I think Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller is everything I hate about post-internet “journalism”

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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132 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    So what the President said in a speech is meaningless because a news site covers other stories and some of them seem to be silly. I’ll remember that next time you cite CNN, because just the other day I saw them doing a hard-hitting report about Halloween costumes for your cat, and there followed an incisive interview with Kim Kardashian’s public-relations consultant firm’s spokeswoman.

    “it apparently has been available on You Tube for the past five years.”

    If what Mitt Romney did forty-seven years ago is vitally important to understanding what he’d do as President, then what Barack Obama said five years ago must be at least as important.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Huh? Who’s saying that the content of Obama’s speech is meaningless, or should be overlooked? It should be reported on, and – apparently – was. And going back and analyzing it later is about as fair game as you can get.

      But if CNN claims that they have a big scoop and that they’ve just uncovered a secret video that they themselves had actually covered years ago, then would they not be guilty of hackery?Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        DD’s in the zone: if the gay haircut in high school or Shamus the dog is an issue, this needs a look. Everything is always dismissed as “old news,” but the public never seems to know squat about it until it is “old news” and then it’s too late. The New York Times did a month on an affair that John McCain never even had with a lobbyist, but I don’t recall them ever “reporting” on this. Oh, and Univision and Fast & Furious–“old news.” See a pattern here?

        Bury it until it’s “old news.”

        I was pleased you knew about Romney closing down Bain Capital to go look for one of his colleague’s daughters, Tod. One in 100, tops, I make it.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “It should be reported on, and – apparently – was. And going back and analyzing it later is about as fair game as you can get.”

        In that case what exactly is the point of all this?Report

        • Ramblin' Rod in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I believe the issue is calling it a “scoop.” You do know what that term means, right? As in being the first to report on a story?

          Digging up an old video that was widely reported on at the time, whether or not you personally remember it, simply doesn’t count as such. In fact, calling it a scoop is what is normally referred to as a LIE, which doesn’t bode well for the veracity of the rest of the article or reportage. But such is right-wing “journalism.”Report

    • Michelle in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Wow, you guys are clueless. The reason this isn’t a big scoop is that it was covered extensively five years ago, so it’s hardly news. They’re free to run it and make a big deal of it in their usual sleazy fashion, and of course that sleaze ball Hannity is welcome to make a big deal about it in the Fox-overse world, but it’s pretty much a big nothing. Laughable.Report

  2. greginak says:

    Cripes… I imagined a knight from the Monty Python show coming in the studio and hitting him with a chicken. What a pair of desperate, craven maroons.Report

  3. Nob Akimoto says:

    Shorter Tucker Carlson:

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Buried the lede there, Nob. The story is: Shorter Barack Obama. His Kanye moment with a fake black accent in 2007. He grew up in Hawaii in his Caucasian grandparents’ house, fer crissakes.

      Should it matter now? I dunno. But don’t ever tell me it’s Mitt Romney who’s a two-faced fake. This phony of 2007 should have been exposed in 2008 if our press had done its job and he would never have got near the nomination let alone the presidency.

      That’s just a fact. And no, the Republican wouldn’t have won. It would been Hillary. But let’s be honest—it was the press who elect Barack.

      BTW, the LA Times is still sitting on a damning Barack Obama video, pro-Palestinian. For 5 years now, true story.


      “Protecting their source.” True story. More “old news.”

      The Times first reported on the videotape in an April 2008 story about Obama’s ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago. The report included a detailed description of the tape, but the newspaper did not make the video public.

      “A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi,” said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. ” . . . The election is one week away, and it’s unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job — make information public.”

      The Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape.

      “The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,” said the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton. “The Times keeps its promises to sources.”

      Jamie Gold, the newspaper’s readers’ representative, said in a statement: “More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite — the L.A. Times brought the matter to light.”

      Yeah, right.Report

      • If being connected to Rashid Khalidi makes you pro-Palestinian, then I guess I am, too. (Two of my undergraduate mentors worked closely to Khalidi at UChicago)

        As for the rest…

        I mean this in the least offensive way possible, but sometimes, Tom, you are painfully and obliviously white to the point where it’s beyond frustrating to even read.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

          But I am “white,” Nob. That you use it as an insult, even a mild one, is to your shame. And some folks is even whiter than me—and you might be one of ’em, by your own standard. And I mean that equally in the least offensive way possible.

