Thursday, 28 January 2010


Ken Berwitz

You may have noticed that I've barely blogged about President Obama's State of the Union speech.  That is because, for reasons apparently unrelated to my server (or me or hackers) the blog has been down all day.

And, without going into specifics, I won't have much of an opportunity to blog again until this evening.

But my overall reaction to the speech is that it was political, partisan, contentious, combative and dishonest. 

Other than that, it was pretty good.

I'll elaborate later on.


Ken Berwitz

Who is a racist?  Often times, it is the person/persons who complain the loudest about racism. 

Here is an excellent example, via Michael Calderone of

Chris Matthews has put his foot in his mouth before on live television, and after the State of the Union, he did it again.

"I forgot he was black tonight for an hour," Matthews said of President Barack Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress and to millions of Americans.

Matthews's line about Obama's skin color was part of a longer comment about the presidency and race that's below. [UPDATE: Matthews also clarified later on.]

I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It's interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he's gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and passed so much history, in just a year or two. I mean, it's something we don't even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight  completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don't think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It's so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn't talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way.

Still, that single line quickly bounced around Twitter and the blogosphere, along with widespread criticism of Matthews on the left, on the right and in between.

"The tingle appears to be back for Chris Matthews,"
wrote Noel Sheppard on NewsBusters. The headline on Wonkette read: "Chris Matthews Has an Apology on the Way." And on ThinkProgress: "Matthews comment seems to imply that a man who is too 'black' still cant become 'a leader of this country.'

The Matthews comment was met immediately on Twitter with both confusion and contempt, and later "Chris Matthews" became a top trending topic.

The New Republic's Michael Crowley wrote: "Huh?" with The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins asking, "W to the F?"

Meanwhile, The American Prospect's Adam Serwer offered a terse response to the Matthews line: "F--- You." The Washington Independent's Spencer Ackerman wrote that the MSNBC host should "get off the air." And from the The Joshua Blog: "He needs to be gone from @MSNBC for good. Enough already."

Wasn't it Walt Kelly's classic comic strip Pogo, where we read the comment "we have met the enemy and he is us"? 

This is not the first time that Chris Matthews has opened that big, mouth of his and made a stupid racial comment.  And he is hardly alone at MSNBC:  his cohort, keith olbermann, regularly uses racism to attack pretty much everyone to his right (which is to say pretty much everyone who exists).

That's worth remembering, the next time you hear either of these two whining about someone else's racism. 

Think of them as MSNBC's twin glass houses.

Zeke ... ... "Tingles" is entitled to have a slip of the memory ... ... ... ... he DID report that Obama was Red for one hour, Blue for one hour, Purple for one hour, Aqua for one hour ... ... ... ... so what if Tingles forgot that Obama was Black for one hour ... ... ... ... ... ... " 'I forgot he was black tonight for an hour' " ... ... (01/28/10)

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