Media covers lynching, sort of

In 1988, George Bush Sr.’s campaign ran an ad against Willie Horton, a murderer and rapist furloughed by Bush’s election opponent Dukakis. The media discussed not just the tough-on-crime issue, but the subtext of using the Black male to scare voters. Notice that discussion did not depend one bit on Horton’s reputation. It still happened.

In 2000, John McCain lost the South Carolina primary in the context of a lynching of his adopted daughter for racial reasons. The media pointed that out and discussed it again in the 2008 elections as a sleaze-ball operation.

In 2006, the Jena 6 events started in Louisiana, a red state, a reliably Republican-voting state. A noose went up on a tree, but with no specific accusations accompanying it. Not only did the media cover the event, but the coverage generated one of the largest civil rights demonstrations of recent times.

What these events all have in common is Republican image via Blacks, the most reliable Democratic voters. John McCain’s daughter is Asian, but the sleaze operation insinuated she was part Black.

It makes one wonder, if the Democrats had a racist event whether there would be an uproar. Willie Horton, John McCain’s daughter and viewers of the noose in the tree in Jena were victims of an atmosphere of hatred, but suffered no specific additional discriminatory action in connection to the immediate lynching. The Jena 6 event became bitter for events that happened later involving fires and fighting. If there were statements of prejudice followed by discriminatory action against an individual and then a group of people just based on ethnicity, would the media cover it if Democratic activists were caught?

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