          You have no monopoly on human understanding by gender, race, or education. Sir.Report

          • Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Nay. But your demonstrated willingness to venerate Republican and/or wealthy sociopaths despite calling yourself a conservative demonstrates that you are far more concerned with which party someone claims to be from, rather than how risky their… terrorism is.Report

          • I’m just going to go ahead and point out that a white guy telling an Asian guy he has no monopoly on human understanding by race is hilarious.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

              A white guy telling a white guy telling an Asian guy… wait. I’ve lost the thread.Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh, good, we’re going down the rabbit hole of people being totally oblivious about race and privilege. We haven’t done that in a while; should be awesome!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                If we want to talk about race and privilege, talking about privilege in addition to talking about race might be helpful.

                Or, at the very least, not using it as a proxy for privilege.

                I’ve come to expect that sort of thing from CIS-gendered heterosexuals, though.Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, because race and privilege aren’t correlated.

                Look, dude, you’ve registered your standard objection that racism and sexism aren’t actual problems, and that privilege is something completely invented by those evil liberals. I get it. Let’s just move on. You’re a lot more interesting when you aren’t being deliberately obtuse.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                No, my issue is that when race is used as a proxy for privilege, as it has been here, it trivializes misunderstandings and even makes them, tah-dah, intrinsic traits rather than thought processes to be overcome.

                You want to bitch about someone being out of touch? Bitch about them being out of touch.

                You want to bitch about them being white?Report

              • Yeah, the last thing we’d want to do is trivialize the important question of whether Obama is too black to be re-elected.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Do we want to treat the question seriously enough to discuss whether we mean certain cultural things when we say “black”, certain things about privilege when we say it, or do we just want to talk about race and turn the conversation into something where we can separate the “White People” and “Other”?

                Put me down as “White People”, please.Report

              • Put me down as “White People”, please.

                Your standard position on all topics. Noted.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Just being clear as to how we wanted to treat the question.

                You’re “Other”, I take it?Report

              • I should think that everything I’ve ever written about the topic indicates that I am not, but that would require you listening to someone.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                But then that would mean that our shared coloration being used as a proxy for us being the same “race” and then going from there to using that as a proxy for cultural markers as an indicator that we have a lot in common is an erroneous thing to assume!Report

              • Kim in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Fuck. Guys? Do I really have to Write the Essay: “Obama is getting elected because he is black”?
                Don’t make me do it…Report

              • Oh good, scare quotes on the word race. We’re really getting somewhere productive here.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                When the objection is that a black guy talking to a bunch of black people sounds blacker than he should, how could it be about “race”?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                If we’re talking about you and I being the same “race” (and we were), scare quotes seem pretty appropriate.

                Personally, I’d much rather talk about the things we’re using the word “race” as a proxy for. But I’m white like that.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Jay, I think Mike’s got you on this one: I understand your desire to focus on privilege over race (even if, as we’ve repeatedly pointed out, the two are highly correlated and it is specifically the attitudes towards race that reinforce existing patterns of privilege, making only talking about privilege somewhat… self-defeating), but in this case, the whole point is that Obama sounds black. There are three ways to handle this: ignore it entirely, shake your head in shame that you live in a country where a large portion of the population thinks this is politically-relevant, or talk about it. If you’re going to do the last thing, it’s going to be hard to just talk about privilege.

                Personally, I think shaking my head is the best option.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                The political relevance of Obama speaking this way to that group to Tucker strikes me as some variant of Tucker being upset that “he’s not authentically black, he has no right to talk like he’s authentically black and his audience of authentic blacks ARE NOT NOTICING!” mixed in with equal amounts of “THIS IS WHAT OBAMA IS REALLY LIKE DEEP DOWN WHEN HE’S NOT PRETENDING!”

                And, to be honest, the former misunderstands a handful of dynamics and the latter is somewhat indicative of paranoia but responding to folks who feel that there are shenanigans going on by pointing out that they are “white” turns the debate into something where even more shenanigans are going on.

                It’s be better to point out that Obama, being black in America, has shared cultural experiences with the group with whom he is speaking and is using a voice with them that communicates this shared cultural experience and it’s to be seen as the equivalent of a guy running for congress in North Dakota going to the state fair and dancing a Polka even though his ancestors are not, in fact, Polka kinda people.

