Green Means \”Impeach\”

“B” Is For Bullshit

In an official statement the McCain campaign says: “We’re shaken up by this. It’s sick and disgusting.”

– – 10/23/08

It certainly is! Indeed, everything about the stupid hoax perpetrated by Ashley Todd, a McCain campaign worker from Texas temporarily based in Pennsylvania — in which she claimed that a six-foot-four black man robbed her at an ATM and then, when he saw the McCain sticker on her car, beat her, held her down and carved a “B” into her right cheek — reeks of the hysterical tabloid idiocy so typical of American public discourse whenever race is concerned.

Even more disturbing is the role of the McCain campaign in all this. Instead of keeping Ms. Todd at arm’s length until the facts of the “crime” could be verified, the campaign — and the candidate and his running mate themselves — jumped in feet first. McCain provided the quote above in an official statement, and Palin reportedly called the (apparently mentally ill) young woman herself to commiserate with her on the heinous attack that wasn’t. Neither candidate so much as questioned a tall tale that evoked the most blatantly racist stereotypes of black males as violent, out-of-control thieves and attackers. It makes one wonder if, in the screening room of McCain’s and Palin’s minds, an old D. W. Griffith movie of sweet white flesh assaulted by bestial ex-slaves runs in an endless tape loop.

But it gets better. The McCain campaign’s Pennsylvania Communications Director, Peter Feldman, according to Raw Story, deliberately pitched an “inflammatory” version of Todd’s hoax to reporters that was far worse than the version released by police (who, it turns out, never believed Todd’s story in the first place). According to Feldman, Todd’s mythical attacker told her, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson.” Apparently, the brute was endowed with psychic powers, as he was able to figure out that Todd was a campaign volunteer from the mere fact of her car sporting a McCain sticker. Feldman even claimed that the “B” carved into her face (which she created herself, using a mirror) stood for “Barack” — a claim Todd herself apparently never made. Feldman, of course, was never asked by reporters to explain why the “B” was carved backwards.

This incident ennobles no one. Matt Drudge’s decision to run a “teaser story” about the fictional assault demonstrates yet again his poisonous influence on American Journalism. Although some reporters claim never to have bought into the story, they ran it anyway — so much for the liberal media. The McCain camp, by beieving the story uncritically, has disgraced itself, and will surely be dealing with the foul odor from this scandal from now until Election Day. Even the Obama camp is not untouched. Obama seemed a bit too eager to believe the outrageous story and sent his condolences to the young woman while condemning the “crime.”

Only Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party Presidential candiate, has directly and responsibly addressed the issue of race in this campaign. But her run for the presidency has been completly ignored by a media establishment that would rather print or broadcast false stories that appeal to people’s worst instincts and fears than discuss soberly the relationship of government to race. Details about Cynthia’s positions on race belong to another post. But once again she has risen above the political mire in which the corporate press and both mainstream political parties seem permanently trapped.

A final note: everyone involved might have done well to recall that “Todd” (“tod”), in German, means “dead.” As in “dead presidential campaign” — McCain’s.