Another Perspective

The Plantation President

Justice Thomas makes a point: the liberal media as the new American slave owners.

By 5.7.13

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"I always knew that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media. Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart. Pick anyone who’s decided not to go along with it—there’s a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody that the media had to agree with."
-- Justice Clarence Thomas on the election of Barack Obama as the first black president.

Is Barack Obama a slave?

And is the liberal media his white massa?

To suggest this is the provocative political equivalent of jamming a sharp pointed dental probe in an exposed tooth nerve.

Which is precisely what Justice Clarence Thomas did the other day in an appearance at Duquesne University.

Good for him.

The political nerve that Justice Thomas touched is as simple as it is sensitive. So let’s pose it as a question.

If Barack Obama had exactly the same background -- Kenyan father, white Mom from Kansas, degrees from Columbia and Harvard Law, author of an early autobiography Dreams from My Father, marriage and father to two lovely daughters, election to the Illinois State Senate, a big, successful speech on behalf of his party’s 2004 presidential nominee at the party convention, election to the United States Senate that same year, followed by a run for president in 2008 -- would he have been elected?

Again, everything would be exactly the same -- except for the following few changes I will make in the Obama résumé.

The autobiography of our fictional Barack Obama would be about a father who spent time fighting a Communist insurgency in Angola alongside the Reagan administration-supported Jonas Savimbi. The book would discuss the marriage that occurred when Barack Obama Sr. took leave of his freedom fighting to get a college education in America, where he met and married Obama’s mother, an early pro-life activist in her native Kansas and again in Hawaii, where young Barack was born. The book also talks about Obama’s own time as a young pro-life activist on the streets of Chicago and his mentoring by a controversial Jerry Falwell-style black minister, known for his dalliance with hard right evangelists. By 2004, having served in the Illinois Senate where he cast a vote in favor of a Senate resolution declaring life begins at conception, State Senator Obama, newly nominated for the U.S. Senate by Republicans, gives a smash-hit speech seconding the nomination of George W. Bush for a second term as president. Elected to the Senate in 2004, the pressure builds immediately on U.S. Senator Obama to challenge the assumed GOP frontrunner for the presidency, party Establishment favorite Senator John McCain. Running to the right of McCain, Obama is a huge hit on the campaign trail as he talks to excited conservatives about “transforming America” in “the next chapter of the Reagan Revolution.” He talks about “government is the problem” and how the country must become “an America where oil is drilled, coal is mined, businesses are built and babies are born.” In a hotly fought battle, against all the odds, Obama trounces McCain in the Iowa caucuses. He loses narrowly in New Hampshire, but over the course of the next several months the GOP is swept up in a trance with the young Illinois Senator. And on a warm night in Denver on 2008, Senator Barack Obama steps forward as the first black presidential nominee of a major party -- the Republican Party.

Stop right there.

Let’s return to Justice Thomas’s statement on the election of the real Barack Obama.

I always knew that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media. Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart. Pick anyone who’s decided not to go along with it — there’s a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody that the media had to agree with.

 And let’s remember something Justice Thomas did not discuss, although he alluded to it.

Recall that Clarence Thomas, he the son of a farmer and domestic worker from Pin Point, Georgia, was raised by his grandparents when his father left his mother, his grandfather instilling in the young Clarence the value of hard work. Thomas worked his way to college where he became a graduate of Holy Cross and Yale Law. After law school Thomas went on to serve as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, a lawyer for Monsanto the chemical company, a legislative staffer for Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senator John Danforth, an Assistant Secretary of Education in the Office of Civil Rights in the Reagan Administration, followed by service as Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a Bush 41 appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Then comes the day that the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is announced. Marshall, of course, the legendary civil rights lawyer, was appointed by the liberal President Lyndon Johnson as the first black Supreme Court Justice. No sooner did the news of Marshall’s resignation spread then the demand went up from liberals. This was, they said, the “black seat” on the Supreme Court. Whomever was to be the Bush nominee, he or she must be an African-American.

And so Clarence Thomas was.

