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Media Outlets Continue to Go After Herschel Walker on Race

AP Photo/Ben Gray

Hypocrisy from the mainstream media is nothing new. Nevertheless, the coverage of Democratic nominee John Fetterman, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Republican nominee Herschel Walker, who is running against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), is egregious. Before and since Fetterman's debate against Dr. Mehmet Oz, his Republican opponent, most in the media have flocked to defend him and his health, claiming he's disabled due to a stroke and that questions about his capacity to serve amount to "ableism."

In contrast, we see how the media have covered Herschel Walker regarding race. As Guy covered earlier this month, The New York Times published a piece that included a quote about how Walker is "not part of the black community." 

And it didn't stop there.

Not long after, The Washington Post on October 7 published an op-ed from Karen Attiah, "Kanye West, Herschel Walker and the politics of toxic Black men." She claimed, "America seems to love tragic, toxic Black men."

In her section on Walker, she claims that it's "well-documented that the man says painfully dumb things that *should be* politically disqualifying." She also goes on to write:

If I had my way, I would dismiss these two as clowns. But America just makes them impossible to ignore. This country loves to inundate us with coverage of Black male figures embodying the archetype of the dumb, violent, Black servant eager to please the White masters.

That same day, The Atlantic published a piece by Jemele Hill, "Herschel Walker's Candidacy Is Just Insulting." At many points throughout her piece, Hill rebuts the idea that electing a black Republican is a hopeful sign:

Under different circumstances, a Senate race in the Deep South between two Black candidates would be something to celebrate. But Walker is so unqualified that the Georgia contest has become cringeworthy.


In theory, Georgia conservatives’ embrace of a Black Senate hopeful should be a sign of progress. Instead, Walker’s candidacy is extraordinarily uncomfortable for me to watch because, while bolstering his political standing by repeating right-wing stereotypes about irresponsible Black fathers, he plays right into those same stereotypes.

Walker’s disturbing history in no way reflects on other Black men. But I can’t help sensing some condescension in Republicans’ elevation of such a buffoonish candidate. Does Walker embody what they think Black men really are? Do they think that Black voters in Georgia are so gullible and hungry for representation that they would willingly overlook Walker’s obvious incompetence?


If Warnock wins, it would be a fitting punishment for Republicans, who are trying to play cynical racial politics by a new set of rules. But the message they’ve sent is that any old Black candidate will do—even one as flawed as Walker.

Al Sharpton, who is frequently on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," also claimed to speak for all black voters when he claimed during Monday's show that just by being in the race, Walker is "an insult to all of us that fought and continue to fight to open doors for blacks." He went on to declare, "We should be celebrating two black men running against each other with political ideas, rather than being ashamed every time he opens his mouth." Hill was also on. 

A particularly egregious piece, as our friends at Twitchy also highlighted, came from New York Magazine's Zac Cheney-Rice, who wrote on Wednesday that "The Future of Black Politics Is at Stake in Georgia."

The text of the article gets worse from there, as evidenced by how Cheney-Rice begins his piece by writing about Walker and states that "given whom Warnock is running against, the race seems less like a fulfillment of [Martin Luther] King's vision than a perversion of it."

When it comes to not just Walker as a person but his role in Republican politics, Cheney-Rice later writes:

If Walker were a Democrat, Republicans would have a field day turning him into a classic bogeyman. He is a physically imposing Black man who once put a gun to his white ex-wife’s head and threatened to kill her. Instead, they are exploiting his race in other ways. “This dumb Black jock, the Black buck that is a character type that we are absolutely familiar with,” said Nsé Ufot, the CEO of the voter-outreach organization New Georgia Project. Walker is “playing into that, making white folks comfortable.”


If you watch this new routine for long enough, as I did following Warnock across Georgia this summer, it can leave the impression that he is more product than person, engineered in a lab to win elections in a newly minted purple state that still feels red. Few strategists doubt the wisdom of this approach, especially with control of the Senate in the balance. But it means one of the defining features of Warnock’s reelection bid is how ordinary it is. “It seems like a very conventional campaign despite the unconventional nature of the candidates themselves,” said Platt.