                But to respond to “HE’S NOT A POLKA PERSON” with “mighty Polish of ya” is to agree to things that we shouldn’t be agreeing to in the first place.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                (and I have meetings all day today so I am intermittent)Report

              • The actual argument I get out of your comment is a slightly more sophisticated version of DensityDuck’s anti-anti-racism; i.e., that the fact that you notice when some people are black and some people are white makes you, by definition, a racist. This could also be called the Stephen Colbert Theory of Racism. Am I reading that right?

                Now, that said, I don’t see how you can look at Tucker’s freakout in version #2 and not see a guy who is terrified of the Other and panicking in precisely the way a person panics when he is a member of a social class whose power/privilege with respect to that specific Other is founded on the concept of race that you’re basically unwilling to talk about.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                the fact that you notice when some people are black and some people are white makes you, by definition, a racist.


                The fact that you think that particularly interesting information is being communicated when you point out that someone is “white” or “black” and that the terms themselves can be useful pejoratives communicates agreement to propositions that, seriously, we don’t want to be agreeing with.Report

              • Which are… what, exactly? Some kind of racial essentialism? Frankly, I don’t see any difference between what I mean when I say “white” or “black” (when applied to behavior) and when you say “Obama, being black in America, has shared cultural experiences…” These are functionally equivalent.

                The point is not to deny that race exists (even if only perceptually) and influences behaviors and interactions; the point is to deny that race is a thing that makes one person better or worse than another. The point is also to understand the ways in which being white is an innate advantage (even if mitigated by other factors), and that when you judge other people using standards that, for better or worse, can be described as “white”, you are doing a bad thing.Report

              • Also, if it’s your contention that no interesting information is conveyed by the terms “white” and “black”, then we’re really at a loss here. That is a flat denial of reality.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I think that there are major, non-trivial, differences between “behavior” and “shared cultural experiences”.

                Check this out:

                He’s a black guy and, as such, he behaves like a black person.
                He’s a black guy and, as such, he has shared cultural experiences with black people.

                See the difference?

                I suppose, on one level, we could say the the former statement is, by definition, tautological.

                On another, I see that sentence as potentially inflammatory… especially if it’s a conclusion rather than a premise.

                The latter? Well, I’m not saying it’s completely uninteresting, but neither is it particularly interesting either. It’s a premise, not a conclusion.

                if it’s your contention that no useful information is conveyed by the terms “white” and “black”, then we’re really at a loss here.

                I don’t think that particularly interesting information is conveyed by the terms, no. Nothing more interesting than, perhaps, “He’s a black guy and, as such, he has shared cultural experiences with black people.”Report

              • I would think a dedicated drug war opponent like you could come up with at least one reason why “white” and “black” are terms that matter and convey information. I would also think that a smart guy like you could do a little back-of-the-envelope math and figure out why they convey the information they do.

                It’s hard to believe you could go through that exercise and come out the other side without at least a rudimentary idea of how race and privilege intersect.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                And when we talk about law enforcement, do you think that the law is acting as if the differences between black and white are really, really interesting or as if they’re trivial?

                It’s very important that we figure out which premises we want to agree with and which we don’t.Report

              • No, you are pretty seriously wrong. It’s actually the least important part of this discussion.

                Pretending that the two of us ignoring the differences means the rest of the world will start doing so as well is catastrophically naive. You act as if my recognition that black people have a harder go of it in America means I endorse them having a harder go of it, which is the opposite of the truth.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                No, I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t acknowledge when other people are acting in accordance with bad premises.

                I’m saying we should and, on top of that, we should say “knock it off” rather than… what? Point out how, seriously, there are serious difference but the serious differences should be overlooked by law, except where they shouldn’t, and they shouldn’t be accounted for by polite society, except where they should?Report

              • I’m not even sure what you think I’m arguing any more. This entire thing started when I said it was funny that a white guy, who has benefited from literally centuries of other white guys telling people how the world ought to work, told a non-white guy that he doesn’t get to have a monopoly on understanding people (in a topic that was already about race).

                The only differences I have ascribed to people based on their race are differences in power. This seems like such an uncontroversial fact about the world that I’m at a loss to even understand people who disagree with it.

                So, seriously, what exactly do you think I’m saying?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                See, for me, the thread started with the obtuse Tucker Carlson having it both ways about Obama’s speaking style before a black audience (which isn’t *THAT* interesting…) turned into Nob’s post (blackity black) which turned into Tom discussing how Obama’s speech is news above and beyond whether white people will be turned off by Obama’s speaking style before a black audience which turned into Nob using “white” as an epithet. When Nob was called out on this by Tom, Tom was called out on this by you, and I called you out on calling Tom out for calling Nob out for using “white” as an epithet.

