Skip to comments.Is Limbaugh getting a free pass?
Posted on 05/18/2007 5:26:31 PM PDT by TexasCajun
Let's recap: Don Imus referred to a group of African-American women as "nappy-headed hos" and was criticized, berated and, eventually, fired. Shortly after, two radio DJs in Pennsylvania were fired for encouraging listeners to repeat Imus' remarks.
And this week, two New York City DJs were fired after making racist remarks against Asians.
Meanwhile, we have Rush Limbaugh, who is proudly airing the work of Paul Shanklin, a conservative commentator and impressionist and a regular on Limbaugh's syndicated radio show (which airs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays on KTRH-AM 740). Both are white.
The piece is crude, over the top and loaded with racial stereotypes, which raises the question: Is Limbaugh getting a free pass?
"It's an interesting question," said David Ehrenstein, a freelance writer who wrote an essay about the "Magic Negro" for the Los Angles Times.
"Barack (Obama) was asked about it, and he blew it off," Ehrenstein said. "But I'm not sure why no one else has really talked about it."
In case you missed it, Shanklin impersonates Al Sharpton singing Obama, the Magic Negro to the tune of Peter, Paul and Mary's Puff, the Magic Dragon. In the song, the Sharpton character derisively calls out presidential candidate Barack Obama as being among other things "not authentic like me."
The music is loaded with racial stereotypes. Shanklin sings in a dialect that, we're guessing, is supposed to be ebonics, saying "dat" instead of "that" and implying that Obama wasn't from "da 'hood."
In video online, images of Obama flash across the screen, including one of him superimposed in front of a statue of Superman. The Super Negro.
The piece's implication is pretty clear: Sharpton sees himself as an old-school black who keeps it real and views Obama as a new-school black who has sold out.
The concept of the Magic Negro has been around for decades. It's an archetype used in popular culture to describe a powerful, heroic, benevolent black person who would sacrifice everything for white people.
"The term came up in that it evokes qualities of the figure that is a Magic Negro able to heal everything, which is a very quaint and artificial take on race relations," Ehrenstein said. "Instead of the black person who is a cartoon or is a scary sexual figure, you have the black person who is good out of the goodness of his heart."
Ehrenstein, who is black, also believes that Limbaugh is transparent in his actions. It's obvious he is trying to hitch onto the Imus controversy and bait people into paying attention to him, he says. But that's something the media haven't done here.
One has to wonder where the outrage is. Why haven't there been any protests or prepared statements, press conferences or staged apologies?
It could be argued that Obama is fair game since he is running for public office.
When asked about it, the candidate told the Chicago Tribune that Shanklin's video was "dumb."
Sharpton's people have not commented on the radio clip. But Sharpton himself has made comments referencing Latter-day Saint Mitt Romney's run for president that many are calling bigoted. During a debate, Sharpton said: "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that. That's a temporary situation."
Rallying against Limbaugh would be exactly what the talk-show host wants, Ehrenstein said.
"He's been in sort of a frenzy since the Imus firing," he said. "He's been sort of flailing around to bait his bosses and the media, to take it right up to the edge if he can and scream if anyone says anything. But people are pretty much ignoring him. I think people can see what this really is about."
As Ehrenstein pointed out in his March 19 Times piece, the Magic Negro is found in all forms of media but is prevalent in film. Both Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman played the archetype in several films, as have Will Smith (Bagger Vance) and Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy).
Part of the outrage surrounding Imus' comments stemmed from the fact that it was the last straw. Many felt that the host has, for years, made offensive comments toward various groups and had always gotten off.
But the same could be said about Limbaugh, who has also made a career of making controversial statements.
"There is no question that Rush plays with issues in the area of race and racial talk," said Tom Taylor, editor of trade magazine Inside Radio. "Certainly some people remember the situation between him and Donovan McNabb."
Taylor was speaking about the flap in 2003 when Limbaugh, speaking on ESPN, said the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback wasn't talented and received attention only because he was black.
