The mainstream media are stepping up their less-than-subtle charges of racism against 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Reviewing Sarah Palin’s smash bestseller, “Going Rogue” in the latest New Yorker magazine, New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus suggests the former Alaska governor may have a dark side of ethnic bigotry.
Tanenhaus cites the new book, “Sarah From Alaska,” co-authored by Scott Conroy, who covered Palin's campaign last year for CBS News, and Shushannah Walshe, who covered it for Fox News. “Palin’s father, Chuck Heath,” Tanenhaus writes, told Conroy and Walshe that Palin left college in Hawaii after only a single semester because “the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable.”
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Here is the ambiguous quote from Heath that Tanenhaus bases his accusation on: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.”
Extrapolating further, Tanenhaus asserts that “Race is often the subtext of populist campaigns; their most potent appeal is to whites who are feeling under siege by changing economic and cultural conditions. Palin’s strength with this constituency can only have grown since the last election.”
Tanenhaus adds, “It’s the reason that her bus tour is passing through the small cities and towns (Fort Wayne, Indiana; Washington, Pennsylvania) where the 2008 election might have been won … She is avoiding major cities in the Northeast and on the West Coast, a pointed assertion of her contempt for metropolitan élites.”
Even her marrying a high school sweetheart with Eskimo blood doesn’t let her off the racialist hook, according to Tanenhaus. Palin is “circumspect on the issue of ethnicity,” in “Going Rogue,” according to Tanenhaus, “pointing out that [husband] Todd, whom she met in high school, is ‘part Yupik Eskimo’ and opened her to the ‘social diversity’ of Alaska.”
Other liberal media have accused Palin of veiled racism. In a clip posted on Newsmax.TV last month, MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews commented of a Palin book tour stop in Michigan, “Well, they look like a white crowd to me … not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it is pretty monochromatic up there.” Matthews added that he thought there was a “tribal aspect to this thing, in other words white versus other people.” And he attacked Palin’s assertion in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan should have been “profiled.”
Reacting to Tanenhaus’ article, the New Republic under the headline, “Palin Question of the Day,” last week complained, “Why – and readers should weigh in – has this gotten absolutely no media attention?” The Huffington Post was asking on Sunday, “Did Sarah Palin leave Hawaii because there were too many Asians?”
A posting on the leftist Daily Kos Web site says, “what this really shows is Palin’s deep-seated provincialism that has been on display ever since the campaign. And it’s that very provincialism – knowing where the ‘real’ America is – that appeals to her devoted Know Nothing followers.”
If Tanenhaus’ ability to leap to the conclusion that Palin is "uncomfortable" around non-whites seems curious, so does the schizophrenia of some of his recent political analysis.
In his New Republic article early this year declaring conservatism dead, which he expanded into a book, “The Death of Conservatism,” he described Barack Obama as “a president who seems more thoroughly steeped in the principles of Burkean conservatism than any significant thinker or political figure on the right,” referring to British parliamentarian Edmund Burke.
Now, some months later, in his review of Palin’s “Going Rogue,” Tanenhaus, apparently whistling a new tune, says Obama “means to usher in the third phase of liberal reform that began with the New Deal and continued with the New Frontier-Great Society initiatives.”
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