Well, why wouldn’t he? Darryl Postell tells Fox host Gretchen Carlson that he had paid attention to the media’s spin of the Tea Party rallies and calculated that some reporter would want to ask him why he attended the rally on Tax Day. Counting on that, Postell prepared his answer carefully, and then delivered it rather masterfully, putting NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell on the defensive ever since:
Carlson also reported O’Donnell’s defense of her question:
“When you have a group that has been accused of racism by political opponents and argues that it has been treated unfairly, my question was direct and appropriate.”
What was the question?
O’DONNELL, TO MAN: There aren’t a lot of African-American men at these events.
DARRYL POSTELL, LAUGHING: Right.
O’DONNELL: Have you ever felt uncomfortable?
POSTELL: No, no, these are my people, Americans.
O’Donnell starts off with an assumption — that there aren’t “a lot” of African-American men at the rallies (even though Gallup puts identification among African-Americans with the Tea Party movement at 6%, as opposed to their 11% portion of the general population), and another assumption that such would make Postell “uncomfortable.” She didn’t actually ask about accusations of racism. It wasn’t direct at all. It was a roundabout way of asking Postell if he detected any racism at the Tea Parties, when it would have been more honest to just ask that question.
With that being said, I still contend that asking the question gave Postell the opportunity to respond. Making baseless accusations the foundation of the coverage strategies for news organizations seems more than a little strange, but that horse had bolted the barn months ago. At least O’Donnell asked, and NBC broadcast his answer. Most other cable news hosts just buy into the notion that the Tea Party is somehow racist without questioning the assumption at all. Blasting O’Donnell and NBC for their coverage in this one instance is perhaps a little counterproductive.
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