Attorney General Eric Holder granted an exclusive interview to ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" from London, where he was portrayed by ABC as deeply concerned about the global terrorist threat. What stands out from this very rare session -- Holder hasn't been on Sunday network television in four years -- is that Holder pulled out the oldest, lamest card in the Obama political deck: President Barack Obama and he are opposed by people who should be suspected of racism.
And darned if he didn't get away with it again.
Pierre Thomas, ABC's Justice Department correspondent, interviewed Holder and asked him why he believes they are "'sometimes treated differently,' those were your words. What did you mean by that?"
Holder took that softball and hit it over the fence. "There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president," he answered. "You know, people talking about taking their country back. ... There's a certain racial component to this for some people."
Holder's been "treated differently," all right. He's been pampered by the press, a coddling that is ongoing, more than five years after he called America "a nation of cowards" on racial matters. Thomas at least raised this disreputable speech again, and Holder doubled down on it. "I wouldn't walk away from that speech," he said.
The man who avoided Sunday TV interviews for four years is going to accuse someone else of cowardice? But this is the kind of latitude that Holder gets. No one has found it bizarre that the nation's chief law enforcement officer refuses to take network questions, even when swirling in controversy. No one demanded he explain why he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the disastrous "Fast and Furious" gun-running operation he ran. No one has demanded he explain why he refuses to name a special counsel to investigate the IRS. No one in the media demanded he explain anything, even his historically aggressive record of prosecuting journalists.
Holder hasn't suffered any of the media hostility that these "objective" reporters uncorked on John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzales when they held his office in the George W. Bush years. No one sympathetically asked Gonzales if his opponents' objections had a "racial component."
Look at how ABC is highlighting all the "hard news" on its Video pages for this interview, on top of the "racial animus" accusation:
--"Eric Holder: Palin Wasn't a Good VP Candidate."
--"Eric Holder: Redskins Name Offensive, Should Be Changed."
--"Attorney General Says Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional."
On the Sunday show, most of ABC's focus was on terrorist attacks -- and even as Thomas cited the "underwear bomber" in 2009 or the Boston Marathon bombers of 2013, there wasn't even a hint that those attacks and others were failures for Obama and Holder. Those deadly Fort Hood, Texas, attacks, the first one and the second one? Why should ABC bother Holder with those?
Then there's the teeming flood of immigrant minors who entered this country without legal permission. Thomas asked, "can you see where critics are coming from when you see buses of people being brought inland after they came here illegally?"
But then he quickly added complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union so Holder could sound like a sensible moderate enforcing the laws. "We're certainly going to get criticized from both sides. But what we're certainly also going to do is make sure that we follow the law." That's absurd, but it was good enough for ABC.
Holder sounds like a brat, a spoiled child pampered by the media. Because of that, he can stay on offense, confident that he can get away with tarring his critics as racists as a way of making them look fringy and shutting them up.