NewsBusted: The Blumer File, Part 2
NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer is as clueless as ever about how the media works -- which he topped by justifying the racism of Trump supporters.
By Terry Krepel
In 2016, though, Blumer really outdid himself, engaging in knee-jerk defenses of Donald Trump and his supporters, as well as knee-jerk attacks on Hillary Clinton, topped off with his usual, clueless media-bashing. Oh, and he defended racism by pretending it wasn't racism.
Let's review Blumer's year of rhetorical minefields, shall we?
Justifying racism of Trump supporters
Blumer complained in a Sept. 19 post that Juan Williams, in a column for The Hill, agrees with Hillary Clinton that a significant number of Trump supporters are "deplorables," citing a poll showing that a large percentage of self-described Trump supporters describe black people as more “lazy” than whites, “less intelligent” than whites, more “rude” than whites, more “violent” than whites and more “criminal” than whites, and that 58 percent of Trump supporters have either a “very unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” view of the entire religion of Islam. But Blumer doesn't want you to believe your own eyes:
Let's make one thing clear: All six of the views identified (five relating to blacks, and one relating to Islam) are NOT presumptively racist views. (Islam is a religion and not a race, so I'll set that matter aside after observing that the over 29,000 Islamic jihadist attacks around the world since 9/11 certainly influence the high percentage of Americans who view Islam unfavorably.) I would argue that the vast majority of people holding those views don't have a racist bone in their body. I'll demonstrate the accuracy of that argument later in this post.
That's right -- according to Blumer, it's not racist to believe blacks are inferior.
After trying to distract from the issue by noting that polls also showed a significantly lower number of Clinton supporters held similar views, Blumer hit us with his "accuracy" argument:
Holding any of those views is not an automatic indicator of racism and this fallacy, which should be obvious to anyone, has seriously polluted political discourse in the U.S. for far too long.
Not only is Blumer trying to obfuscate the issue -- for him, it apparently doesn't follow that declaring another race is violent, lazy, etc., is, in fact, a de facto "born that way" question -- he's trying to mainstream racist views.
In the original version of his post at his own BizzyBlog, Blumer went even further by explaining that "There are perfectly good reasons why respondents who are not racist in any way, shape or form would agree with each of the five statements." Which, somehow, gets even more racist while also trying to blame liberals in the process.
Blacks are less intelligent, Blumer argues, because "A disproportionate percentage of the black population receives substandard educations at inferior urban public schools and/or live in family situations where the parent or parents fails to treat childhood education with sufficient seriousness." He adds, "Those who have seen this disparity play out in real life will regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that black adults in 2016 America are on the whole less intelligent than non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so."
Lazy blacks? That's because "LBJ’s Great Society programs have devastated the black family and urban areas" and " Minimum-wage laws shut young blacks out of work ethic-building opportunities." Again, he adds: "Those who have seen this disparity play out in real life are going to regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that black adults in 2016 America on the whole do not have as strong a work ethic as non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so."
Rude blacks? "Again, we go back to the disastrous influence of the Great Society and its impact on the black family. Then add in the cultural influences which have filled the void, including violent and pornographic rap music." And again: "Those who have seen the difference in behavior in real life are going to regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that blacks in 2016 America on the whole are more rude than non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so."
Violent blacks? "The voluminous violent crime and other crime statistics, especially among black juveniles and early adults compared to non-blacks, speak for themselves. Sadly, those who are aware of the crime statistics are going to regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that blacks in 2016 America on the whole have a record of more violence and more criminality than non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so."
Finally, Blumer insists that Trump supporters are not racists but, rather, realists:
What that failure all too often shows is an inability to recognize or admit the sad realities in America today again, as much as one sincerely wishes that these conditions did not exist. One could also argue that Donald Trump’s overwhelmingly non-racist supporters are more willing to recognize those realities, unintimidated by people like Juan Williams, [Slate writer] Josh Voorhees and so many other misguided commentators and thought-police enforcers.
Yeah, realist like, uh, this Trump supporter.