                Then we got into the weeds.Report

              • Tom said “His Kanye moment with a fake black accent”. Calling him “white” is much nicer than calling that statement what it is.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Calling him “white” is much nicer than calling that statement what it is.

                This is one of those statement that makes explicit how different our premises are on this.Report

              • You harangue me for making any kind of statement about the power differentials associated with race in America, and you’re totally cool with someone using the phrase “black accent”? You are clearly correct that we have some different premises.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I’m still trying to figure out what Kanye West has to do with any of this…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                You harangue me for making any kind of statement about the power differentials associated with race in America, and you’re totally cool with someone using the phrase “black accent”?

                No. That’s not what happened.

                Though I understand why you’re upset if that’s what you honestly think happened.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                <iI’m still trying to figure out what Kanye West has to do with any of this…

                “Congratulations, Mr. President, we won!”

                “No thanks to you, Joe. I should have picked Colin Powell.”Report

              • I’ll let you finish, but John McCain had one of the best running mates of all time!Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Race-baiting. New Orleans. Katrina.

                “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”–Kanye, 2007

                “What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense. Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much.”—Barack, 2007

                Anybody who says this is “old news” they were already aware of is either one in 1000, or a liar. This video gets play in 2008, the “post-racial” candidate doesn’t even win the primary, and that’s the name of this tune. As for the Hawaiian copping a southern accent, FYM. 😉Report

              • That makes way more sense than the thing that is usually implied by “Kanye moment”. Also, I like the switch from “black” to “southern”. I wish you had just said that in the first place.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                First, the “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” moment was the greatest moment in television history, if only because of the look on Mike Myers’ face.

                Second, did you know that Obama called Kanye an asshole? I think that’s pretty hilarious.

                Third, why, do you think, would that video have affected the election in 2008? Because he sounds black? More and more it’s become clear to me that the conservatives see the world as a small place in which almost everyone thinks like they do, even if they won’t readily admit it. It’s why just a few weeks ago, Tom and others were saying that a Romney win was inevitable, and it’s why they think that Obama talkin’ all black ‘n stuff would cause people to vote for Hillary.Report

              • Kim in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                *pats him on the head* yes, calling it a southern accent will stop people from bitching about racializing everything (and it’s mostly more accurate)
                Out of sheer curiosity, have you ever read the evacuation plan for New Orleans? The one on the books before Katrina?Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I seem to recall a recent New England-bred President who was ridiculed for often adopting a folksier – Southern? Texan, maybe? -vernacular.

                Anyway, IIRC, many people thought this made him a phony pandering politician (but I repeat myself).

                Perhaps this isn’t about ‘black’ or ‘white’; perhaps it’s about highly educated, very wealthy politicians consciously or unconsciously utilizing speech patterns/accents that they think will help them connect with, and win the support of, large masses of people that are generally in much lower economic or social classes than the politicians themselves are.Report

              • Kim in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                yeah, your points are why I can make a column entitled “Obama’s winning Because He’s Black”
                Nobody takes him seriously — and then they panic.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                What is race-baiting? Kanye thought the slow federal response to Katrina was motivated by racism. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. I don’t know… Kanye is obscenely talented musically but strikes me as someone who isn’t all there otherwise.

                What does any of that have to do with Obama?Report

              • I believe it’s called code-switching. It’s a standard way of conveying authenticity to an audience that might, for various reasons, find you less than credible if you spoke in a different dialect, register, tone, whatever.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Very well, Ryan. I apologize for the imprecision and plead that it’s only a comment box.

                As for my Honkitude, I’m comfortable in my own skin and will NOT tolerate “poisoning the well” tactics like diminishing me with this “white privilege” nonsense. My autobiography is not on the table*.

                *I can see if someone starts putting their autobio into their argument that the retort can validly be, well you’re white, male and American, so of course you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps—at least you have bootstraps!

                (Hey, that’s a pretty good one.)

