The William Tell Show is all about folk learning to think for themselves. To that end, I will coach callers to follow certain guidelines in expressing themselves, as set forth in the online manual Free Speech Handbook. Two recent news items provide good illustrations of Guideline 11, “Deal with exactly what the person says.” (Click the link for FSH’s elaboration.)
Leanna Harris is the woman whose husband who left their son unattended in a hot car, and later returned to find him dead. I am not concerned here with anyone’s culpability, nor with the predictable hate speech that appeared in social media. As to reporter Terrence McCoy’s allegation of a “media trial” — that’s my focus just now.
McCoy doesn’t merely say, “People are saying …” — which might prove to be or not be so, and which risks engaging in rumor. No; instead, he pins down exactly one printed source, and names it and its author, and quotes from it verbatim: a July 4 article by reporter Christian Boone in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. By analogy, I have been trying for some time to find out what “Democrats” are saying the Republican Party is engaged in a “War on Women.” We need to determine who’s responsible for problem language. In my dream world, all callers to the William Tell Show would have the wherewithal to do that. In my role as host, I certainly will try.
Here is a perfect example of folk, in this case conservative commentators, reacting to something other than what the person said.
Peter Grier reports the exact words at which some have taken offense:
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me, directed at the president,” Attorney General Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back…. There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
He then quotes this response from Noah Rothman at the conservative blog “Hot Air!”
Conservatives who say they want to “take their country back” aren’t using coded racial phrases – they think Obama has overstepped [h]is constitutional authority, Rothman writes.
Not so. Nobody waited until Obama overstepped anything. That language came into my world immediately following the election. Moreover, bizarre hate speech concerning the candidate began coming into my world as soon as he won the nomination. My late uncle copied me on an e-mail alleging that Bible prophecies specify a checklist of attributes for the Antichrist, and Barack Obama matches every one.
Holder’s words were fairly mild, writes [Emory University School of Law] Professor [Dorothy] Brown at CNN. He said “some” of the opposition to Obama is caused by race, but it’s not a main driver. But critics are reacting as if Holder said that racism is the main obstacle facing Obama’s efforts.
She deals with what Holder actually said, word for word.
The two adults involved, Joshua Matthew “Cisneros and [Anna Marie] Sanchez[,] were jailed in Graham County on unrelated charges.”
I want to follow this.
(Originally posted 07/28/14.)