After an outcry, Limbaugh was fired from his ESPN gig.
Did you listen to Rush today?
Is he from one of the lost tribes of Israel? :0)
I can’t believe this paper referred to Obamma as “Obama, the Magic Negro”. They are obviously racist and in light of what happened to Imus the writer of this article should be fired. I am discusted such racism is allowed to exist in a major newspaper in this day and age.
Keep this is mind - Rush owns his show.
No one can fire Rush - except Rush.
If he can miss the context, i can too.
Outrage over what? The fact that a black man called Obama the "magic negro"?
All in good fun, you dumbassinine liberal author with no funnybone!!! Ha Ha Ha!!!
This guy’s coming late to the party. There was “outrage” for about three hours until it was pointrf out that Rush was basically doing a paradoy of The LA Times, which had written an editorial calling Hussein Obama the “magic negro”
Of course, you can’t criticize the Left Wing Media, so the story died quickly.
Why anyone would pay a nickle for the Houston Chronic-Lib is beyond me. It is a disgrace that conservative Texas cities have nothing but the socialist-loving Austin UnAmerican Stateman, the Dallas Morning Enema, and this Houston rag to read. When they all go broke, it will be a great day for Texas.
Rush has been attacked and has paid. They never give him a free pass.
He just now knows how they will attack.
Just listened to it on the 24/7 side.
Getting a pass? Rush? They’ve been after him for years.
If the “Barack the Magic Negro” parody really disturbs them, perhaps they need to first get the Black Journalist from the L.A. Times that coined the phrase fired.
But..... couldn’t individual stations drop Rush if they wanted to, if he got too outrageous for them?
Then again, Rush is on about 600 stations. Even if a bunch bailed on him, he would still have good coverage.
Also, isn’t his show broadcast on the internet?
The internet and satellite radio may be the things that stop the nonsense of firing someone because they said something that somebody got offended by.
Talk about old news....Nowhere does this so called journalist say that the Limbaugh song is a PARODY of what the LASlimes and Ehrenstein wrote.
David Ehrenstein (born February 18, 1947, in New York City) is an American critic who focuses primarily on issues of homosexuality in cinema.
His writing career started in 1965 with an interview with Andy Warhol which was published in Film Culture magazine in 1966. Ehrenstein wrote for Film Culture until 1983. During the 1960s he also wrote for December and the Village Voice. In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles with his partner Bill Reed and began work as a film critic and entertainment journalist for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
Calling college women whores and crafting rape scenarios for the first lady and secretary of state are equivalent to making fun of a presidential candidate? Ain’t equality wonderful.
Rush did not coin the phrase “Magic Negro”. The author in the LA Times article used that expression first. This is a non issue.
Rush has the panties of these black/white elitists is such a wad at the moment. I think he is truly enjoying watching them squirm, although today he sounded a bit annoyed over the whole bit, including the alleged ABC hit piece that is supposed to run on monday...I hope he continues to make them twist and squirm. It is also absolutely clear that the author has never even once listened to Rush’s show.
Rush has created an incredibly complicated financial profile for both him, his affiliates, his advertisers, and his promoters.
So complicated that it is guarded like Fort Knox.
I once saw an article that posted Rush’s corporate financial profile at $1.5b per year - all inclusive.
He is a stand along model - no one matches his business model.
Tell that to Opie and Anthony.
The reason that Paul can speak with a perfect ‘ebonic’ dialect, is that he lives in Memphis, Tennessee,home of the Magic Negro language. A person has to speak ebonics if you are to ever get a hamburger in this town.
At the end of the day who is more powerful? Sometimes I question this. Us, the people, or hmmm the media and/or the government. Scary days we live in??????
True, but when Rush frist brought up the “Magic Negro” issue it was in response to the LA times article.
Outrage over that Spike Lee coined the term....???
#1 There is NO way Sharpton wants to debate Rush.
#2 If Sharpton were stupid enough to engage Rush, he would have his lunch handed to him.