                But I don’t make my autobio part of my argument, so Nob owes me an apology. It was ad hom, invalid argument and it was dirty pool.]Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Indeed Ryan. But my point is, if some people ridiculed a New Englander for it, I see no reason other people can’t ridicule a Hawaiian for similar. Is the cause, and the reaction, all that different in the end?Report

              • I’m tired of litigating privilege today. It suffices to say that I disagree pretty strongly with you here.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Fair enough. But compared to me, all politicians are privileged.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I didn’t watch the video but what if that is how Obama really talks and the rest of us are getting “the act”?


                There is room to criticize Obama. But if in doing so you bring in race in a way that you didn’t or wouldn’t with a white New Englander, that means something,

                If you want to call Obama a panderer, by all means, do so. If you want to call him a fake black guy who has “Kanye moments” of race baiting with his “fake black accent” (FTR, it is most commonly referred to asAfrican-American Vernacular English, or AAVE, as it has more to it than simply an accent)… Well, that is a whole other thing, don’t ya think?Report

              • For what it’s worth, I “code-switch” depending on who I am talking to and about what. I may have a bit of a natural regional accent, but it’s pretty filtered. I tend to turn the filter off off some contexts (and the filter comes off naturally in other contexts).Report

              • Glyph: To be clear, my strong disagreement was with Tom. I don’t really have an answer to your question that adds anything to the discussion, so I let it stand for people to think about on their own.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Kazzy, that’s a good point and I haven’t watched the video. My point was more theoretical/conceptual.

                I just don’t see anything that different between some people who don’t like politician A accusing him of pandering/faking by speaking in a manner that is normally associated with lower classes, and some people who don’t like politician B aaccusing him of pandering/faking by speaking in a manner that is normally associated with the lower classes.

                The rightness or wrongness or blackness or whiteness of the allegations really does seem irrelevant to me, so I guess I am Colbertian. I understand why the politicians might do such a thing, and I understand why people who like them, and don’t like them might respond as they do.

                It all seems pretty pointless.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                “Black” and “Southern” are not the same dialect, as witness the number of black-sounding people who were born in Chicago (hmmm) or Oakland. The history and current state of Black English is a fascinating subject that almost never gets explored sensibly, because it’s so fishing politicized. But I’ll go this far without fear of contradiction: if a black guy from Los Angeles meets a black guy from Pittsburgh at a convention, and they both start to sound quite different from how they talk with their white co-workers, neither is consciously trying to make a point and neither is being a phony.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Do y’all know anything about Barack Obama’s life??? He never grew up in an African-American Vernacular English milieu. He does not speak that way. This has become obtuse if not disingenuous. As for the content of the speech in question, it is anything but “post-racial”—it’s explicitly racial and far more Al Sharpton than Colin Powell, and certainly not what we thought we were electing.

                The defenses seem to toggle between “this isn’t a fake Obama” for the accent and “this isn’t the real Obama” for content. Frankly I don’t care–it’s fake on some level and it’s putrid on another.Report

              • Kim in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I go with reasonably real, TVD. I consider it disgusting that we had a city without an evacuation plan for 33% of its citizens in the path of a hurricane.
                But hell, that’s just me.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Tom, you’re digging a hole, particularly if you think that a black person talking about black issues is somehow a bad thing (or even undermines a desire for a “post-racial” world).

                Do y’all know anything about Barack Obama’s life??? He never grew up in an African-American Vernacular English milieu. He does not speak that way. This has become obtuse if not disingenuous.

                You’re simply ignorant, here. Just because his mother was white does not mean he “never grew up in an African-American Vernacular English milieu.” To suggest so is pretty damn silly. And to suggest that not growing up in that milieu is really relevant to how he talks now is also pretty damn silly. I’d suggest hanging out with more black people, honestly.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                But, Tom, I’m glad to see that you’ve admitted (again) that your problem is that he’s speaking “black.”

                I prefer it when people are honest about their opinions of such things.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Mike, no disagreement that they are neither point-making nor ‘phonying’. They are code-switching and attempting to connect.

                But is it any surprise that outsiders who do not speak or share the ‘code’ might treat the speakers with mild suspicion? One of the oldest and most common English uses of the word ‘code’ relates to occlusion/subterfuge/warfare. Dialects of any kind include and exclude.

                And this happens whether the ‘code’ is ‘black’ or ‘southern’ or using lots of big fancy words like ‘privilege’ and such.

