Monday, July 14, 2008

Questions of race, ethnic sincerity, creep up again

In an e-mailed letter, Erin Hofteig Director, New Media Media Matters for America, writes:

"This weekend on The McLaughlin Group, the program's host, John McLaughlin, asserted that Obama "fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside."

McLaughlin: "Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside -- that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?"

Call John McLaughlin and demand he apologize on-air during next week's broadcast.

McLaughlin's statement was so obviously out of touch and inappropriate that two members of the McLaughlin panel refuted the basic premise. Panelist and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Peter Beinart said: "Who knows what Jesse Jackson is thinking? But that's a completely unfair depiction of Barack Obama."

Later in the discussion, Michelle Bernard, president of the Independent Women's Forum, said: "I want to go back to the point you made about whether or not Obama is an Oreo, because if Barack Obama is an Oreo, then every member of this generation of African-Americans is an Oreo, because we stand on the shoulders of the people who fought for our rights."

Call John McLaughlin and demand he apologize on-air during next week's broadcast.

The all-important weekend political talk shows set the agenda for our nation's newsrooms and the acceptable terms of our public discourse -- McLaughlin's comments weren't just offensive, they were a relic of politics past.

I hope you will take a moment and make your voice heard on this important issue.


Take Action!
Call John McLaughlin and demand he apologize on-air during next week's broadcast.

The McLaughlin Group

John McLaughlin, Executive Producer
(202) 457-0870 x16
jmclaughlin@mclaughlin.com

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.
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