Quickies: The Stupid Edition I (Milbank Strikes Again)

  • Dana Milbank – why ‘cos everybody keeps searching it and ending up here
  • McCain Camp and the Press Corp

Dana – About a month or so ago, I posted a complaint about Dana Milbank who I originally misidentified as someone else on MSNBC.

Milbank made a derogatory comment about Michelle Obama during a Keith Olbermann broadcast in which he likened her to an angry black woman of low class who had to be kept in check. He claimed Solis Doyle may have been hired by the Obama camp to to keep Michelle:

in check in case she pops off again.

In the same comment he also managed to erase the qualifications of a Latina. I called on readers to let Milbank know such behavior was offensive and demeaning and that he should be held accountable.

For my efforts, I was harassed over a period 1.5 days by employees of NBC pretending to be multiple disinterested comment makers, some of their comments were approved others not. Their point was three-fold: 1. fix the name, which I did, 2. that I was overreacting, which given his derogatory discussion of both Solis Doyle and Michelle Obama, followed by the Barack Obama incident outlined below, makes me even more confident I did not, and 3. I had caused chaos at their offices with a flood of emails and phone calls (thanks readers) and they wanted it to stop. They compared my blog to racist and sexist hate speech and said the blog was “worse.”

More recently, Milbank wrote a piece about Barack Obama in which he took a quote so thoroughly out of context as to render its original meaning invisible. The quote as actually spoken:

“It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign — that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions”

The Milbank’s version:

It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign — that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions”

He did so in order to negatively depict Obama and his candidacy as arrogant, elitest, and completely out of touch with N. America. When called on it by reporters and commenters alike, Milbank responded by calling any opposition “whining” and saying anyone who continued to comment would be rated on a scale of bitterness like that of the wine industry. He was unofficially suspended from the Keith Olbermann show (where he made the original Michelle Obama comment as well) until he accounted for the misquote.

Today, CNN announced the addition of Milbank to their line up on programming that ran at the same time as the Olbermann show.

Olbermann anounced, with regret, that Milbank had quit:

We had decided not to have Dana on this news-hour again until this was cleared up, and, sadly after some very happy years, he’s apparently chosen to make that cloud permanent.
Good luck, Dana.

As you can see, Milbank has shown a pattern of arrogance and offense unchecked by the media for which he works. He slighted both Obamas and a top Latina official while his employer, MSNBC, actively defended him. He used his position at the Washington Post to launch an attack on his distracters despite having clearly cropped and misrepresented a quote in order to disparage a candidate. Not only did it receive no sanction from the Post but it garnered him a position at CNN. Finally, Keith Olbermann, who takes such pleasure in condemning the oppressive behavior of others gave him a send off that was more comradship than critique. And he did so, right after criticizing a racist incident with the McCain campaign.

Milbank like the New Yorker are enjoying the fruits of liberal racism. Where they are at once able to access white privilege when caught in the act of bigotry and able to eschew it on the basis of liberal politics or liberal friends (read of color). In the same way that Vanity Fair came to the aid of the New Yorker when they were criticized for offensive behavior against the Obama campaign, CNN and MSNBC came to the defense of Milbank.

I hate to be redundant here, tho I often am, but this is the real problem with the “good people” argument. The question is not about Milbank’s character or the work that he does. The question is about a pattern of commenting about black leaders that is ignorant-wanna-be-hypster at best and offensive intentional manipulation at worst. His sanction from reputable news outlets in both print and television allow his analysis to be seen as legitimate which in makes his illegitimate behavior all the more dangerous.

thank you to Daily Kos for the transcript quote, read more there.

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