                My point is, if we make fun of Bush for speaking like an archetypal cowboy, I see no reason we can’t make fun of Obama for speaking like a archetypal rapper (if he in fact did, again, I haven’t seen the video, and won’t. I already regret trying to make even this minor point).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:


                I agree with you that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. But when you start to unnecessarily and erroneously build on that… Obama isn’t “really black”…. He’s race-baiting… He’s Kanye West… I start to have trouble with that. And, yes, there is a difference between questioning the authenticity of someone’s blackness and that of their Texasness because of the history associated with those two accusations.

                So I agree that Obama is pandering. It doesn’t appear to me that he is doing it any more or worse than most other politicians. If you are bothered by pandering, call it out. But if you are uniquely bothered by a black politician pandering to a black audience by the adoption of AAVE, I think there is a there there.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Glyph, here’s a question: is there a difference between speaking a certain way for a group, and changing your accent entirely to rework your image?

                Also, I have to admit that I unconsciously change my mode of speech when I’m around mostly black people. I grew up in a while household, in a mostly white neighborhood in the south, so my childhood “milieu,”was probably even less black than Obama’s, but I still do it. I didn’t even notice I was doing it until another white person pointed it out to me. However, for whatever reason, my switch is close to my old country Tennessee accent (which I “got rid of” for the most party in college). This may have something to do with the fact that the vast majority of the black people I know are from the Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama, and so all have southern accents of one sort or another, whereas most of the white people I know are snooty academics from one of the coasts or the midwest.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                But is it any surprise that outsiders who do not speak or share the ‘code’ might treat the speakers with mild suspicion?

                You mean the same way that when I hear people speaking Spanish I’m convinced they’re talking about how ugly gringos are?Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                La barba es muy feo.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                This is getting too personal. Barack Obama never lived in a “black” American milieu until Chicago. Indonesia, growing up in the home of white grandparents, the most exclusive high school in Hawaii, the Choom Gang pot-smoking crew*, Occidental College, Columbia, Harvard Law.

                He does not speak that way. He never smoke that way.

                As for the content of the speech, I seriously question he’d have been elected president with this race-based j’accuse of America.

                That’s it. Out. You may not agree but the arguments are valid.



              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Where was his “j’accuse of America?” I missed that part of the speech.

                Also, again, if you don’t understand where he might have picked up that mode of speech, you’re just ignorant. The argument isn’t valid because your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premises.

                But still, thanks for making it clear that’s what bothers you: the blackness.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I use Spanish words here and there. I often use the word “y’all”. I use sayings from the 1940s.

                I’ve never lived in a Spanish speaking place. I’ve never lived in the South. I’m not 70 years old.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Do y’all know anything about Barack Obama’s life??? He never grew up in an African-American Vernacular English milieu. He does not speak that way.

                In fact, his role models are Samuel Johnson, H. W. Fowler, and Evelyn Waugh. Whenever Obama speaks in anything but the purest RP, he is code-switching in an attempt to bond with “you Yank chappies.”Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                You had your chance to win honestly, Chris. Now you’re just fouling. Goodbye.Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                The new conservative talking point-

                He isn’t Authentically Black! He’s secretly White pretending to be Black!
                And when he speaks in calm measured tones he is actually covering up the Radical Black Muslim that he secretly is…on the inside…underneath the White guy who is pretending to be Black.

                Talk about being down a rabbit hole.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Kazzy, I regret going down the rabbit hole. Nothing good ever seems to come of these discussions, everybody gets mad, and nobody changes their minds at all. And I pick up a heck of a southern accent after more than just a few hours with my family, what’s THAT all about?

                But to your point about ‘questioning blackness’ – it’s my understanding that traditional racism operates under the ‘too black’ model (“One drop is enough! Boom, yer black!”)

                I’d say it’s not racism at all, but something else, when a white guy accuses someone of *not* being black (“Why, he’s not even really black! He’s as white as me!” would be some weird new kind of ‘racism’, is all I’m saying).

                I posit the ‘something else’ is garden-variety ol’ ‘I dislike/disagree with that guy and I think he’s a phony!’ Which, you know, free country and all.

                And with that, I’ll jump – because it’s been a long rough workday already, and I do think everyone involved in this discussion is generally well-meaning, and I’d like to continue to think so; so, I’m heading to dinner; then a quieter bar than THIS one. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Signalling membership is something that politicians *DO*. They shake hands, they kiss babies, they wear Cheese Heads in Wisconsin, they open speeches with “how ’bout them Broncos?” in Denver, and they talk about the Brooklyn Dodgers getting no-hitters.