We won’t spend needless time here re-hashing what followed. The trashing of Clarence Thomas by the liberal media and Washington’s powerful liberal special interest groups. The dramatic rejoinder in the Anita Hill episode by the nominee that he was the target of a

… high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.

Had this despicable, disgusting, and yes racist treatment targeting Justice Thomas been some sort of bizarre aberration, the issue would have long been forgotten by other than its central players.

But alas, what America saw with the treatment of Justice Thomas was not an aberration. It is the norm for black conservatives.

Most recently Dr. Ben Carson, the world famous pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins was targeted with the Thomas treatment. Once the African-American Carson stepped to the podium of the National Prayer Breakfast to challenge liberal dogma by speaking of the dangers of political correctness, redistributionist economics and Obamacare -- with President Obama seated two seats away -- he became a target. Sure enough, like clockwork, after later making the case for marriage between a man and a woman -- i.e., opposing gay marriage -- to Sean Hannity, the liberal high-tech lynchers were out there in full force. Soon enough, the man who has brought international renown to Johns Hopkins was forced to withdraw as a commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

And so it goes with a parade of black conservatives -- men and women alike from Herman Cain to Allen West to Condoleezza Rice to Deneen Borelli to Mia Love to Thomas Sowell to Walter Williams and all manner of others.

None of this is new.

What is new is the notion floated by Justice Thomas -- a view that is an extension of the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto’s “Taranto Principle.” In which the inimitable Mr. Taranto pinpointed the difficulties that liberal politicians have “in which media bias in favor of a politician or party ends up being counterproductive because it reinforces falsehoods, leading to bad decisions.”

Now comes another thought. A thought illustrated by the earlier, fictional description of a conservative Barack Obama.

If Barack Obama had been a conservative, would he now be President of the United States? And if, as Justice Thomas indicates, he would not, precisely because of the conservative details added to his bio -- what are we to make of that fact? Especially when added to the liberal -- and overwhelmingly white -- media treatment of Justice Thomas, Dr. Carson, Ms. Borelli, Herman Cain, Allen West and all the rest?

What we are to make of this is a singularly controversial thought?

To wit: In today’s 21st century, the mostly liberal white owned and staffed media has assumed the role of American liberalism’s real political ancestors: white slave owners. The original political backbone of the Democrats and liberalism in America inherited from party founders Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. A core of what is immodestly called “race card” politics that in fact runs in a straight line from leftist slave-owners to leftist media moguls today. (Speaking of Taranto, last Friday he had another interesting take on the subject of race and leftist journalism.)

Let us recall that this view of America was in fact recalled by no less than President Obama’s pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It was Wright, seen here, who proclaimed in a sermon denouncing Obama’s then-opponent Hillary Clinton that America was controlled by “rich, white people.”

Reducing black Americans -- most particularly a black American like the politically ambitious Barack Obama -- to slaves.

It is not disputed here that Obama believes what he does believe politically. The President is in fact a genuine leftist. The problem, as his fictional biography illustrates and the real life experiences of Justice Thomas, Dr. Carson, Ms. Borelli and the rest all so vividly demonstrates, is that if you are black and think for yourself -- if you are a conservative -- you are effectively making a break from the liberal plantation.

Which, in today’s terms, quite effectively casts those who run or star in that very white liberal media as slave owners. And the slave? That would be any black politician or black figure of any accomplishment whatsoever who does anything else other than follow the unwritten script the white liberal media has laid down for them. In the original world of slavery, punishment for disobedient slaves included but were not limited to whipping, being shackled, chained, beaten, branded, burned or sold. The point in all cases to instill fear of what would befall a slave who dared to question white authority.

Which is to say, in Justice Thomas’s words when he discusses why he expected the first black president to be a liberal, now with the key words bolded:

I always knew that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media. Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart. Pick anyone who’s decided not to go along with it — there’s a price to pay….

Approved by the elites and the media. And of what race are most of those elites and media in today’s world? 

Correct. They would be white.