As "The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah has noted, if the only time you see black people is when they're in a criminal situation, you will believe that all black people are criminals. And if -- as is apparently the case with Blumer -- the only media you consume is partisan-motivated right-wing media that portrays blacks as lazy and violent and insists that liberals made them that way as part of their political agenda, you will believe that. That seems to be why he is trying to tell us we shouldn't believe our own eyes with regard to the racist views of Trump supporters.
It's highly doubtful that Blumer "regretfully agrees" with the inferiority of blacks he believes exists, as much as he sincerely wishes it were not so -- it's too good of a right-wing talking point for people like him to be regretful about.
Blumer is trying to thread a needle that nobody this side of VDARE believes should be threaded -- and he's making NewsBusters look racist in the process. The MRC surely knows this, since it edited out the most offensive and indefensible part of his post. But what remains -- Blumer's insistence that obviously racist views can't possibly be racist -- is still pretty offensive and indefensible. Not to mention an incredibly desperate and bizarre attempt at right-wing "logic."
This isn't the first time that Blumer has blundered into racial matters. In a May 2013 post, Blumer asserted that Jason Richwine "recently resigned from the Heritage Foundation over objectively observing, in the words of a Fox News report, 'that Hispanics had a lower IQ than American whites, and that their descendants would too.'"
In fact, as Think Progress documented through interviews with experts on the subject and his peers at Harvard, where he developed the Ph.D. dissertation that came to that conclusion, "Richwine’s dissertation was sloppy scholarship, relying on statistical sophistication to hide some serious conceptual errors," and he engaged in " sub-standard research, work that makes strong assertions on a charged topic based on poorly defined concepts, incomplete and misleading summaries of opposing arguments, and bald analytic overreaches."
The Washington Post summed it up even more succinctly: Richwine "argued for a clear and persistent genetic basis to IQ, used that to argue for an immigration system based on IQ tests, and then provided political advice on how to hide the intent of that system."
In other words, Richwine's research wasn't "objective" -- it was incomplete and politically motivated.
Blumer vs. the AP
Blumer has an irrational hatred for the Associated Press. For instance, in 2013 he got mad that the AP didn't add bias to economic reports to make President Obama look bad.
Blumer went off on the AP again in a March 28 post, outraged that it wouldn't report that Faycal Cheffou, a suspect in terrorist attacks in Belgium, was a "journalist," ranting: "Why won't AP describe Faycal Cheffou as others have? Because he didn't have a union card? Someone will have to ask them."
Missing from Blumer's article: any evidence that Cheffou is, in fact, a journalist. And there appears to be a good reason the AP didn't report this information: because it doesn't appear to be true, despite what some other news outlets had claimed.
Blumer did mention a video Cheffou posted on YouTube two years ago as apparent backup for his "journalist" claim. But as the UK Independent reported, that video is the only apparent proof of Cheffou being a "journalist," and nobody but Cheffou is actually calling him one.
Blumer noted an AFP article that "refers to Cheffou working, presumably as a news person, at a radio station back in 2008." But Blumer is merely speculating; the article does not state what he did at the radio station and, like the Independent, notes that the source of Cheffou being a "journalist" is Cheffou himself.
So it seems that the AP was being quite prudent in not labeling Cheffou as something for which there is no proof. Blumer might want to take a lesson from that.
Blumer devoted a July 4 post to whining that the AP did an article on the 150th anniversary of the Ku Klux Klan. What he's really mad about, though, is that the AP referenced Donald Trump in its article, noting that "Klan leaders say Donald Trump's ascendancy in the GOP is a sign things are going their way," noting Trump's support for building a wall on the Mexican border, something the anti-immigrant Klan also supports. Blumer huffed:
There you go. The AP wants readers to believe that any supporter of nationalism, only-lawful immigration which doesn't take jobs away from current citizens, and building a wall to stem the tide of illegal immigration is really no different than the racists in the KKK.
Blumer, however, doesn't explain why there is a substantive difference between the two. Nor does he square these conservative views that are a part of the platform of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the Klan with his assertion that "All three incarnations of the Klan were either arms of, had close ties to, or were dominated by members of the Democratic Party."
Of course, Blumer omits the fact that it was Southern Democrats who provided this support for the Klan, and after Democratic support for civil rights laws in the 1960s made it clear that racism would no longer be tolerated through the entire Democratic Party, the Republicans drew up the "Southern strategy" to use race as an issue to woo southern Democrats to their party, which played a significant role in the current Republican dominance of Southern politics.
