Flickr photo by Vermin Inc
The media spent a full day on Monday, January 11th, dissecting and reconstructing the surface meaning of Sen. Harry Reid's remarks on Obama, which most pundits and political leaders have characterized as racist. It's a good thing the media was given this distraction because with health care slipping into oblivion and the CIA bomber in Afghanistan and the botched bombing on Christmas Day the media was probably getting uncomfortable (one wonders how far away some newsrooms were from exploring the real motivations of the CIA bomber more closely or discussing how an "Israeli firm "failed to detect would-be bomber").
The remarks from Reid became the subject of discussion over the weekend as it became evident that Reid was quoted saying that Obama was a good choice because he was "light skinned" and described him as someone "with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one" in Mark Halperin's and John Heileman's Game Change, a book that provided the media a fantastical opportunity to divert attention away from real issues to personalities they long and yearn to cover once again but can't because the 2008 Election is over.
Reid's remark was almost immediately placed alongside Trent Lott's remark on Strom Thurmond that contributed to his political demise. Lott said in 2002, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
The discussion became focused on whether Lott's "racist remark" and Reid's "racist remark" were comparable or not. And, the debate was trotted out and rehashed on all the biggest and best news shows.