indeed, now he essentially denies having made it by saying that "I'm sure it didn't come from the Clinton campaign itself."
As Marsh noted, the Prospect subsequently posted a version of Meyerson's original item that states at the end: "This post has been edited since it was originally posted -- The Editors." The headline of the edited post has been changed from "Hillary Plays the Race Card" to "The Race Card," presumably "Part 1" to the "Part 2" Meyerson posted. While the direct accusation of a "Clinton ploy" has been deleted, the phrase "a Clinton Dirty Trick" has been replaced with "a dirty trick," and an editors' note indicates the Clinton campaign denies having made the calls, the item still includes the strong suggestion that a "campaign" was involved:
When I lived in L.A., I occasionally got calls that purported to be from one campaign but were actually from another, presumably pitched to the leading ethnic group in my neighborhood (Jewish), but calculated to inflame Jews against the candidate the caller claimed to support. Looks like the same thing is happening now in selected neighborhoods.
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Cross Posted At : http://RonMills.us

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