Yesterday, we highlighted a recent appearance that Pat Buchanan made on Washington Journal, in which he mocked and derided the efforts made by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to master the English language -- a mastery that seems to have been largely successful, given the arc of her professional career and the fact that she did, in fact, graduate atop her class at Princeton. Amanda Terkel of Think Progress very astutely pointed out that having very loudly decried Hispanics for being "allegedly unwilling to learn English," the fact that he'd turn and profess similar contempt for a woman who went to great lengths to learn English bespeaks -- at best -- pure and unadulterated intellectual dishonesty.
Of course, I think there's obviously something even more foul afoot! Let me see if I can put it into words...hmmm...let's see...oh, wait! How does VENAL, JUVENILE RACISM grab you, conceptually? You see, in that same Washington Journal segment, Buchanan goes on at length to echo the substantive and reasonable concerns shared by Jonathan Turley -- criticisms which have no racial component at all, and which critique Sotomayor's intellectual depth in a perfectly honest way. The point I'd emphasize is this: Buchanan knows full well he doesn't need to mock Sotomayor's efforts to learn English -- he just wants to.
It's something that gives him jollies. And it's something that never gets faced squarely by the people who put him on the air, because as far as they're concerned, he's just some charming old coot with some warped views. And I suppose, in the minds of MSNBC, Buchanan is providing great "balance." You know, if, say, Rachel Maddow is on the teevee, being too damned reasonable or something, you can toss Buchanan into the mix, zero the balance, and call the whole thing "great chemistry." But let's be honest, the only thing that separates Buchanan from the racist uncle you long avoided as a child at family get-togethers is that at some point, it was decided that Buchanan should be rewarded for having what Jay Rosen so famously describes as "savvy," his creepy worldview notwithstanding.
Media Matters has crunched together a video that very ably documents how race, in the Sotomayor discussion, has been a pre-eminent obsession for Buchanan. I'd also draw your attention to Buchanan's insistences that "What is happening now to white men right now is exactly what was done to black folks for years" and that Sotomayor's career is literally founded in an anti-white animus. I continue to wonder precisely what ancient ritual the people at MSNBC perform, on a daily basis, that absolves them of the consequences of airing -- and rewarding! -- these sorts of statements.
UPDATED: I would like to point out that Sotomayor's dissent in Pappas v. Giuliani, which I would hope the media is learning about now, wholly and precisely invalidates Buchanan's longstanding contentions -- repeated just yesterday! -- that "the salient cause of [Sotomayor's] career has been advancing persons of color, over whites, based on race and national origin." Going forward, there should never be an instance in which Buchanan is allowed to advance this idea without being immediately asked to reconcile his contention with this case.
MORE UPDATES: Media Monitor Clayton Fanellen highlights Tamron Hall's efforts to explain how "doors have been closed on [her] because [she's] a black woman." Which is good! Unfortunately, this whole segment ended with Hall signing off by reaffirming how nice she thinks Pat Buchanan is. Everyone just loves this "charming old coot with some warped views!"
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