Posted on July 14, 2004

Willfully Misleading, or Stunningly Ignorant?

Patterico, Oh That Liberal Media, July 9, 2004

An editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times asks the silly question: Why Snub the NAACP?

[President George W. Bush] has declined to speak at the NAACP’s annual convention, which starts Saturday.

Unless he changes his mind, this will make Bush the first president since Hoover not to attend a single NAACP convention during his presidency.

Why on earth not? Bush’s decision to boycott the NAACP is inexplicable as a matter of presidential leadership. And it is just as inexplicable as a matter of low, self-interested politics. We would accuse him of ulterior motives, but it is hard to think of any.

. . .

Not since Richard Nixon have a president’s motives been so hard to fathom.

You got that? The L.A. Times editors — supposedly well-informed folks — have no earthly idea why George W. Bush might have the slightest problem with the NAACP. Picture Scooby-Doo — shrugging his shoulders and making that canine noise of helpless befuddlement in response to a particularly tricky question posed by Shaggy — and you’ll get an idea of the utter confusion of the Times editors as they ponder the impenetrable mystery of why G.W. Bush wouldn’t want to address the NAACP.

Consider this a pop quiz. I’ll pause for a moment and ask Patterico/Oh, That Liberal Media readers if you can think of any possible reason for George W. Bush to resent the NAACP. The L.A. Times editors haven’t the foggiest. Can you think of anything?

Well, let’s look at the benefits Bush received from speaking to the NAACP as a presidential candidate in July 2000. Two months later, the “non-partisan” NAACP ran this advertisement linking Bush to the racially motivated dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas:

[Background sound: deep, eerie metallic; later fade in low clanking]

Renee Mullins (voice over): I’m Renee Mullins, James Byrd’s daughter.

On June 7, 1998 in Texas my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged 3 miles to his death, all because he was black.

So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.

Call Governor George W. Bush and tell him to support hate-crime legislation.

We won’t be dragged away from our future.

Keep in mind: the editors of the Los Angeles Times profess not to have the slightest idea why Bush doesn’t want to address the NAACP in this election year. And indeed, their editorial does not say one word about this hateful advertising campaign, obviously intended to oppose his 2000 presidential candidacy.

Does Bush have any reason to believe that he’ll be treated differently by the NAACP this election year? Here’s a clue for you, Jack: the chairman of the NAACP has vowed that his organization will work to defeat Bush in the 2004 election!

Yup, you heard right. In July of 2003, I published a post that quoted an Associated Press story as saying:

The leader of the NAACP [Julian Bond] criticized President Bush and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, for challenging race-conscious admissions in colleges and vowed to work to unseat the president in 2004 … [Bond] also said the group intended “to uproot the bigger ‘Bush’ in 2004.”

(As I pointed out in the same post, Bond’s comments were also a clear violation of IRS regulations preventing tax-exempt organizations like the NAACP from engaging in “political activities” — a term that expressly encompasses “activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate, even on the basis of non-partisan criteria.”)

So: despite the fact that the NAACP is explicitly dedicated to defeating Bush in this election, the astoundingly clueless editors at the L.A. Times just can’t comprehend why Bush doesn’t want to address the organization.

“Why on earth not?” they ask.

Most revealing of all is the way that the Times editors characterize Bush’s relations with this group — whose chairman has publicly vowed to work to defeat him in the upcoming election:

Relations with the NAACP have not been terribly warm since Bush became president.

Relations “have not been terribly warm.” You don’t say!

I’ll leave it to the readers to debate whether the editors responsible for this trash were aware of the above facts, and thus making a transparently fraudulent argument — or whether they were just unaware of these same facts, thus showing themselves to be astoundingly ignorant on the ic on which they chose to opine.

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