                To be upset that the exact same candidate opens a speech in Philly by asking “how ’bout them Iggles?” is to misapprehend what the politician is doing.

                To complain about him being an Eagles fan *AND* to complain that, deep down, he doesn’t really care about football is to communicate that your focus is on complaining.Report

              • Trumwill in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Glyph, it makes you feel any better, this conversation has inspired my first audiocast post. Hope to have it put together today, but we’ll see.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Ryan Noonan says:


                I hope I catch a response from you but understand if you bow it…

                Who counts as “black” is an ongoing conversation, and sometimes an ugly one, in the black community. Colorism, both literal and figurative, is a real issue. But you know where that conversation should stay? Within the black community. If blacks don’t accept Obama as authentically black, that is for them to work out. You know who doesn’t get to decide? White folks. I know we did for a long, long time (the aforementioned one-drop rule or paper bag test), but that is not our right. Which is why attempts to define who qualifies as in-group on behalf of a group which we are, by definition, not a part of after historically (and some would argue contemporously ) oppressing them is a really bumpy road to go down.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                So, I knew this guy growing up. He was Jewish, obviously, from his appearance and his last name, but his family never took it seriously. Didn’t belong to a synagogue, or celebrate the holidays. Put up Christmas lights, Had a tree. All the stuff that says “assimilated” in letters two feet high.

                I hadn’t thought about him for years until I ran into him recently at the mall. He greeted me like a long-lost relative, and asked me to have a coffee with him so we could talk. He was just back from a business trip to Israel, which, he said, had affected him in ways he could never have imagined.

                “I never thought about being Jewish much, I kind of ignored it. Maybe I knew in the back of my head that it made me different from other people, and that’s why. But over there — Jews belong there. Jews have been there all the way back before there was history. That made me think. All of us — you , me, all the Jews all over the world. We have this connection that’s real. I’m not talking about God, even, just about people. The Jewish people. ”

                “Are you going to move there?”

                “I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe being here is OK now that I understand. You’ve never been, have you?”


                “You have to go, Mike. You’ll feel it too. There’s no way I can explain it. You have to go and find out for yourself.”

                I told him that I might, sometime, but probably not any time soon. And we finished our drinks and got up to say goodbye. As I reached out to shake his hand, he took mine in both of his and said “Shalom aleichem.” And I responded “You do not speak that way! You never spoke that way!”Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                I can se why merely the concept of a bunch of white people sitting around commenting on a guy’s blackness, or lack thereof, would set black peole’s teeth on edge;

                When you comprise 10% of the population, you are always and forever going to be at the mercy of the 90%. When that 90% has for 500 years held the whip handle in its relations with you, it gets even more nerve-jarring.

                In every comment about Obama’s blackness, there is the subtext of “He’s different- he’s not like us!” and thats a powerful thing in human dynamics.

                “racism” doesn’t quite cover it- its deeper than that, its the sort of tribalism that causes a Tutsi to know that a Hutu is somehow different, and alien.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                And then there’s this particular branch off the rabbit hole, which we might call “The Conversation Jaybird Wants to Have.”Report

              • Ryan Noonan in reply to Chris says:

                As long as we’re discussing changing the name, I nominate The Rabbit Hole. Although that probably won’t be any better than the current name when we have to explain why we chose it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                We might diversify the site by adding furries to it.Report

              • Kim in reply to Chris says:

                who’s to say we haven’t already? This site has enough drama as is…Report

              • Chris in reply to Chris says:

                Jay, if the internet has taught me anything, it’s that I may know that none of you are dogs, but I do know that at least a couple of you dress as one.Report

              • Kim in reply to Chris says:

                hmm… now that you mention it, there are a lot of homosexuals on this blog. I guess this does increase the odds of there being furries around!Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:


              • DensityDuck in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Please do not start doing this, even if it’s a joke.Report

              • Chris in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                When people consider it a major revelation, a politically-relevant one in fact, that Obama talked like a black guy in a speech, we haven’t gone down a rabbit hole, we’ve fallen off a fucking cliff.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

                Yeah. That’s as bad as, say, a guy who was raised in the accent-free Bay Area finding that when he’s with a bunch of relatives from the East Coast, he starts to talk like a Noo Yawker and sprinkle Yiddish around like some kind of schmuck .

