bill_coley — 2017-02-17T14:09:38-05:00 — #1
I have a passion about issues of race both in our culture and in the Body of Christ, a passion that fuels my involvement in a community effort among predominantly black and predominantly white congregations called "Common Table ministries," which God is using to call the Church to set an example and to serve as salt and light in this era when the racial divide is real and corrosive.
With that background, I propose for your use a simple test of sensitivity to racial issues that arose for me during yesterday's presidential news conference. Near the end of that event, President Trump had an exchange with April Ryan, a journalist with the American Urban Radio Networks who happens to be an African American, that included the following....
QUESTION: Well, when you say the inner cities, are you going — are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your — your urban agenda, your inner city agenda, as well as —
TRUMP: Am I going to include who?
QUESTION: Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional —
TRUMP: Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?
QUESTION: — Hispanic Caucus —
TRUMP: Do you want to set up the meeting?
QUESTION: No — no — no. I’m not —
TRUMP: Are they friends of yours?
QUESTION: I’m just a reporter.
TRUMP: Well, then(ph) set up the meeting.
The test for sensitivity to racial issues is the president's question to the journalist, speaking of the Congressional Black Caucus, "Are they friends of yours?" I propose that people who, when viewing the press conference video or reading its transcript, identify that question as reflective of a racial issue, demonstrate awareness of the challenge we face. For people who do not discern that question as reflective of a racial issue, I propose it is a teachable moment.
Personally, I silently mouthed the exclamation, "Oh, my God!" when I heard the president ask Ryan that question. Then throughout the rest of the day broke into scornful, derisive laughter every time I thought of his words. In my view, that a nation which just experienced its first African American president is now led by a person so insensitive to the rhetoric of race - and that's a VERY kind assessment of the source of the president's question - is painfully disheartening, but also a call to action, both in and outside the Church.
NOTE: The video and transcript of the press conference in its entirety can be found HERE. The exchange in question begins at about the 1:13:20 mark of the video.
dave_l — 2017-02-17T14:42:11-05:00 — #2
I understood it more as a dig aimed at "liberal media" and their penchant for Democrats and not race since the CBC has white members. Also President Trump tried to schedule a meeting and they reneged.
bill_coley — 2017-02-17T15:02:15-05:00 — #3
As is evident more so in the video than in the transcript, I think, the president didn't appear to know what the acronym "CBC" meant. So in my view his question to Ryan whether the CBC - what he called "the black caucus" - were friends of hers clearly had to do with race, not the media.
I believe your contention here is factually incorrect, Dave. According to the CBC, it sent a letter to the president on January 19 asking to meet with him, but the president has never responded. I would welcome your links to information that the CBC backed out of a meeting with the president.
You might be thinking of a specific member of Congress, Rep. Elijah Cummings, with whom the president asserted during yesterday's press conference he had a meeting scheduled but then the representative backed out. Rep Cummings, however, later said no meeting was ever formally scheduled, and that the president's hypothesis that Sen. Charles Shumer of New York or "some other lightweight" "probably" told Cummings not to participate in such a meeting because it would be "bad politics" is a "story" he has "no idea" why the president would "make up."
dave_l — 2017-02-17T15:36:38-05:00 — #4
What you say might be true but I cannot seem to pick up on it. I was on a jury once and we threw the case out because the prosecutor could not prove the person knew he bought stolen goods. And I think this might be similar since President Trump directed his comment to the media person and not to the CBC.
gao_lu — 2017-02-17T17:16:24-05:00 — #5
Quite a stretch to make all that out of that Bill. I can't see how you can get there from here.
"Are they friends of yours?" to me indicated that Trump was interested in avoiding political manipulation of a lone liberal media reporter with a personal agenda and possibly a handful of puppet-friends he could "use" to back it. Trump is President after all. Trump was wise to ask that question. The potential issue reflective of a racial issue is that of the reporter, apparently smart enough to backpedal in a hurry--did he have Hispanic friends or not?
