Skip to comments.Watermelons, Washington, and What We Call News Today (Rather Dan Apologizes for Slur - sort of)
Posted on 03/10/2010 10:43:03 PM PST by Libloather
Link only - Watermelons, Washington, and What We Call News Today
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, do you remember the incident on Chris Matthews' show on Sunday? You probably didn't see it, but we aired it for you. Matthews was interviewing Rather. They were talking about what they thought Obama's big problem was and Rather said (summarized), "Well, no leadership here, can't get anything done, taking all this time. It's a bad impression he's leaving. Republicans are going to say, 'This guy is so bad, he couldn't sell watermelons on the side of the road if the state trooper were stopping traffic for him.'" Matthews is going (flipping out), "Wah-ah ah! No, no! No, Dan! No!"
Well, today Rather has posted a piece at the Huffing and Puffington Post entitled: "Watermelons, Washington, and What We Call News Today," and he starts it this way: "I must confess that until recently I had no idea what Twitter was. Even now, I'm not completely sure how it's best used. When I want to post something, the younger, more tech-savvy people in my office help me out. But I do know this: if you searched Twitter for 'Dan Rather' over the past few days, you probably could guess why I feel the need to write this column. It started this past Sunday when I appeared on Chris Matthews' syndicated talk show. I've known and respected Chris for many years and I enjoy doing his show. I take the train down from my home in New York to Washington D.C. and as I approach Union Station my thoughts often turn to the years I spent covering the Johnson and Nixon White Houses." (laughing)
"You see where this is going. It was a turbulent time for the country and a formative period for me as a reporter and a young father. The Washington of that time was a far different place. In some ways it was better: less politically rancorous, more collegial. In many ways it, and the country it represented, was much worse. African Americans were still very much second-class citizens. Women held few positions of power. We smoked more, polluted our environment more," uh, no, no, no, Dan. No, no. That's a faux pas. I'm surprised they let that go. We're polluting now like we never have, Dan. Yeah, okay, "and accepted social mores that anyone who has seen Mad Men knows are embarrassingly outdated," meaning drinking in the office, bedding the secretary, that sort of stuff. Dan, that stuff's still going on, too. The news media... (interruption)
Snerdley asks how do I know. Because I know human nature. "The news media was also different, so different in fact that I won't even try to enumerate all the changes." You can see where this is headed. Where do you think it's headed? (interruption) No. No. He's saying he was one of the early participants in the civil rights movement. "All this is the backdrop for what I said on the Matthews show. 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..."
Dan, this doesn't work for most people. We'll see if it works for you"[A]nyone 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..." Next he's going to tell us (I haven't read this whole thing) he sold watermelons. Let's see. "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..." All of this just goes to show you what a politically correct touch this is. Just say, "I wasn't talking about that, and you know it!" Just say, "Lighten up. I wasn't talking about that and everybody knows it." No, we get 1500 words here. "What saddens me is what this experience has made all too clear. Much of what we call news, isn't. Much of what we Tweet, or post, or chat away at under the guise of news, are distractions." What's that got to do with you saying, "Obama couldn't sell watermelons on the side of a road if a state trooper stopped the traffic for him"?
Yet he expects us all to be aware of his childhood memory when he said what he said?
I don’T really care about what he said in and of itself, but his explanation has BS written all over it. And since the explanation has BS written all over it, then that means it was a racist comment.
When asked about Dan Rather’s “watermelon” comment, _resident Obama replied: “Dan Rather’s staff is so shiftless, he gets all his talking points in lowercase.”
He continued: “Dan Rather’s so dumb, he thinks WingDings are a state fair meal of chicken and fried Hostess dessert.”
“He’s so dumb, that when a document specialist said ‘Word’, he thought it was hip-hop slang for ‘You’re right, bro’”.
“Dan Rather’s so dumb, he thought Texas Air National Guard was a drink designed for astronauts.”