Donald Trump and his disciples beat up on the media throughout his campaign.
Huffington Post and LA Progressive columnist Peter Dreier wrote that the media mainly gave the president-elect “a free ride for most of the past year.” The Fourth Estate treated Trump “like a normal candidate rather than a racist demagogue.”
This retired reporter-turned-professor agrees with the professor-pundit. To the end, too, the Fourth Estate seldom reported on the fuel that propelled a lot of white folks toward The Donald.
Trump pandered to prejudice more overtly than any White House hopeful since George Stand-in-the-Schoolhouse-Door Wallace, Alabama's segregationist governor.
It was high octane racism. Trump pandered to prejudice more overtly than any White House hopeful since George Stand-in-the-Schoolhouse-Door Wallace, Alabama's segregationist governor. He ran for president four times, the last time in 1976.
Okay, Hillary Clinton is white, not African American. But Trump always tied her to the black guy in the White House.
Race was the elephant in the living room that few reporters chose to write about or put on TV. Examples are plentiful. Here are two.
"Many blame Obama’s environmental policies – although industry analysts say it is also the result of competition from cleaner, cheaper fuels – and fear Clinton will continue those policies," a scribe wrote about the deep disdain for Obama in largely white Kentucky coal country.
Did the reporter ask anybody if the color of the president’s skin was also a factor? It’s a fair question. If he did and they answered, it wasn’t in his story.
During an election post-mortem on Wednesday, I thought MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell saw the elephant. She said the big city media missed a big story in the white heartland.
It seemed like a scoop, an “aha” moment. It wasn’t.
She said journalists didn’t detect the “white working class anger,” which she said took the form of “thirst for change.”
Why were they mad? What kind of change? Mitchell didn’t say. She moved on to complimenting Clinton’s concession speech.
Two college profs saw the elephant. “Race? It has everything to do with it,” said Duane Bolin, like me, a native Kentuckian. He teaches history at Kentucky's Murray State University, my alma mater.
“Nobody is going to tell me that the backlash in Kentucky against the first African American president has nothing to do with race.”
Prof. Eddie Glaude Jr. of Princeton University was on MSNBC before Mitchell. He said Trump's white base was broader than just blue-collar high school grads.
Exit polls showed Trump’s attraction for whites cut “across class,” according to Glaude, who chairs the university’s Center for African-American Studies.
“Trump’s candidacy is, to my mind, white America’s last stand in relation to the glaring demographic transformations that are happening,” he told TV journalist Craig Melvin. “There is an element to Brexit that was all about the changing nature of Europe. I think there is an undercurrent here that reflects…the browning of America.”
He added, “What we’ve seen over the course of this election cycle is kind of deep racial anguish and anxiety and has been evidenced in the fact that we’ve just elected, to my mind, an ill-informed racist who, by any standard, is morally and ethically bankrupt [and] who was endorsed by the KKK.”
I don’t believe Glaude would say every white vote Trump got was rooted in racism. Neither would I. I'd bet the farm neither the president nor Clinton would either.
But Bill Clinton said that as a 70-year-old white Southerner, he knew what Trump meant by promising to “Make America Great Again.” So does this white guy from Kentucky who is four years The Big Dog's junior.
So does Andy Wiggins, one of my best and brightest history students. "Those 'Make America Great Again' hats really mean 'Make America White Again.'"
Trump rooters included an official Ku Klux Klan newspaper, the white supremacist, anti-Semite and Hitler admirer David Duke, an ex-Klan leader; and assorted other white supremacist, white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups.
Oh, he disavowed them. But here’s another question I never heard about a reporter asking Trump: “Why do you think David Duke and groups like the Klan wanted you to be president?”