We see and hear what we are ferociously attempting to dig up--when it doesn't exist. If the wicked flee when no man pursues, what can we say about the man who sees ghosts attacking him in his living room?
bill_coley — 2017-02-17T23:43:34-05:00 — #6
I'm not sure what's to pick up on, Dave.
In the exchange I quoted in this thread's OP, April Ryan asked the president whether he intended to connect with the Congressional Black Caucus. After learning from Ryan what its three letter acronym stood for, the president asked Ryan whether she would be willing to set up a meeting between him and the Caucus. In THAT context - looking to Ryan to help him set up a meeting - the president asked whether the members of the CBC were friends of hers.
The problem with his words is not their self-evident objective: to leverage any friendship Ryan had with CBC members to set up a meeting with him. The problem is his assumption of a friendship between Ryan and the CBC members. Why ask her that question? He didn't ask Caucasian reporters whether they were friends with the Caucasian subjects of their questions. Nobody asks journalists whether they are friends with the subject of their questions!
The only sensible explanation of why he asked April Ryan whether the members of the CBC were friends of hers was his assumption that as African Americans she and they were likely to know each other.
I reported the details of this incident to a ministry team last night at church, and to a person, all seven people present reacted instantly with alarm, disgust, and gut-level snickers. Two team members had seen the press conference live, and as a result provided additional details of the exchange between the president and Ryan, their description punctuated by robust and derisive laughter.
I called a friend and clergy colleague of mine who happens to be an African American. He was similarly aghast.
In the OP of this thread I called the press conference exchange at issue here "a simple test of sensitivity to racial issues," one that either demonstrates awareness of the challenge we face or represents a teachable moment. With due respect for your views, Dave, I stand by that characterization.
gao_lu — 2017-02-17T23:48:33-05:00 — #7
I answered your question above. The bigger question is by what motive anyone would question Trump's simple question.
They did? Really?
That is amazing.
I wonder what "unknown mystery" Trump didn't know he implied that a handful of you are picking up on that the rest of us are missing?
dave_l — 2017-02-18T05:36:22-05:00 — #8
I do not doubt your position. But I did not pick-up on the same things you did. Although when Ms. Clinton said "the future is female" the other day it confirmed she is part of the swamp needing draining. We'll be needing a white straight male minority caucus before long.
bill_coley — 2017-02-18T11:04:42-05:00 — #9
How/Why this is true is not clear to me. But it doesn't need to be, given the focus of this thread.
I appreciate the emoji, whose presence in your reply certainly tempers the intensity (but not the sincerity) with which I write that if the time comes when "white straight male(s)" have been subjected to the second class citizenship imposed on women by laws, culture, and the Church for as long as it has been imposed on women, and AMC creates series called "Mad Women" that is popular in part because people accept the truth of its depiction of the power imbalance between women and men, I will be among first people to cheer the creation of the "minority caucus" to which you refer.
dave_l — 2017-02-18T11:16:00-05:00 — #10
Just pointing out we might have more serious problems in the future with sexism and bigotry than feared today.
All I can say about the present turmoil is that the founding fathers had far more wisdom than I ever imagined. And the Electoral College really proved its worth this time around. But it appears the Media is pandering to the popular vote for profit. And ignoring the electoral vote that prevents the ding bats and weirdos from taking over. If this were not the case, you wouldn't need the Electoral College.
bill_coley — 2017-02-18T11:38:44-05:00 — #11
I respect, but profoundly disagree with, your view.
In my view, the media and tens of millions of other Americans are calling attention to the popular vote result because 1) the idea that the candidate who gets the most votes should win the election is ingrained in the American electoral mindset, at least in every part of the American electoral process other than the presidency; 2) it's rare that the electoral college winner loses the popular vote (5 times in 58 presidential elections), 3) Secretary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million votes, the largest margin of victory ever by an electoral college loser.
You are of course free to choose to believe those aren't consequential matters; but they are to me and to the millions of other people served by what you call the media's "pandering."
