23 June 2008

Back to White(y): Flowbee and Michelle Obama in the NYT

Dang, check out Ruben Navarrette’s new column on Michelle Obama as rumor-target. He blasts those who attempt to define her as some kind of priestess of militant black-power and he addresses the obviously fabricated TUCC dvd story as “a malicious rumor that Michelle had given a speech in her church in which she had used the word ‘whitey.’ Never happened. Shame on those who spread the lie, and shame on those who rushed to swallow it.” Oh, yes. And he goes right after Flowbee—but without naming him.

Yet, it was ironic. The rumor came from a liberal blogger, and a supporter of Hillary Clinton at that, who was eager to make a stink. And yet the folks who were most eager to buy it were conservative columnists, bloggers and radio talk show hosts.

Navarette shouldn’t really be surprised: Clinton herself used the conservative playbook in their competition for the nomination, and in her appeals to GOP moderates, so why wouldn’t her die-hard supporters take a cue from her actions? (In fairness to Clinton, she was in the middle of a real fight, and it's pretty evident that she'll back away from her earlier GOP-style critiques of Obama. A few of her supporters ain't giving up though).


What’s this? Flowbee gets another (kind of) shout out by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor of The New York Times?

A blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton circulates unfounded claims that Mrs. Obama gave an accusatory speech in her church about the sins of “whitey.”

Frankly, the NYT should have just given Flowbee's name; he has written for them after all. His full-length article, "The Declining Terrorist Threat," appeared in the NYT on 10 July, 2001.

But what I really love is Michelle Obama’s own response to the rumor, as recorded by Powell and Kantor in the NYT:

Mrs. Obama shakes her head. “You are amazed sometimes at how deep the lies can be,” she says in an interview. Referring to a character in a 1970s sitcom, she adds: “I mean, ‘whitey’? That’s something that George Jefferson would say. Anyone who says that doesn’t know me. They don’t know the life I’ve lived. They don’t know anything about me.”

Ha! I called The Jeffersons reference yonks ago. Come on, people. Do you think that there is any way this intelligent, accomplished woman would model racial commentaries on George Jefferson’s snarks at Tom Willis and Mr. Bentley?

(aside: the man who played Mr. Bentley on The Jeffersons, Paul Benedict, was a yank. Who knew?)

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