It’s a remarkable fate for King’s anointed heir, a born orator with radicalism in his theological lineage. It is also a signpost marking the latter-day evolution of the civil-rights movement. Georgia’s first all-Black senate race could have been a time for celebration. Instead, because one candidate has cast his lot with white reactionaries, the racial dynamics of the contest have been warped, forcing Warnock to suppress his instinct for social justice and spotlighting Walker’s worst behavior. Despite Walker’s headline-grabbing antics, it is Warnock’s plight that says more about the state of Black politics in 2022, especially considering where he started out.

On the race overall, Cheney-Rice states:

Warnock seems intent on maintaining an image as a man above the fray, the beagle-hugging pastor with the amiable demeanor. It’s hard to blame him: Trading blows with Walker, whose unfitness for office is as glaring as the senator’s qualifications are sterling, risks debasing him and could even come off as bullying. When the stakes are this high, though, it’s hard to do an accurate cost-benefit analysis of keeping one’s dignity. For Warnock, losing in November could mean a ready-made governing trifecta for the GOP, should it retake the White House in 2024, and a decade or more of Democrats being locked out of power in the Senate owing to their structural disadvantages on the electoral map. Looming over it all is a draconian new anti-choice regime headlined by Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent bill to ban abortion at the federal level.


We look back on the civil-rights movement as a moral vanguard, pushing ideas about justice and equality that had previously seemed unimaginable. Many of its luminaries and their descendants rode its momentum into the halls of power, ushering in a new age of Black rule and political relevance. It was almost dizzying in contrast to what came before it, and it was easy to overlook how narrow those halls were and how they have limited what is imaginable now.

There’s a studied inscrutability to Warnock’s forays into public life, making him easily reduced to an accumulation of credentials and accomplishments. But like the crisp robes and rimless glasses he’s been wearing since he was a neophyte pastor, the strictures of his new job are the same they’ve been for generations: People doing this work don’t usually expand it; it often shrinks them. When he chose to make Capitol Hill his ministry, it suggested that either he really believes the path to American salvation still runs through partisan politics and Congress, or acting like it does is the best we can hope for.

The excerpt above isn't the only way Cheney-Rice's piece screams bias. His section on Sen. Warnock could not be more glowing or selective. For instance, there's glossing over how Warnock is a pro-abortion Democrat in addition to being a pastor. And there's no mention of how there have been allegations against Warnock from his ex-wife or that he operated as a slum lord

Those fellow black men who dare to support Walker are targeted. As The List in its roundup of tweets worth shaming highlighted, HuffPost BlackVoices published "This Rapper Is More Politically Dangerous Than Kanye," referring to Killer Mike. The op-ed was written by Opinion Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

As Crockett warned in his subheadline, "Killer Mike cozied up with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Senate candidate Herschel Walker allowing legitimacy to their campaigns with the Black community." 

The article overall, though, communicates a bigger issue with how black people would dare to support Republicans:

I don’t blame you if you have trouble understanding what Killer Mike is saying here. Let me see if I can explain it. He’s giving a nod to the tradition of white men as the ruling class of the South. As such, the rapper appears to know his place and has no problem with Kemp’s policies or politics. Because Kemp seems to have principles, which include making it damn near impossible for Black Georgians to vote.

Kemp walked away from the conversation, saying he wanted to stop by one of Killer Mike’s barbershops for a haircut. But if you thought the marriage between the outspoken wordsmith and Kemp was strange in 2018, how about the interview he did with former NFL running back, phony sheriff and Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker?

That’s right, Killer Mike sat down with Walker in what many have called one of Walker’s most fluid interviews. Some have speculated that Walker was given talking points . And if that has you scratching your head and wondering when Killer Mike became the arbiter of inroads for Republicans looking for Black support, I don’t blame you. Politics make strange bedfellows, indeed.

Killer Mike uses his platform and voice to hurt the people he claims to care so much about. It’s a strange dichotomy watching a man who raps about the death of Eric Garner make nice with Kemp while actively hurting the Black woman who helped save America from a second Trump presidency. And that’s way more dangerous than any stupid racist rant from a rapper whose better days appear to be behind him.

Walker's intelligence and speaking ability, or perceived lack thereof, has also been mocked by leftists.



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