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Dan Rather Apologizes for 'Watermelons' Comment (He really meant to say 'Fried Chicken')
NewsBusters ^ | March 10, 2010 | Goeffrey Dickens

Posted on 03/10/2010 11:29:24 AM PST by Zakeet

HDNet's Dan Rather, in a piece for the Huffington Post, apologized for his use of the word "watermelons" during a segment about Barack Obama's ability to pass health care, that was aired on the March 8 Chris Matthews Show. In his explanation Rather offers his Texas background as an excuse saying, "I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas" but then goes on to plead "I'm sorry people took offense."

The following is the most relevant portion of the statement, from the former CBS Evening News anchor, as it appears in The Huffington Post:

I was talking about Obama and health care and I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment. I'm sorry people took offense.

But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind. Reporting on the injustices of race was part of the reason I became a reporter. I grew up in segregated Texas on the same side of the tracks as the African American community. At the time, enlightened people called them Negros. Many people called them much worse. When I covered the Civil Rights movement, I saw sheer hatred in ways that still haunt and shock me. For doing my small part in reporting on the South in the 1960s, I was called a traitor to my roots and other names not fit for print. I was threatened with death by people who would have welcomed me to their church on Sunday on account of my white skin if they didn't know what I was there to do. I do not take this issue lightly.

I can understand why someone who just happened upon my comments could take offense or want clarification. But what has caused this comment to "go viral" is the trumpeting of an online and cable echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo. Furthermore, even for those who brook no prejudice, when everything is condensed to 140 characters or a small YouTube clip, many people who got this "news" did so without any context, just a headline that popped up on their phone or inbox.

For the full piece visit The Huffington Post.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: danrather; facebook; hollywoodreds; oldcoot; racismwatermelons; rather; ratherbiased; ratherisms; seebs; twitter Comment #1 Removed by Moderator

To: Zakeet

Keep digging, Kenneth.


2 posted on 03/10/2010 11:31:18 AM PST by Argus
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To: Zakeet
I was talking about Obama and health care and I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans

This stereotype didn't exist when Dan Rather was a boy, it cam afterwards ("Now of course... have become...")?

Dan, you said Macaca and now must go on the air with Al Sharpton to apologize.

3 posted on 03/10/2010 11:31:42 AM PST by a fool in paradise
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To: Zakeet
"I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas" but then goes on to plead "I'm sorry people took offense."

What a crappy appology. He did not say he was sorry for saying what he did. He said he was sorry that some people took offense. He took no responsibility for his statement; rather he appologized because some people took it the wrong way. What a wimp.

4 posted on 03/10/2010 11:31:50 AM PST by mlocher (USA is a sovereign nation)
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To: Zakeet
In his explanation Rather offers his Texas background as an excuse saying, "I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas"

I've lived in Texas all my life, and I've NEVER heard that expression used.

5 posted on 03/10/2010 11:31:52 AM PST by VRWCmember
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To: Zakeet

I love it when a-holes step on the same landmine they buried.


6 posted on 03/10/2010 11:32:11 AM PST by Pavegunner72
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To: Zakeet

It’s a good thing he didn’t say “pistachios”. The muzzies would be all over his SeeBS-looking @$$.


7 posted on 03/10/2010 11:32:37 AM PST by FlingWingFlyer (A proud American-American since 1949.)
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To: VRWCmember

But I bet ol’ Dan’s busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest trying to backpedal over that remark.


8 posted on 03/10/2010 11:35:00 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Argus

LOL!


9 posted on 03/10/2010 11:35:14 AM PST by RushIsMyTeddyBear (I don't have a 'Cousin Pookie'.)
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To: Argus
But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind.

Dan, you don't have a mind. We figured that out when you were trying to bring down Pres. Bush with a phony made up story.

10 posted on 03/10/2010 11:35:24 AM PST by kcvl
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Dan Rather gets hoisted by his own petard.


11 posted on 03/10/2010 11:35:45 AM PST by reagandemocrat
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Dan, the gift that keeps on giving. And thats how it is America.


12 posted on 03/10/2010 11:38:29 AM PST by equalitybeforethelaw
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To: Argus
"echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo.

And who would know gossip, gotcha and inuendo better than you Dan?

