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When Donald Trump refers to the anti-Trump media—CNN, MSNBC and network television—as “fake news,” his description is not only accurate but welcome: finally, a conservative is fighting back against a press whose venomous corruption is a grave threat to American pluralism and its democratic order. But when the same “news” outlets falsely characterize political opponents, including the president, as racists and “hatemongers” to render them illegitimate, our democracy is in grave peril. In sum, the term “fake news” greatly understates the nature of the threat, and, along with it, the crisis we are facing as a nation.
As a prominent antagonist of the Left, I have been a target of its malice for decades—in fact, from the moment I departed its ranks in the 1980s, and vowed to speak to my former comrades in the same language they spoke to others. Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today? Since then I have been one among numerous conservatives victimized by their malevolent disregard for the truth, for anyone with whom they disagree, for common decency, and for the country that gave them their freedoms.
Today things are worse than ever. The Left’s lack of respect for democratic principles, for political “others,” their readiness to employ gutter tactics and mangle the truth, has spread from the Communist fringe publications of the 1960s—like The Nation, and the Daily Worker—to so-called mainstream publications like the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
A Racialized Smear
Two weeks ago, despite a 50-year public career as a civil rights advocate, and despite being the author of three published books on race—all of them championing Martin Luther King’s vision of equality—I was attacked as a racist by, among others, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Esquire, New York Magazine, Politico, Newsweek, and a host of Florida newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Post, and the Sunshine State News. In blaring headlines, I was called “an infamous racist,” “a hatemonger,” “a white supremacist,” and a “race war theorist.” And I wasn’t even the primary target of the attacks.
That honor belonged to Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, and legless war hero congressman Brian Mast, both of whom had the misfortune to attend my Restoration Weekend, which the Post designated “a racially charged event” and the others portrayed as a platform for racists.
As it happens not only do I not invite racists to my events, for 20 years I have featured prominent African Americans as keynote speakers. In addition to Turning Point USA activist Candace Owens, I have recently given awards both to Larry Elder and liberal black Democrat, Adrian Fenty, former mayor of Washington, D.C.. Fenty’s award was for the work he had done to provide scholarships for inner-city children so they could get into schools that would teach them. Other keynote speakers at my weekend have included former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, Wall Street Journal editor Jason Riley, Fox Business Channel anchor Charles Payne, former U.S. Rep. Allen West, Breitbart columnist Sonnie Johnson, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
Must I also mention that I have six grandchildren, whom I love dearly, of whom one is white? Or that on the weekend following these attacks I was at an intimate gathering to celebrate two birthdays with my family and close friends, half of whom were black?
All the attempts to portray me as a racist arose out of a deceitful article in the Washington Post, which bore the headline “GOP Candidate for Florida Governor Spoke at Racially Charged Events.” The transparently sleazy intention of the article was to associate DeSantis with an allegedly racist event, to show that he is a racist himself. Both claims are bald-faced lies. If we were not both public figures, the Post would be facing major libel suits right now.
No Corrections Offered
I have to confess that when I first read the article I missed all the dog whistles to left-wing race baiters, which reporter Beth Reinhard had planted in her text. Consequently, I was taken aback when the article instantaneously triggered the rash of character assassinating headlines in the publications I mentioned, targeting DeSantis, Mast, and me. I just grossly underestimated the malevolence of “liberals” in the era of anti-Trump resistance. The whole episode put me in mind of the Nazi paper, Der Sturmer, which specialized in exactly this kind of attack in the 1930s.
Of all the dog whistles marshalled by Reinhard, my favorite was her comment that one of my speakers, Milo Yiannopoulos made a joke about “black-male genitals.” The obvious implication: Members of Horowitz’s event are racist throwbacks to the era of Strom Thurmond and Bull Connor. In fact, this remark was actually a quite amusing self-referent joke about Milo’s attraction to his newly wed husband, who happens to be black. But if Reinhard had published that fact, she would have blown her whole smear.
Despite my appeals to Reinhard and her editor, Eric Rich, no corrections were offered, or opportunities to correct a damaging, reputation-shredding, election-tilting, misrepresentation of myself and my two distinguished guests. I specifically asked for an op-ed column to respond, or an objective Post profile of my events, but Rich seemed perfectly comfortable with the display of guilt by innuendo in the article and the outrageous attacks that followed. He was obviously comfortable with its consequences, which were clearly intended, and might well be severe. Being falsely tarred as racists could presumably cost two stellar individuals their quests for seats in the election. It’s also left me wondering, what elected official would want to risk such damaging attacks by attending my events in the future.
