When it comes to what passes for the “mainstream press,” there are plenty of people convinced that the deck is stacked against Republicans and conservatives with liberal leaning reporters and columnists itching to lay the pipe to them whenever they get the chance.
And after spending 20 combined years at the Pitch and Kansas City Star I can tell you that for the most part those fears are generally warranted. As evidenced by the closing of ranks at 18th and Grand yesterday on the Obama Rodeo Clown Controversy.
Starting with the front page story with a headline noting that the incident had been “widely condemned” and that the event’s sponsor would be required to take “sensitivity training” if it wanted to take part in future fairs.
On and on the Star story and handwringing went with anybody and everybody who wanted to weigh in with their outrage getting their say in a “news” story that not only piled on, but made no effort whatsoever to offer a balancing voice.
So much for even handedness.
Naturally there was an editorial condemning the gag for, among other things, being well-received by the audience. As though they had been celebrating at a lynching or something.
“A poor reflection of Missouri; Nothing humorous about clown rodeo skit,” read the headlines atop the Star’s unsigned editorial.
“A disgraceful black-face episode at the Missouri State Fair, aimed at ridiculing President Barack Obama, has cast the state in a negative light,” it began. “It was bad enough that the clown, whose name has not been released, wore a mask caricaturing Obama into the ring to be chased by a bull. Videos and stories, which went viral on the Internet, sadly showed that much of the crowd in Sedalia got a kick out of the stunt.”
Big deal, a crowd of largely political conservatives got a laugh out of a silly attempt at political satire. How very predictable.
Look, we all know how this game is played. Once the race card is dealt, it’s down periscope for everybody who is anybody in the public eye, and members of both parties were running for cover as the local and national media PC police closed in.
“The crowd cheered,” read a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Then the bull saw the George Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him off the fence.”
Where was the outrage then?
Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot. Wearing a George Bush mask isn’t tantamount to wearing blackface or participating in a Klu Klux Klan rally.
Give credit to lightly read Local section columnist Mary Sanchez for at least trying to breath some sanity into the rodeo clown media lynching.
“Watching the rodeo crowd get riled up was the worst part, mostly because it didn’t seem to take much cajoling on the clown’s part,” Sanchez writes. “But it is hardly worthy of mass outrage, coaxed along by the Internet or otherwise.
“There hasn’t been a U.S. president in the last 50 years who hasn’t had a mocking plastic mask produced of his face. If you doubt, wait a few months for Halloween.
“Political cartoonists have long sketched presidents with exaggerated expressions, posing in slapstick charades. Depending on your political leanings, you either think the work is a hoot or it’s offensive. The same thing has occurred around the Missouri clown incident. Much of the commentary separated into either Obama supporters or antagonists. And the name-calling flew from there.”
So yeah, predictably Sanchez had to get her digs in given her obvious political leaning, but at least she was able to step back and put the matter the proper perspective.
Because outside of the media gang bang, it was really no big deal.