Ta-Nehesi Coates writes persuasively in The Atlantic about how the media got deplorably spun on Hillary Clinton’s indisputable assessment of deplorable viewpoints among supporters of Donald Trump.
Events on Friday threw that thesis into doubt. Hillary Clinton made a claim—half of Donald Trump’s supporters are motivated by some form of bigotry. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it,” she said. “And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.” Clinton went on to claim that there is another half—people disappointed in the government and economy who are desperate for change. The second part of this claim received very little attention, simply because much of media could not make its way past the first half. The resultant uproar challenges the idea that Breitbat lost.
Indeed, what Breitbart understood, what his spiritual heir Donald Trump has banked on, what Hillary Clinton’s recent pillorying has clarified, is that white grievance, no matter how ill-founded, can never be humiliating nor disqualifying. On the contrary, it is a right to be respected at every level of American society from the beer-hall to the penthouse to the newsroom.
The comment was “a self-inflicted wound” claimed the Washington Post reporter Dan Balz. It was very close to the dictionary definition of bigoted,” asserted John Heilemann. My colleague Ron Fournier and the Post’s Aaron Blake were both taken aback by the implicit math of Clinton’s statement. “Clinton appeared to be slapping the ‘racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic’ label on about 20 percent of the country,” wrote Blake in a post whose headline echoed that of the Trump campaign manager’s website. “That’s no small thing.” Whether or not it was a false thing remained uninvestigated.
Polling data illustrates support for the Clinton premise, despite the criticism that journalists — someone called them “theater critics” — instantly heaped on Clinton. There’s much worth reading, but here’s his conclusion:
The safe space for the act of being white endures today. This weekend, the media, an ostensibly great American institution, saw it challenged and—not for the first time—organized to preserve it. For speaking a truth, backed up by data, Clinton was accused of promoting bigotry. No. The true crime was endangering white consciousness. So it was when the president asserted that it was stupid to arrest a man for breaking into his own home. So it was when the president said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. And so it is when reformers suggest police not stop citizens on so flimsy a pretext as furtive movements. The need to be white is a sensitive matter—one which our institutions are inexorably and mindlessly bound to protect.
On a perhaps less elevated plane is Esquire’s Charles Pierce:
. Are we grading El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago, who doesn’t know enough about any issue to throw to a cat, on a curve? The answer can be seen plainly enough in how everybody now is pretending that what HRC said isn’t god’s own truth, or how everybody is arguing that you can’t say that stuff out loud because to do so is unkind to white people who are so concerned about unfair trade deals that they go to freaking Stormfront to argue about it. Talk about grading on a curve. There is an accomplished woman saying something everybody knows is true and there is a vulgar talking yam who apparently could set his own dick on fire and not pay much of a price for it on television. That is grading on the curve, but it’s nothing new.