13 posted on 03/10/2010 11:39:07 AM PST by Michael.SF. (At least Hitler got the Olympics for Germany)
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To: Argus

Poor Dan and his fake ‘folksy’ persona. He is under enourmous internal pressure, trying to maintain two false-self systems at the same time (country boy and urban liberal). The watermelon comment is a ‘freudian slip’, a ‘tell’, or an ‘indicator’.

Most inconvenient.

Most difficult for political progressives to constantly monitor what they say, and keep the list of forbidden words and phrases up to date.


14 posted on 03/10/2010 11:41:35 AM PST by olepap (God help us)
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To: Argus

I hate the speech police, so in an effort to be fair to all sides, I give ole Dan a pass.


15 posted on 03/10/2010 11:41:55 AM PST by freespirited (We're not the Party of No. We're the Party of HELL NO!!!)
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To: freespirited
I hate the speech police, so in an effort to be fair to all sides, I give ole Dan a pass.

It was Dan Rather and the scumbag left who gave us "the speech police".
..So screw that closet racist Dan Rather.

16 posted on 03/10/2010 11:46:09 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Zakeet; a fool in paradise

17 posted on 03/10/2010 11:46:12 AM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Argus

“.. that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo.”

Well, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!


18 posted on 03/10/2010 11:47:02 AM PST by Pessimist (u)
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To: Argus

Courage, Dan!


19 posted on 03/10/2010 11:48:20 AM PST by razorback-bert ( if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid)
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To: Argus
I'm sorry people took offense.

*sigh*

Yet another liberal non-apology.

20 posted on 03/10/2010 11:48:43 AM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: Zakeet

Won’t wash, Rather. You simply reaffirm that Liberals are racist. Always have been.


21 posted on 03/10/2010 11:54:15 AM PST by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: TChris

Sorry Dan all your apologies won’t conceal that you be a racist!!


22 posted on 03/10/2010 11:54:17 AM PST by kenmcg (uicl)
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To: Zakeet; Buckhead
But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind.

I beg to differ.


23 posted on 03/10/2010 11:55:30 AM PST by TankerKC (Law Enforcement IS Big Government.)
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To: Argus

What did he originally say? I’ve been looking but can’t find.


24 posted on 03/10/2010 11:55:43 AM PST by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: TChris
I'm sorry people took offense.

Translation: I'm sorry that some people are so deeply racist that they would consider an innocent Texas expression about watermelons to be a racist comment. These people should be ashamed of themselves.
25 posted on 03/10/2010 11:56:23 AM PST by Deo volente (January 19, 2010...the Second American Revolution begins, right where it all started!)
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To: Argus
But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind. Reporting on the injustices of race was part of the reason I became a reporter. I grew up in segregated Texas on the same side of the tracks as the African American community. At the time, enlightened people called them Negros. Many people called them much worse. When I covered the Civil Rights movement, I saw sheer hatred in ways that still haunt and shock me. For doing my small part in reporting on the South in the 1960s, I was called a traitor to my roots and other names not fit for print. I was threatened with death by people

Somebody wake me when he's done typing...

The lady doth protest too much.

26 posted on 03/10/2010 11:57:33 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Argus

what does watermelons have to do with Obama? He was raised in whitelandia by his white mother. BTW how did he magically develop that “black” accent?


27 posted on 03/10/2010 11:57:42 AM PST by hecht
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To: freespirited; CatDancer

As much as I hate to give Dan a pass, I, too, don’t care much for the speech police. Additionally, people seem to be so easily ready to take offense.

Maybe when the weather warms up a bit he can join Biden and Obama in the rose garden for a beer— or some watermelon whine.


28 posted on 03/10/2010 11:57:43 AM PST by green pastures (Cynicism-- it's not just for breakfast anymore...)
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To: Argus

Tone deaf as always, huh Dan?


29 posted on 03/10/2010 11:58:35 AM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: hecht

Steve Dunham was a very bitter child because he felt ostracized by blacks and whites as he grew up.

He couldn’t “appear white”, so he overcompensated and spent his life hating whitey.


30 posted on 03/10/2010 11:59:50 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: TankerKC

Good one.


31 posted on 03/10/2010 12:01:15 PM PST by Buckhead
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To: Pessimist

Well, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!”

