Jan 11, 2012



Media Matters breaks down how the Right Wing media i.e. Fox News is using the new book by Jodi Kantor to race bait about Michelle Obama.

Race-baiting when it comes to the Obamas is nothing new especially when it's applied to Michelle. We can all vividly recall how the media tried to spin her college thesis into something sinister against white people, or how about the time when she was completely taken out of context when she said for the first time she was proud of her country.

I really believe there are some in the media who just cannot understand how it's possible that black people have gone through all they've gone through in this country and still manage love it. I don't think it's the views of black people on display when it comes to the race baiting surrounding Michelle Obama, but rather the views of the establishment who just cannot figure out how people who've historically been disenfranchised and oppressed for so long can still find decency and grace for their fellow man and woman. Some of these people are so afraid that if black people get into power they are going to do to them what was historically done to black people. They are more afraid of karmic retribution than the appearance of a beautiful black family sitting at the top of American Power.

This is why their attacks against Michelle Obama is so sinister to me because it has absolutely nothing to do with Michelle but rather their own insecurities surrounding the history of this country. The author of the book, The Obamas, Jodi Kantor is a prime example of this. She interjects some of her own racial opinions into the book and ascribe those feelings to Michelle Obama as if it was Michelle who felt this way about some things, even though it's actually Jodi who feels this way.

Jeremy Holden at Media Matters breaks it down perfectly:

While the right-wing media have seized on this quote to suggest that Michelle Obama had a particular problem with "white Irish Catholics" wielding power, the full context of the passage makes clear that the concern Kantor ascribed to Michelle Obama's was with entrenched power and political dynasties.

Indeed, the phrase "white Irish Catholic" is Kantor's. It is not sourced to Michelle Obama.

In her book, Kantor wrote:

[Michelle Obama] particularly resented the way power in Illinois was locked up generation after generation by a small group of families, all white Irish Catholic - the Daleys of Chicago, the Hyneses and Madigans statewide. "Someone doesn't have the right to be elected because of whose womb they came out of," she would say a few years later to Dan Shomon, her husband's political advisor. "You shouldn't have a better chance if you're a Kennedy than if you're an Obama. Why is it that they have the right to this?" [The Obamas, p. 18]


It is no surprise that Kantor's thoughts, and not those of Michelle Obama herself, would come to be used against the first lady. White House press secretary Eric Schultz explicitly criticized Kantor for injecting her own thoughts into a book ostensibly about the first family, noting that Kantor had not spoken to either President Obama or Michelle Obama since 2009:

"The book, an overdramatization of old news, is about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years. The author last interviewed the Obamas in 2009 for a magazine piece, and did not interview them for this book," Schultz's statement reads. "The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the President and First Lady, reflect little more than the author's own thoughts. These second-hand accounts are staples of every Administration in modern political history and often exaggerated."



Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple has said that the narrative in Kantor's book "suffers from the lack of input from the principals."

Nevertheless, it did not take long for the phrase "white Irish Catholic" to make its way through the right-wing echo chamber.

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