Beck, Palin adopt tactics of Jackson, Sharpton
By JASON WHITLOCK
The Kansas City Star
We’re Trading Places.
From his Fox News pulpit, Rev. Right (Glenn Beck) begs God to damn America for empowering Barack Hussein Obama.
Gal Sharpton (Sarah Palin) travels the country stoking the fears of white Americans telling them their country has been stolen by a mixed-race president.
Meanwhile, Nation of Idiots leader Rush Limbaugh inflames his underground radio audience, convincing his followers there’s a brown-eyed devil inhabiting the White House.
Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy — the stars of the 1980s comedy smash “Trading Places,” which explored a racial and social experiment/wager between Wall Street tycoons — might find humor, satisfaction and vindication in what is occurring across America’s political and social landscape.
I do not. It’s disheartening. It’s uncomfortable. It’s dangerous.
Just 16 months into America’s first non-white-male presidency, and right-wing extremists already sound identical to the African-American extremists who have been mocked for blaming The Man for black people’s lagging economic and educational progress.
Beck, Palin and Limbaugh staked their positions early. Rev. Right declared that President Obama is racist against white people. Gal Sharpton claimed Obama pals around with terrorists and is anti-American. And the Nation of Idiots spokesman expressed his desire that the Obama administration fail.
These right-wing poverty pimps have discovered that Obama’s ascension to the Oval Office has been every bit as lucrative as George W. Bush’s re-election was for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Well, in fact, it’s been quite a bit more lucrative for Glenn “Rev. Right” Beck and Sarah “Gal Sharpton” Palin, the shiny new stars of the elitist, right-wing mainstream media.
Rev. Right is challenging Bill O’Reilly as the face of Fox News and now earns more than $30 million a year from the radio-TV-book empire built on the laughable notion that Beck speaks for the common man. Since quitting elected office, Gal Sharpton has pocketed an estimated $12 million as a community organizer of “real Americans.”
As some of you know (and detest), I avoid our political system. I’ve never voted. I don’t have a political affiliation or ideology. I did, however, have a naive hope that our multi-cultured, traditional-values president would usher in a teeny bit of racial harmony.
That’s my passion. I hoped that in the aftermath of Obama’s historic election we’d see each other a bit more in context and less in evil extremes.
It’s not happening. In the pursuit of relevance, ratings and riches, extremists are being allowed to lead the discussion on the state of our representative democracy/constitutional republic.
Backed by major media outlets and choosing demagoguery over reason, Beck, Palin, Limbaugh and their imitators are growing in influence and seemingly pushing for anarchy by baiting racial distrusts, America’s motivational Viagra.
Because of the disparate histories of blacks and whites in this country, Beck, Palin and Limbaugh do not enjoy the freedom to speak as plainly and crudely about race as black demagogues. But only the disingenuous fail to hear the race-based undertones and calls for unrest in Beck’s TV show, Limbaugh’s radio broadcasts and Palin’s domestic-terrorism tour.
If, as Beck, Palin and Limbaugh breathlessly argue daily, Obama’s presidency is destroying America, shouldn’t some patriotic American sacrifice and do something about it?
This is not intended as a defense of Obama’s policies. I admired his stubborn, courageous push for health care reform, but I am displeased by the tax increase I’m about to endure. My feelings toward Obama and all politicians remain conflicted and cynical.
This column is an appeal for understanding among people of different races. It’s a flare rocketed into the sky in hopes that other nonextremists will see it and recognize our collective salvation may hinge on our ability to make extremism less palatable and profitable.
The left-wing media’s fascination with and embrace of Al Sharpton begat the right-wing media’s fascination with and embrace of Gal Sharpton.
Al and Gal are TV props, divisive noisemakers brought on air to enrage their critics and pacify their misguided followers. Their moves and utterances have news value for their ability to jolt the ratings needle, not because of the integrity of their positions, the strength of their constituencies or any semblance of intellect.
Capitalism has eviscerated the notion of fairness and responsibility in broadcast journalism. Partisanship and poorly disguised, bigoted fear-mongering are unapologetic staples of our political discourse.
No one involved appears to have any shame. Having witnessed Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others exploit and pollute a righteous movement for equal rights and fairness, Rev. Right and Gal Sharpton feel justified in adopting their black peers’ hu$tle.
We’re witnessing a disproportionate backlash from Sharpton’s unrepentant Tawana Brawley hoax, Jackson’s foolish support of the Duke lacrosse accuser, the uninformed championing of the Jena Six and the Mardi Gras-like celebration we staged when O.J. Simpson escaped a double-murder conviction.
We, African-Americans, in the rush to enjoy the freedoms won by Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership, too easily surrendered the moral high ground captured by the civil-rights movement. In doing so, we sank to a level that left us vulnerable to a counterattack led by Rev. Right, Gal Sharpton and the Nation of Idiots.
Their platforms and base are substantially larger and more heavily financed than Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan’s.
In a battle of bigots, we lose. That’s why King chose the high road. He had no interest in Trading Places.