Also, Blumer's desperate attempt to try and separate Trump from racists might have worked a little better if his post hadn't come in the midst of the Trump campaign trying (and failing miserably) to spin away an anti-Semitic image attacking Hillary Clinton that originated on a white nationalist website that the campaign had tweeted out.
(It's also highly ironic given Blumer's justification of Trump supporters' racism a couple months after this post was written.)
Blumer also misleadingly attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center, claiming it engaged in "irresponsibility" that led to an attempt by an armed gunman to enter the Family Research Council headquarters because "it has taken to calling any group which advocates traditional one-man, one-woman marriage (e.g., the Family Research Council) as a hate group." In fact, the SPLC has explained that its listing of the FRC as a hate group is because "it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage."
If Blumer really believes that about the SPLC, he then has to admit that Operation Rescue played a role in the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller because convicted killer Scott Roeder had several contacts with the group before committing his crime, or the Center for Medical Progress played a role in the massacre of three employees at a Planned Parenthood clinic because of its dishonestly edited secret-video attacks on Planned Parenthood and suspected shooter Robert Dear was reportedly echoing what CMP and others (like the MRC) said about "baby parts" allegedly being sold from the clinics.
But Blumer will never admit any of that because it takes away his own argument, as he himself concedes:
Outfits like SPLC think it's "outrageous" that people blamed them when someone attempted mass murder based on their false evaluation of a mainstream Christian group. But in [historian quoted by the AP] David Cunningham's world, every person on earth who is patriotic, or advocates reasonable controls on immigration, or thinks a border wall is necessary, deserves to be blamed for any and all violence which might be committed by people who claim to hold similar positions.
So, the double standard continues, and Blumer is OK with it.
Getting it wrong
A July 20 post by Blumer started off by denouncing Stephen Colbert as an "alleged comedian" who's a comedown for the network that hired him, CBS. Blumer was especially upset at the little stunt Colbert pulled at the Republican National Convention:
So on Monday, Colbert, dressed like a dolt, and took to the stage to conduct a mock convention opening.
If Blumer had bothered to have ever actually watch Colbert's show, he would know that the name of Colbert's Flickerman segments is called the "Hungry for Power Games" -- not "Hunger for Power Games."
And if Blumer had bothered to have ever actually watch Colbert's show, he would have known that the Flickerman RNC segment he's bashing had run the night before he wrote his post, and he could have linked to the segment itself instead of relying on some random person's cell phone video of an out-of-context part of the segment. Certainly even hard-hearted, media-bashing Blumer might be able to find a chuckle at Colbert yelling at NBC's Chuck Todd, "Have Matt Lauer washed and brought to my tent!" And he wouldn't have botched Colbert's parting dig, where he actually said: "I know I'm not supposed to be up here, but let's be honest, neither is Donald Trump."
But Blumer's not one to let his ignorance get in the way of his Colbert bashing. He chortled that Colbert's show has been "finishing at or barely above third in the 18-49 ratings to both Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel," then sneered: "Though Colbert got some of the attention he craved from Access Hollywood, it's hard to imagine that this will help his show's ratings."
Actually, Colbert did get a nice ratings boost from his live RNC shows, beating both Fallon and Kimmel.
But, hey, NewsBusters isn't paying Blumer to get his facts straight.
Limits of logic
Blumer revisited the rhetorical edge that made him defend Trump supporters' racism in a Sept. 29 post, in which he strained logic to its limits by insisting that Bill Clinton's denial that he raped Juanita Broaddrick isn't real because the denial came from spokesmen and not directly from Clinton's mouth.
No, really. Blumer actually argued this at length:
In a narrow sense, the item discussed here really shouldn't be newsworthy, because it's based on history which has for all practical purposes long been settled. But now that it's being treated as news, let's look into the can of worms at least two media outlets have chosen to open, perhaps without fully grasping the consequences of their doing so.
Yep, that's Blumer's argument -- Clinton's denial is not "a genuine denial" unless Clinton himself is on record saying it. Sad, yet not unexpected from a guy who insists racism isn't really racism.