The job of many liberal journalists these days apparently is to discern veiled Republican racism wherever they can find it – or make it up.
The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson, for instance has a tired column today asserting that “today’s Republican Party represents the worst traditions of the South’s dankest backwaters.” Basically opposing tax hikes and greenhouse-gas emission caps show the GOP’s roots in white racism, or something.
Meanwhile Jack Hitt at Harpers rolls out a Republicans-are-Racist charge that involves ignoring all the relevant facts.
[A]s a Puerto Rican party functionary—Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, “Is this happening?” I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina.
Hitt should have left it at “I honestly didn’t know what was happening.” And his editor should have read that line and decided not to publish the baseless insinuations.
Here’s what happened, Jack:
RNC Chairman Reince Preibus had called for a voice vote to approve the Credential Committee’s report. Ron Paul delegates objected, because the committee had refused to seat half of the Paul delegates. When the voice vote came, the “Noes” clearly were louder than the “Ayes.” (Ron Paul backers are pretty good at shouting.) Preibus ruled that the Ayes had won, and then he ignored many yells of “Point of Order.”
The Paulites began chanting “Point of Order,” trying to stop the proceedings so they could have a roll-call vote or even a debate. They also chanted “Seat Maine Now,” in this period.
Some Romney backers from delegations near Maine responded – for better or worse – by chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” over the Paulites’ chants.
Preibus, meanwhile, was just trying to steamroll ahead, and so he brought on Puerto Rican Republican Zoraida Fonalledas, who tried to speak over the parliamentary objections of the Paulites – and thus over the “U.S.A.!” chants of the Romney backers.
From this brouhaha, Harpers’ Jack Hitt concludes it was probably a bunch of racist Republicans shouting U.S.A. at a woman with a Hispanic accent. Seven hours later Hitt added a footnote citing BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller explaining what actually happened.
Miller’s reporting so thoroughly debunks what Hitt wrote that I would have expected Hitt to retract it. But when it comes to charging Republicans with racism, the standards are different, I guess.