What I meant by that "watermelon" remark about Obama

I was talking about Obama and health care and I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It’s an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment. I’m sorry people took offense…

I can understand why someone who just happened upon my comments could take offense or want clarification. But what has caused this comment to “go viral” is the trumpeting of an online and cable echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo. Furthermore, even for those who brook no prejudice, when everything is condensed to 140 characters or a small YouTube clip, many people who got this “news” did so without any context, just a headline that popped up on their phone or inbox…

What saddens me is what this experience has made all too clear. Much of what we call news, isn’t. Much of what we Tweet, or post, or chat away at under the guise of news, are distractions.