The mainstream media was unwilling to look beyond its own stereotypes in accusing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour of racism, Donna Robinson Divine, a professor of government at Smith College,
writes on Politico.
Liberal pundits took Barbour to task for his comments about the role of Citizens Councils in his home state during the civil rights era.
“Gov. Barbour was actually trying to make a more subtle point about segregation and the role of the Citizens Councils,” Divine says. “He was asked about why segregation in his hometown did not trigger violence. While racist, the Citizens Councils were also composed of businessmen who did not want to disrupt the economy and so helped dampen the violence. The subtlety of his remarks was lost because of Barbour's image and his relatively conservative politics. People -- pundits -- seized on his remarks to discount him as a candidate because his words could be made to fit a stereotype.
“Once the media embrace a particular characterization, they repeat it until it becomes a fixture attached to a person or idea. I do not believe Barbour can do anything to change the rather faulty notion that he was trying to defend racists and racism.”
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