RACIST!


32 posted on 03/10/2010 12:05:12 PM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: Buckhead
Good one.

We have Billy to thank, 'cuz that is 100% authentic.

33 posted on 03/10/2010 12:05:36 PM PST by TankerKC (Law Enforcement IS Big Government.)
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To: green pastures

Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HU-C4Wost8


34 posted on 03/10/2010 12:06:42 PM PST by reagandemocrat (Bless Tom T. Hall)
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To: Argus

Two-Fer

(Even has an Asian theme to throw Tom Hanks into the mix:)

35 posted on 03/10/2010 12:07:10 PM PST by libertarian27 (Land of the FEE, home of the SHAMED)
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To: Argus

He really meant fried chicken AND watermelon.


36 posted on 03/10/2010 12:07:12 PM PST by crosshairs
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To: TankerKC; Buckhead

Nice to see you two FReeper legends here.

RD


37 posted on 03/10/2010 12:15:25 PM PST by reagandemocrat
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To: reagandemocrat

Ah, good ol’ Tom T...

:-)


38 posted on 03/10/2010 12:19:43 PM PST by green pastures (Cynicism-- it's not just for breakfast anymore...)
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To: VRWCmember
I moved to TX 8 years ago from (what I now realize to be) a very racist and hateful part of CA. You know, the part with people in it. Many of the folks around me in CA were quiet and vehement about their racist beliefs and you would never know until an unguarded moment what really dwelled in them folks' hearts. Of course, they never rubbed elbows with black people, except for Steve, the mainframe guy (example), and had no valid reason to hold the beliefs they did, as they were based on ignorance rather than real world experience.

Anyway, having been raised in that environment, and having no real experience with black folks either save for that Ice-T video with the girl shaking her butt, I was entirely unprepared the day I saw a black guy at the side of the road selling watermelons from his pickup. I did a double take, burned a 180, and went back to get a closer look at this rarified specimen. Turns out he is a small farmer in the area. He sells what he grows, and at that point in the season, it was watermelon for sale. He works hard. I restrained myself for asking for a photo of him in front of his truck, (because that would have been awesome!) but I really did open my mind and learn something that day: Liberals from CA are close minded pricks!.

This occured on the road to Bryan, about 40 miles south, almost to highway 290. Apparently he is still there.

39 posted on 03/10/2010 12:23:49 PM PST by I Buried My Guns
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To: I Buried My Guns
I have no doubt that farmers sell their produce on the side of the road. In fact, I have seen folks do that out of the bed of their pickup trucks - especially in southern Texas. But I have never heard that expression as Dan Rather put it.
40 posted on 03/10/2010 12:44:49 PM PST by VRWCmember
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To: Argus

If Dan wasn’t a racist, he would have said “Couldn’t sell ice water in hell.”

What a d-bag!


41 posted on 03/10/2010 1:00:04 PM PST by SolidRedState (Someone finally found a spine and it is attached to an Alaskan Governor!)
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To: equalitybeforethelaw

Dan is scrambleing like a bunch of black guys trying
to throw a watermelon through a peach basket.

Wait, that came from my growing up in New Jersey where
sellers would line up at the side of the bus station
rest room...

That I would believe Dan.


42 posted on 03/10/2010 3:31:46 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Always nice to see a liberal get in trouble for saying something that thin skinned people want to take offense at.


43 posted on 03/10/2010 5:00:46 PM PST by kathsua (A woman can do anything a man can do and have babies besides.)
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To: reagandemocrat
Dan, you ADA/PC/Discrimination/Hate speech Failed.
44 posted on 03/10/2010 5:05:25 PM PST by 4Liberty ( we have a rat problem .)
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To: TankerKC

Brilliant!


45 posted on 03/10/2010 5:09:37 PM PST by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: allmendream
Brilliant!

I must admit that I chuckled at it myself.

46 posted on 03/10/2010 5:15:47 PM PST by TankerKC (Law Enforcement IS Big Government.)
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To: kathsua

There are plenty of racist gaffes from the famous nightly news anchors. They just haven’t been released to the public. They are out there in the ethernet...


47 posted on 03/10/2010 11:20:54 PM PST by a fool in paradise
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