I and millions of other people in the U.S. and around the world believe the first month of the Trump administration proves definitively that in the 2016 presidential election the electoral college failed miserably in its mission to "(prevent) the ding bats and weirdos from taking over."
dave_l — 2017-02-18T11:51:14-05:00 — #12
The media is a business, selling a product packaged to appeal to the masses. You can watch them in history. The way they follow movements and always go for the $$$. This is no different.
It still remains, the Electoral College keeps an even keel where fads and trends would destabilize, until the next destabilizing fad or trend came along.
bill_coley — 2017-02-18T12:34:17-05:00 — #13
Yes, media is a business, but the "business" of the news media is to convey information to the public, and that they do.
The information conveyed is certainly filtered by outlets' journalistic standards and partisan intentions! For example, the other night when the president's national security adviser resigned, essentially because the president fired him, FoxNews chose not to break into its normal programming to cover the event. It chose not even to mention the resignation in the information ticker running across the bottom of its screen, instead, waiting til the next morning to inform its viewers of the resignation of one of the most important figures in the Trump national security team. I think it's hard to conclude anything other than that FoxNews' partisan intentions filtered out the Flynn resignation from its coverage on the night it happened.
In the bigger picture, however, I think it's up to us information consumers to discern between assertions of fact and opinion. News and information consumption is a participatory, not a spectator, sport.
Despite the president's repeated and baseless claims that select media outlets - i.e. those he doesn't like - are "fake news," in general, I think media provide a valuable public service.
In my view, only its most passionate supporters believe there is much of anything that is "even keel" or "stable" about the Trump administration.
Moreover, I pray fervently that the disregard, almost contempt, Mr Trump has shown for facts and the truth since he began his candidacy in June 2015 is nothing more than a passing fad.
dave_l — 2017-02-18T12:50:56-05:00 — #14
I think Obama lost the election for Hillary. She is part of the same machine, and they were pandering, as all politicians do, to the wrong people. Whoever focuses on the Electoral Vote seems to win. There was a time I thought Hillary would be a great president, long before she announced her candidacy. But the system is so absolutely crazy, I thought that as bad as Mr. Trump might be, at least he is an outsider, and what have we got to lose?
bill_coley — 2017-02-18T14:36:52-05:00 — #15
In my view, first and foremost what we have to lose is our culture's moorings in truth. It is all but inarguable that Donald Trump lies more often, about more things, and with more nonchalance than any other president in American history. I believe his presidency risks our culture's normalizing and authorizing falsehood as a legitimate communication currency when it comes to matters of fact.... And it might already be happening.
Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway on multiple occasions spoke of a mass casualty terrorist event she called "the Bowling Green Massacre," an event she made up; it never happened. When media corrected her after the third time she raised it, she finally acknowledged the truth. But the damage was done! A PPP poll found that 51% of people who support the president believe the "Bowling Green massacre" proved the need for the president's travel ban executive order.
I can't recall the post - though one or more may well exist - when you or one of the other Trump supporters in these forums expressed outrage over the president's long-established practice of speaking falsehoods. The man lies far more than anyone who has ever held his office, but to my recollection you haven't denounced that behavior.
I guess I can understand supporting Mr Trump in spite of his prolific mendacity. What I can't understand is supporting him without acknowledging that mendacity, and demanding that he change his ways. Had it been true (though it wasn't) that Secretary Clinton lied as much and as often as Mr Trump, I would still have voted for her on the basis of her policies and political philosophy. But I assure you I would have made clear my disgust and righteous rage at her lying. The fact that you and other Trump supporters in these forums and around the country have not done that, and all too often have bought into the president's falsehoods, represents something significant we may well be in the process of losing.
dave_l — 2017-02-18T14:42:09-05:00 — #16
I'm not a "Trump supporter". I just believe that as bad as he might be, he's the best chance this nation has had at correcting its wrongs since Eisenhower or possibly Jimmy Carter. Yikes!!! Things are bad, and that's not good....