Lazy, Unprofessional—and the SPLC (Naturally)
One factor in these gutter campaigns that I haven’t mentioned is the laziness and unprofessionalism of the reporters (and editors) involved. Not one reporter participating in these character assassinations for the Post, Huffington Post, Politico, Newsweek, and the other magazines called me to check any of the specific allegations of racism made in their articles. I was interviewed by Reinhard, but she failed to mention the black genitals comment or any of the other dog whistle claims to get my views on them, including the preposterous but damaging accusation that my events were “racially charged.”
“Racially charged,” would of course be an apt description of the hand-holding sessions that Barack Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democratic Party leadership have conducted with America’s most notorious, most rabid Antisemite, and anti-white racist, Louis Farrakhan. But of course, Farrakhan’s courtiers have prominent roles in the Post’s party of choice and are not going to be held to account by Reinhard, Rich or the rest of the lapdog media, let alone tarred and feathered like Ron DeSantis, Brian Mast, and me.
In fact, all the malicious and baseless claims—that I am “hate-monger,” a “white supremacist,” an “infamous racist,” an “anti-Muslim fanatic,” come from a single source: the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center. This is an organization so reckless in its accusations that it recently paid a devout and moderate Muslim $3.4 million for having labeled him “an anti-Muslim extremist.” The payout to Maajid Nawaz was volunteered because England has much stricter libel laws than does the United States where it is virtually impossible for public figures like DeSantis, Mast, and myself to get redress for the violence that has been done to our reputations and work.
Speaking of laziness and casually malicious reporters, it was to be expected that to check such serious charges, Beth Reinhard would “research” my Twitter feed instead of read the three books I have written about race, or watch on YouTube any of the many speeches I have given on the subject over the years. As it happens, the selection of one of those tweets, illuminates why these racial attacks on myself and my guests are also attacks on this nation.
The tweet Reinhard selected was this: “Black Africans enslaved black Africans. America freed them sacrificing 350k mainly white Union lives. American blacks are richer, more privileged, freer than blacks anywhere in the world, including all black run countries.”
Of course, even though every claim in this statement is true, Reinhard and her progressive audiences see such statements as prima facie evidence of my “racism.” In their narrative, whites enslaved blacks. To imply or say, as I have, that black Americans should be grateful to Thomas Jefferson and white Americans for freeing them is to add insult to injury, and to be insensitive to their suffering. It also undermines the truly racist narrative of the Left that white people are oppressors and evil.
But of course, I didn’t say anything like that. I have never encouraged blacks or anyone else to be grateful to their oppressors. The real issue here is the foundational gift that America made in its very creation to all oppressed minorities, and to black slaves in particular. This is something that the current identity politics of the Democratic Party and the left generally ignores or denies. But if Americans can’t agree on this historic achievement, we no longer have a common bond as citizens of the same nation.
Countering the Leftist Narrative
I specifically posted my tweet as an antidote to the anti-American, anti-white racism that is rampant on the Left, in our schools, in the Democratic Party, and in its kept media, like the Washington Post. The widespread attitude in these quarters holds that American patriotism is “white nationalism.” This claim is a dagger aimed at America’s heart.
Slavery existed in Africa for 1,000 years before a white person ever set foot there. European slavers did not go into the African bush and throw nets over blacks to enslave them. They went to slave auctions in Ghana and Benin, and bought already enslaved blacks from black African slavers. Slavery had existed for 3,000 years and no one had called it immoral, until white male Christians in England and America, understanding the fundamental equality of all human beings in their natures, did so. Thomas Jefferson wrote into America’s birth certificate the revolutionary proposition that all mankind was equal and each individual was endowed with a God-given and therefore unalienable right to liberty.
This commitment launched the emancipation of black slaves in the northern states and ultimately throughout the western hemisphere. By contrast there is still black slavery in Africa today. To free the south’s slaves immediately would have precipitated a civil war; one which the free states would have lost. But within little over one generation, the dedication of Americans to a nation conceived in liberty, led to the abolition of slavery at the cost of 350,000 mainly (but not exclusively) white lives. That is something that should be a source of pride for every white or black American. That is an achievement that unifies our nation. We participated in an evil system that we inherited from the British, yes. But as a nation we dedicated ourselves to liberty and equality and ended it.
The political Left doesn’t want Americans to be proud of their country. They don’t want blacks to recognize they had benefactors who were white Christian males. So they lie about our history, and attack us as white supremacists. It is a sad comment on the state of our country that merely stating the facts of our heritage should be considered anti-black and racist, particularly by institutions like the Washington Post.
When one side insists on denying our history, attacking patriots as “white nationalists” and smearing political opponents as “white supremacists” we no longer have a common ground as a people.
Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images