By Tim Peacock
I stand corrected.
In my last article discussing Cliven Bundy's blatant racist remarks on Saturday, I commented that conservative media seemed to be pulling away from Bundy due to his egregious and blunt commentary on African Americans being better off as slaves picking cotton. It seems that one Tea Party media personality still stands behind both Bundy AND his racist remarks: Dana Loesch.
In her defense of Bundy, Loesch said in part:
"A few things. First, to take the quote at face value it’s odd and sounds offensive. You’re talking about government overreach and you go into this story? Secondly, I hope no one is surprised that an old man rancher isn’t media trained to express himself perfectly. He seems to be decrying what big government has done to the black family — which big government has negatively affected not just the black family, but all families regardless of ethnicity — so perhaps he included that in his remarks against big government? I’m just trying to figure out how he even got to the point of discussing it and yes, it’s justified to have a healthy suspicion of the New York Times."
How else should the New York Times have taken a press conference where a Tea Party hero decided to go off script and begin lamenting how African Americans would be better off as slaves? Additionally, it wasn't a quote; there's actual live video of Bundy making the remarks. The New York Times literally transcribed his remarks and analyzed them. Dana, on the other hand, apparently couldn't be bothered with actually watching the video before accusing a major news publication of fabrication.
But her defense didn't stop there. "If Bundy is a racist, that is awful, but what exactly does that have to do with the BLM?" she asked. The short answer is nothing. The better answer is this: his views - particularly those he broadcasts at a press conference intended for everyone in the country to see - matter because conservative media have held Bundy up as a victim and a symbol of patriotism and the "real" America - and that just isn't true. He's one of several ranchers in Nevada - one that doesn't pay the same fees every other rancher willingly pays to access federal lands. And his lawlessness and racism are important because the Tea Party and conservative media currently view him as a symbol of what they view as wrong with the Obama administration - an administration lead by an African American man.
Of course Bundy's racist comments matter.
By the end of her screed, Loesch's logic began to break down. "Does Cliven Bundy’s remark make Tommy Henderson, Raymond Yowell, Kenni Patton, and other ranchers in Nevada and north Texas racists then because they also have issues with the BLM? So dissent with the BLM is racist like dissent with Obamacare is racist?" she asked.
Again, short answer: no. Bundy's remarks make him a racist because his press conference remarks were blatantly racist. That doesn't make anyone else a racist but him (unless those others should choose to hold their own press conferences and lament about African Americans being better off picking cotton as slaves than living on government subsidies).
Then again, Loesch knows this and merely wants to obfuscate the issue with smoke screens, slippery slopes and straw men. She's stuck between a rock and a racist place trying to defend a man who literally called a press conference to spew racist propaganda. She knows she can't come right out and say he was wrong because that would be like admitting that his lawlessness and lies concerning his family's ownership of the land were also wrong. And that the ranchers calling out his refusal for paying the same fees they do matters. It would mean her Tea Party hero she's been publicizing like a badge of honor is nothing more than a law-breaking racist.