NPR Versus 'Minstrel' Cain

Brent Bozell

11/16/2011 12:01:00 AM - Brent Bozell
National Public Radio proved a long time ago it disdains black conservatives. Remember when NPR's Nina Totenberg launched the unproven sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas? NPR doesn't even like black liberals who appear on Fox News: They canned Juan Williams. The sexual harassment charges against Herman Cain aren't ruining him as quickly as the media hoped, so on Nov. 11, NPR viciously attacked Cain for being an enemy of blacks and a "minstrel" to white conservatives.

Reporter Karen Grigsby Bates began with Harvard Professor Randall Kennedy. "Black people know that if Herman Cain had his way, their lives would be diminished," he announced. "And they intuit that Herman Cain's policies are against their interests."

Who is this man to judge like that? NPR made no attempt to identify Professor Kennedy as having served on the editorial board of the hard-left Nation magazine. They didn't even call him "liberal." He is partisan enough to have insisted in April that liberal Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer should retire now because they couldn't survive a two-term Republican president.

Kennedy somehow gets to speak on behalf of all black Americans everywhere, that if Herman Cain "had his way," he would want blacks to be diminished. This is really rich drivel coming from the Left. They are the ones who placed blacks in dangerous public housing, high-rises in high-crime neighborhoods in the "War on Poverty." They are responsible for subjecting black children to atrocious public schools with no chance of escaping to a private school that cared about them. They entrenched a welfare state that chased away black fathers and placed Planned Parenthood clinics in urban neighborhoods for their abortion "needs." But Randall Kennedy and NPR apparently think that's the Nirvana of black interests; Cain is evil for opposing their agenda.

NPR then turned to Jack E. White, a former screed-writer for Time magazine. He also wasn't labeled a liberal, despite working for Time and now for the black liberal website The Root, owned by The Washington Post. NPR's Bates said White was outraged that Cain, like Thomas, would call unproven sexual harassment charges a "high-tech lynching." Bates said, "He believes Cain and his white supporters have struck a bargain."

A racist bargain. "Basically, Herman Cain tells them what they want to hear about blacks, and in turn, they embrace him and say, 'See, that proves we aren't racist,'" said White. Then he stuck in the knife: "He's even willing to be a minstrel for them, referring to, himself sometimes as 'Cornbread,' or quoting his father as speaking ungrammatically, as saying, you know, things like I does not care."

Even Bob Beckel on Fox called the "minstrel" line "obscene." In Jack White's mind, we are forever stuck in 1963, and every white conservative is somehow a Southern Democrat racist Bull Connor. But today's 18-year-old Americans who may turn out to vote for Herman Cain early next year were born in 1993. You can't endlessly suggest that racism is taught in schools, on TV and over every Republican dinner table ... unless you're a crank or a guest on NPR.

The third black Cain critic was a professor named Vincent Hutchings, who said Cain was "crazy," but "crazy like a fox."

There were no black conservative professors allowed -- not Thomas Sowell, or Walter Williams. NPR doesn't want blacks to consider it conceivable that a black could choose to be a conservative and still be considered respectable.

The only conservative view allowed was a clip of Ann Coulter. (NPR somehow couldn't acquire an original interview.) Coulter said on Fox that black conservatives have to swim against a very strong tide of black opinion, so "our blacks are so much better than their blacks."

To which "objective" Bates replied: "Observations like that may be why their blacks are so few in number." Bates clearly believes (as her report demonstrates) that black conservatives are metaphorically owned by masters and simply cannot fathom why blacks would want to be released from the liberal plantation.

Herman Cain may win the Republican nomination, or he may not. But it's quite clear from all the media coverage that the liberal media don't want him even standing on the debate stage. It ruins their preferred caricature of the Republicans as an all-white country club that sees blacks as the people who hand them towels in the restroom.

If they can't push Cain off the stage, then they'll try to smear him into a cartoon minstrel. As so often happens in liberal media circles, the goal of accuracy takes a back seat to victory.

Ask yourself: Would this vitriol against Cain exist if he were white?