Have you heard Rush’s show and where the words of his parody came from?
If they drop Rush, they will lose 20,000,000 listeners and their advertising rates would fall below what it takes to tune up their transmitters.
Follow the money...they won't drop Rush!
Keep thinking that way - it’s healthy.
"our Big Invisible Bi-Polar Daddy-in-the-Sky is treated with the utmost seriousness"
Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 19, 2005 12:19:58 PM
The concept of the Magic Negro has been around for decades.
Oh, really? Among whom, exactly? My awareness of it comes from writers who analyze Hollywood race obsession, and use that as a cudgel against normal Americans. Rather like Ehrenstein has done with Obama.
Rather than reveal much about Americans in general, such writers reveal rather more about their own rather shallow obsessions.
How about paying Mr. Obama the respect of actually listening to his arguments, and anaylzing his positions on their own merit? How about that? They seem unable to do that. Here is a guy who is arguably the best of a rather listless field of Democratic candidates, and all the Dems can do is fixate on his relative skin color. How many articles have appeared in the mainstream press wondering if Obama was black enough to be black?
While we're dissecting his positions on Iraq and taxation and immigration and abortion, they are agonizing over his racial credentials.
In case anyone has failed to notice, the writers churning out this kind of dreck are invariably Democrats; the mainstream newspapers with maybe a couple of exceptions nation-wide being a Democrat party monopoly.
Limbaugh has just called them on it. He's got their number.
Raoul’s Next Victim no doubt.
Imus’ advertisers were the Fortune 500 companies that had cut out on Limbaugh from day 1. Limbaugh’s advertisers don’t have to worry about that because the only people that have ever heard of them are the people that listen to Limbaugh.Same with Savage. If Imus wants to come back after he’s counted the $100 million that CBS will have to pay him, all he’ll have to do is hawk gold bullion and herbal hair restorers instead of Proctor and Gamble products, etc.
Interesting - two drive bys on the same stale story.
Discust is a powerful emotion.
Is this guy oh so PC or what? What an ass clown.
I found this...
Columnist labeled Obama first:
If you are offended by Rush Limbaugh’s satire, you should direct your complaints to David Ehrenstein, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
The writer’s March 19 column stated Barack Obama is the “Magic Negro.” Limbaugh satirized what Ehrenstein wrote.
Ah..I get the picture...
NO, Rush has been playing that hilarious spoof long before Imus was PC'd out.
“If the Barack the Magic Negro parody really disturbs them, perhaps they need to first get the Black Journalist from the L.A. Times that coined the phrase fired.”
The phrase was “coined” long before the LA Times writer revived it.
I think he looks more like a baldy-headed he-ho.
A few problems with that theory. The article and subsequent parody came out before Imus' comments. Second, Rush and Shanklin have been making fun of liberals for the last 20 years or so. Third, Rush is and always has been the number one rated nationally syndicated radio talk show. He doesn't need to "hitch onto" anyone to get people to pay attention.
Thanks. I did read them, this being my favorite, from an idiot named "Ron Kaye":
Tempest in a teacup here. Rush, like Ann Coulter and her ilk, just haven't figured out that their 15 minutes are about up. And as to "liberal" media, check to see who owns all these "liberal" media outlets. For the most part, they're very conservative. Their only agenda is profit, and they'll go wherever the money is. Or have we already forgotten the coverage the Clintons got for everything they *might* have done?
Rush has been on the air for about 20 years and syndicated for well over 15 years. This guy thinks his "15 minutes" is about up. Hilarious!
His mama be black?
Amazing how unsophisticated liberals are. They are so pathetic that they don't even grasp that it is a dead-on impersonation of Al Sharpton. They also apparently didn't know that Joe Biden called Obama "new and clean" or that the WHOLE song is a parody of what a LIBERAL BLACK GAY guy wrote about Barack. Don't reporters have the internet? It would take about 2 minutes of research to get this information before writing a completely baseless, useless easily refuted article.