                Not that I know anyone like that.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Give me 30 minutes with anybody and I can get them to say, “Dude.”Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                down the rabbit hole

                Which rabbit was that? Racist!Report

      • DRS in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        So what did Obama do in this video, step on a matzoh ball or something? ‘Cause the description in the LA Times is really not terribly awful. Is it really a surprise that Palestinians are going to go all harsh on Israel, and really shocking than an American politician is going to call for common ground? And attending Palestinian American community events is proof of what? That a local politician attends community events if he wants to continue to be a local politician. I’ll bet he attended Italian American events too – does that make him a member of the Mafia?

        This is just silly. Rashid Khalidi is an American, born and raised in the USA, and has every right to make arguments in favour of the Palestinian cause. Free speech and all that. Good on Obama for speechifying on the issue himself, and if he had some empathy for the Palestinians, good on him again.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Nob Akimoto says:


      (But ‘Fear of a Black Hat’ is still the better ‘Spinal Tap of Gangsta Rap’)Report

      • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        The fact that you know, and even like “Fear of a Black Hat” makes me really like you, Glyph.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

          You know what’s weird? My brother is a classical musician. He doesn’t even listen to much …er…’non-urban’ pop music like rock or country, much less gangster rap.

          Yet he LOVES ‘Fear of a Black Hat’, despite missing many of the references to actual artists and events (though ‘Hat’ really does mimic ‘Tap’ in kind of going for the big ‘archetypes’ of the genre, so maybe even a passing familiarity is enough to get the jokes). Go figure.Report

          • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

            He’d probably like “Gone Guru”
            A friend of mine is a composer
            (no one else wanted the job!),
            I swear he listens to the Oddest Stuff.
            And he just throws sound samples together,
            but it seems to work out fine for him.
            (he doesn’t actually read sheet music,
            just has a talent for being catchy)Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Glyph says:

            Hat rules. FYM. ASMBD.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    If a tree fell in the forest, and Tucker Carlson was there to report on it, did it make a sound?Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    Oh, and in case all of that isn’t quite creepy enough, the Daily Caller article goes on to say that Fox is currently pregnant awaiting her first child.

    You say that as if it weren’t first-class evidence that she has, at some point, had sex.Report

  6. Jesse Ewiak says:

    This is such old news that Fox News talked about it five years ago.Report

  7. BlaiseP says:

    Spaghetti. Wall. Did some stick?Report

  8. Rufus F. says:

    Well, in his defense, Carlson worked his way to where he is now using nothing but his own two parents.Report

  9. Aaron says:

    That Fox article is seriously disgusting.

    Fox is currently eight or so months pregnant with her first child with husband Brian Austin Green, so unless she did it just the one time (which is entirely possible) it is clear that she is into that sort of thing.

    Tucker Carlson: race baiting and slut shaming. Classy stuff.Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    In the cold light of having eaten, there are a number of things that bother me about this on all sides.

    The phenomenon of “sounding black” is one that, when I’ve encountered it in the past, it’s been in an “HR” setting. In college, it was discussed as one of the reasons African-Americans face discrimination. In work settings, it’s discussed as something you can’t take into account when interviewing someone. In this setting… it’s discussed as something that is, apparently, so special that only certain people are allowed to do it.

    I see Obama affecting that speech pattern as a signal to his intended audience and as nothing particularly interesting in and of itself. The folks complaining about it apparently are focusing on how, in real life, he doesn’t tend to talk like that… but I’m pretty sure that most of the folks who show up to listen to him speak know what he talks like “in public”. He’s a successful politician, after all. He’s sending a signal to them that they are receiving. If your first assumption is that they (that is, most of the folks in that room) have problems with their receivers rather than you’ve a problem with yours, that’s a good indicator that the problem is likely with your receiver.

    Making assumptions about what people are like because of their race rather than about what people are likely to have experienced because of their race is a good way to make bad assumptions.Report

    • MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      The only quibble I have with this is the assertion that he’s affecting anything. Unless you assume that, before going into politics, he had never in his life met or spoken to another black person, it may have begun as affectation or mirroring, but by now become entirely natural for him.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to MikeSchilling says:

        I apologize for poor word choice. When I go to visit relatives in Michigan or Kentucky, my accent changes. Am I affecting an accent on day 3 in Kentucky? Am I affecting an accent right now when I sound like a guy from Colorado?

        To say that this or that is my “authentic” accent is to hold a position that I didn’t intend to communicate I held.Report