An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM.
It’s not just about the racism, though I don’t think they’d have used the word “animal” to refer to a white crew. It’s about a media culture that for 30 years now has heard from the right wing in in this country that it should be ashamed of itself and has loudly and resoundingly agreed.
It’s what you get when you take somebody who says the New York Times building should be blown up, and put her on the cover of a magazine because she’s influential and controversial and maybe hey, she’s just kidding around!
It’s what you get when you hire people as your commentators and consultants who think urinating on corpses is hilarious, and call Supreme Court justices “goat-fucking child molester”s.
It’s what you get when you pay sex tourists with drug problems insane amounts of money to spend hours on the radio calling the president of the United States everything right up to the very edge of nigger, and then quote him as if he’s a person whose opinion matters.
It’s what you get when you invite people on the air who hate you. Who hate what you do. Who hate what you stand for. Who hate everything you are. Who say, out loud, that the world would be better off without you. Who think you’re a detriment to society. Who “joke” about killing you.
It’s what you get when you ignore the insults, laugh off the threats, listen thoughtfully to the invective. It’s what you get when you not only allow yourself to be treated with disrespect, but you agree with those who don’t respect you, and use the precious time and ink and space you have to give their already magnified opinions an even bigger view.
It’s what you get when day after day after day after day you just sit there and take it. You’ve been ignoring the bully for three decades now. Has he gone away yet? Has he stopped?
None of this is about individual reporters, really. It’s about their bosses, who on the basis of wanting to pal around with fancy senators and fellow rich assholes, tell their own employees they don’t matter. And the employees, so demoralized and beaten down by years and years and years of cutbacks and closure threats and endless speeches about how lucky they are to work for the love of their noble craft, either can’t respond, or if they do, their bosses are quick to slap them down for fear of accusations of political bias.
What’s the end result? This. Exactly this.And what’s CNN’s response this morning? Are they outraged? Defending their crew member? Sticking up for their own? Making it clear to the general public that this kind of treatment is beyond the pale?
CNN also acknowledged the incident, saying, “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”
That’ll show ’em.
I’m not excusing the Republican delegates and attendees who acted like childish, racist creeps. This is who they are, it’s who they’ve always been, but reporters and editors and executives and owners and CEOs don’t have to take it without calling it what it is.
For years Republicans have been telling the American press it doesn’t deserve respect. Maybe it’s finally time to stop listening.