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The media has spent the last few years doing a great job of redrawing the lines of bigotry. It used to be that action predicated bigotry. Today, simply having a religious belief that opposes gay marriage will brand you as a bigot. This subtle change is no mistake and has been effective in turning the conversation of bigotry from actions to beliefs.
Once the media could successfully target people for their beliefs, they were able to control the conversation. Controlling the conversation allowed them to ultimately target those individuals and groups that shared opposing views, while protecting those sympathetic to their viewpoints. If you look at some of the incidents from this summer, you can see the hypocrisy that has been allowed to develop.
Of course, who can forget Paula Deen and the backlash she suffered from past use of the hateful "N" word earlier this summer? The line of bigotry was redrawn from present day to a new standard of holding people responsible for past behavior, opinions, or comments. It’s too bad long time Democrat Sen. (and admitted KKK leader) Robert Byrd couldn’t live to see his years of minority oppression rewarded through this new media standard.
Deen was fired from her cooking show and lost nearly all of her sponsors. It was a harsh penalty indeed for views she admitted to having a long time ago. When did we start accepting media persecution of past, but reformed, beliefs?
Redrawing the line from present day opinions to being held accountable for past opinions would bring me to President Obama. Remember when the president was opposed to gay marriage?
Much like Deen, Obama was roundly chortled as a bigot and as a hateful person. Oh wait, he wasn’t. That’s right, he "evolved." Something tells me that if Deen crept onto "The Today Show" and told everyone she suddenly evolved, no one would be buying it. What’s the difference between Deen and Obama’s past bigotry, as redefined by the media?
Another classic example of this inconsistent treatment would be everyone’s favorite race baiter, Rev. Al Sharpton. Much like Deen, Sharpton also has some past hateful comments to his credit. This one in particular caught my eye from a speech in 1994:
"White folks was [sic] in caves while we was building empires ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."
Read those comments again. So Sharpton can make bigoted comments in the past about homosexuality and keep his TV show without reprisal, yet Deen does the exact same thing and she suffers media scorn? I wonder what could be different between Sharpton and Deen’s past bigotry, as redefined by the media. All three media figures committed past bigotry by today’s redrawn standards, yet only one of them suffered a loss of employment or income?
These three examples expose the fundamental flaw in this new media dynamic. If the media was truly interested in ending bigotry, each offender would be treated the same. Instead, each is treated differently, based upon their political beliefs.
By reshaping the conversation to be about beliefs, rather than actions, the media has successfully been able to persecute those that share opposing views. While America bleats away in the pasture, the media continues to successfully erase and redraw the lines of bigotry.
John Mumper is married with two young daughters. He was born in Wisconsin and grew up on various types of farms throughout the state. John was educated at UW-Whitewater with degrees in Political Science and History and has traveled extensively throughout the world.
Today, he works closely with various types and sizes of manufacturers and building products suppliers as an outside salesman. In his spare time, he enjoys the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, politics and brewing his own powerful beers.