From the white-owned NBC/MSNBC to ABC, CBS, and CNN to the white-owned New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time and the late Newsweek, each and every institution has white ownership.

They have the power to gush over every black politician or black man or woman of accomplishment in America. Or, in the words of Justice Thomas, to order said blacks to be “picked apart.”

In other words, where whipping, beating, branding or burning would do in the days of literal, physical slavery -- when slavery was the at the core of liberal politics -- today to dare to stand up to the white liberal worldview is to ask for what Thomas called the “high-tech lynching.” Meaning stories from the white liberal-owned media designed to embarrass, humiliate, distort, or ruin.

All of which creates a political world with a menacing message quietly sent to African-Americans: do as white liberals say -- or you will regret it.

There is nothing new about this relationship between the white liberal media and black Americans.

To cite but one example, we have often enough discussed Josephus Daniels in this space. Daniels, the owner of the Raleigh News & Observer, was a leading national figure in progressive politics. Using his North Carolina paper as his base he helped lead the media drum beat for the progressive and segregationist Woodrow Wilson’s presidential candidacy in 1912, being rewarded with an appointment as Secretary of the Navy. Daniels, however, had been on the political scene for a long time by 1912, and frequently unnoted is his role in what is often described as a white supremacist coup d’état against the elected -- and Republican -- government of Wilmington, North Carolina. The victorious Republicans, (known as “Fusionists” in the day) as described in Bruce Bartlett’s Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past, immediately set about expanding “voting rights for blacks” among other sins that was at loggerheads with the progressive racial agenda of literacy tests and poll taxes.

Daniels used his newspaper -- the leading media outlet of the day in his state -- to demand “the subjection of the Negro, politically.…” He would later write, and again I have highlighted the point in bold print:

…. The News and Observer was relied upon to carry the Democratic message and to be the militant voice of White Supremacy, and it did not fail in what was expected, sometimes going to extremes in its partisanship. Its correspondents visited every town where the Fusionists were in control and presented column after column day by day of stories of every Negro in office and every peculation, every private delinquency of a Fusion office-holder.

Meaning: The leading liberal media outlet of the day in North Carolina -- in 1898! -- was used to do to “every Negro in office” what was done almost a century later to Clarence Thomas and what is now being done to Ben Carson and others.

The objective of the progressive editor Daniels, openly stated and quoted at length by Bartlett, was:

The subjection of the Negro, politically….

Which was accomplished in the 1898 Wilmington coup, when, after successfully targeting local blacks for a media lynching that echoes that of Thomas many decades later, in Bartlett’s words, “Democrats forced the lawfully elected Republican leaders of Wilmington, North Carolina, out of office at gunpoint.”

Daniels was a leading advocate of what he himself called “white supremacy” -- the direct philosophical connection between slavery and post-Civil War, post-Thirteenth Amendment segregation that provided votes for Democrats. Slavery was about the physical subjugation of blacks, segregation about the political (and social) subjugation of blacks.

So what, then, is the difference between the white-owned liberal media of today -- and the white-owned liberal media typified by Daniels (who was hardly alone in his day)? And the mentality that bridges both to the holocaust that was American slavery?

The point of the whole exercise, in Daniels day or right this minute -- as Justice Thomas with typical fearlessness noted at Duquesne -- was to make sure that prominent blacks “be picked apart.” Or, as Daniels said, it was about “the subjection of the Negro.”

Which, again, raises the point.

If Barack Obama had been a conservative, would he have ever been president?

Of course not. Justice Thomas is right.

Which, considering the media’s lavish treatment of him since his famous rise in 2008, certainly opens the door for the kind of admittedly provocative question that is obvious along the lines of the proverbial elephant in the room.

Is Barack Obama America’s first black president?

Or is he in fact America’s first Plantation President?

If the latter, who or what has made certain that the first black president will toe the white liberal media line?

That would be the white liberal media, of course.

And doesn’t that qualify the white-run liberal media and all of its stars and scribblers to be defined simply?

As, in a 21st century way, the new American slave owners?

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.