Daily Archives: May 21, 2010

Maddow is the new Murrow

I have to agree with the The Advocate’s assessment of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whom I think of as a modern-day Edward R. Murrow (pictured below).

Professional television network journalism in the United States of America died no later than in 2003, when the corporately owned and controlled television networks acted not as journalists, but as cheerleaders for the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked invasion of Iraq. The “embedded” “reporters” indeed were in bed with the Bush regime.

It was that fiasco that induced me to stop watching television “news” — and television altogether — and to rely on the Internet for news and information instead.

So it’s refreshing to see that we have at least one practicing professional television journalist, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whose clips I frequently watch via the Internet.

Maddow is one of the very few professional, critical and analytical individuals still left on what passes for television “news.”

Her recent takedown of newly minted Repugnican candidate for the U.S. Senate Rand Paul — and her masterful post-analysis of it — showcase her talent and her ability.

Rand Paul, the “libertarian” Repugnican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat for Kentucky — the “tea party’s” favorite who beat the Repugnican Party establishment’s candidate in this past week’s primary — believes that private businesses should be able to refuse anyone service based upon their race or ethnicity. He very apparently believes, from his statements, that at least the portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that makes such racial discrimination illegal should be overturned, but in the firestorm that has ensued he now claims that he fully supports the 1964 law.

But noooooo, the “tea party” isn’t racist and white supremacist!

As I have noted, Kentucky is around 90 percent white and went to Repugnican candidates in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. So the ascension of a racist and white supremacist like Ron Paul in Kentucky isn’t exactly shocking.

What plays well in Kentucky and in other red states, however — such as white supremacism — doesn’t play so well at the national level.

And Rand Paul is the poster boy for that fact. And he apparently is aware of this fact, because Maddow had to go around and around with him on Wednesday night in order to get him to state, with anything like clarity, his views on the matter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

MSNBC describes the exchange between Maddow and Paul on Wednesday night thusly:

In his 15-minute interview with Maddow, Paul repeatedly declined or sidestepped opportunities to endorse the provisions of the 1964 [federal civil rights] law that require hotels, restaurants and other businesses to accept all customers without discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity.

He repeated several times that he opposes racial discrimination. “I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form; I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race,” he said.

At the end of the interview, Paul added, “I don’t believe that any private property (owner) should discriminate either.”

But he did not say whether he supported using federal law to enforce non-discrimination in privately owned businesses. He said “had I been around” in 1964 “I would have tried to modify that.”

He also said the debate over the civil rights law’s limits on rights of private property owners “is still a valid discussion.”

He explained, “When you blur the distinction between public and private ownership, there really is a problem.” He used the hypothetical example of a gun owner who takes his firearm into a restaurant whose owner objects to having weapons on the premises.

That’s a bullshit comparison, of course. A firearm could accidentally discharge and result in injury — or be used intentionally, of course. To assert that disallowing a person with a gun to enter a private business and disallowing a non-white person to enter a private business because he or she is non-white are equivalent is sheer stupidity or intentional intellectual dishonesty, and either such stupidity or intellectual dishonesty is not befitting a United States senator.

MSNBC also reports that in 2002 Rand Paul wrote a letter to the Kentucky Bowling Green Daily News that “decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate,” and “A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination — even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.”

Gee, what else should we allow in a “free” society? Assault and battery? Rape? Murder? Is this what “freedom” means: the “freedom” to do wrong unto others? If so, then I suppose that our prisons are full of “libertarians.”

Rand Paul isn’t just about white supremacism, though; he’s about standing up for the corporations, which clearly are so powerless that they need his help.

Paul today called President Barack Obama’s criticism of British Petroleum — whose underwater oil well has been spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico for a month now — “un-American.”

“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'” Yahoo! News quotes Paul as having said today. “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.”

Yes, you see, to the wingnuts, it’s American — as American as apple pie — to have the corporations’ boot heels on the throats of the common American. (After all, that’s the way that Jesus Christ and the Founding Fathers wanted it!)

And businesses are so sacrosanct that in their relentless quest for obscene profits, we should let them make our entire fucking planet uninhabitable to every living thing. To suggest otherwise is “un-American” — and “un-Christian,” too!

That’s a wonderful “vision” there, Rand Paul.

Rand Paul and his ilk are dangerous, and light needs to be shed upon their actual agendas, agendas that even they themselves must have some idea are evil and wrong, as evidenced by the fact that they themselves hestitate to clearly articulate their actual agendas in the light of the national television spotlight. 

Thank you, Rachel Maddow, for casting such light.

You’re the closest living person to Edward R. Murrow — the late broadcast journalist whose spotlight exposed the darkness of and thus took down Sen. Joseph McCarthy (who, with his un-American accusations of others that they were “un-American,” just might be one of Rand Paul’s heroes) — that we have.

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