Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trump Leading The GOP In Race-Baiting Fear-Mongering

Donald Trump, the rich kid turned real estate tycoon turned bankrupt failure turned TV reality show host, spent several weeks trumpeting to anyone who would listen—including a surprising number of corporate media outlets—that President Barack Obama had failed to answer questions about his citizenship.

And when Trump started talking, Fox News was there to amplify him. The network vastly increased its coverage of birther rumors, devoting nearly two and a half hours to the nonsense, in recent weeks. On other networks Trump's "birther" claims, like those made in an interview with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira, went largely unchallenged. CNN's Anderson Cooper, refuted Trump on-air during a two-day invalidation of the "birther" myth, but CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry asked about Obama's birth certificate during Tuesday's press briefing. Whether giving Trump a pass or disputing his claims, the corporate media willingly kept the story alive by frequently giving Trump their air time and press space.

Today President Obama responded by releasing his long-form birth certificate making a short statement - at left.

Donald Trump answered President Obama's long-form birth certificate release from New Hampshire today by claiming credit for forcing Obama to release his "long form" birth certificate, and declared that the President should "get off his basketball court" and focus on gas prices.

Trump then repeated his new claim that Obama was an underachieving unqualified student who was admitted to the Ivy League universities only through affirmative action. Trump offered no proof for his claim but said he would continue to press the matter as he has the legitimacy of the president's birth certificate.

In GOP politics, attacking racial minorities as the underachieving beneficiaries of affirmative action is a very old move. Sen. Jesse Helms produced the most notorious example, an ad against his black opponent, Harvey Grant, which blasted affirmative action for taking jobs from deserving white people and giving them to minorities.

Let's not pretend for a moment that questioning President Obama's birth certificate or qualifications to attend Ivy League universities isn't steeped in racism. The New Yorker's editor-in-chief and the author of an acclaimed book about Obama's background, published an unusually blunt critique of Trump's "race-baiting" on Wednesday afternoon:

The New Yorker: The one radical thing about Barack Obama is his race, his name. Of course, there is nothing innately radical about being black or having Hussein as middle name; what is radical is that he has those attributes and is sitting in the Oval Office. And even now, more than two years after the fact, this is deeply disturbing to many people, and, at the same time, the easiest way to arouse visceral opposition to him.

Let’s be even plainer: to do what Trump has done (and he is only the latest and loudest and most spectacularly hirsute) is a conscious form of race-baiting, of fear-mongering. And if that makes Donald Trump proud, then what does that say for him?

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