What’s the matter

with White People  by Joan Walsh

Hillary Clinton exaggerated a little when she talked about “a vast right-wing conspiracy” against her husband in 1998. Yet ten yeas later, an intimidating nationwide apparatus of overt and covert right-wing character assassins, fearmongers, and race baiters made the anti-Clinton Arkansas Project look like a friendly fund-raising group for his presidential library.

Rush Limbaugh had the loudest single voice within the anti-Obama media movement. He set the tone for the leaderless Republican Party when he announced on the eve of Obama’s Inauguration, “I hope he fails.” Limbaugh went on, “We have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president,” a glimpse of right-wing psychosexual anxiety I’d rather not have seen.

. . . If Limbaugh held the largest megaphone of the anti-Obama movement, Fox News ran its headquarters, and Richard Nixon’s media adviser, Fox chief Roger Ailes, was its chairman. More than thirty years after Nixon left office, the GOP imagemaker ran the nation’s largest cable news channel, and his 2009 programming showed that Fox had a fifty-state Southern strategy to scare its white, older viewers about Obama and the Democrats.

. . . No one bashed Obama harder or crazier than Fox’s Glenn Beck. Ominously, he launched his Fox show on January 19, Inauguration Eve. it went on at 5:00 P.M. Eastern time, a strange slot to make a big splash, but as Will Bunch would explain in his Tea Party book The Backlash, Beck had a captive and rapt audience: retirees and the unemployed.

. . . “What I think I was able to recognize was that, at this juncture, the country will feel better about itself . . . if they see Democrats and Republicans agreeing on anything.” – Barack Obama, December 2010, after extending the Bush tax cuts.

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