The two sides in the “niggerization” fight aren’t talking. The campaign of Mitt Romney won’t detail its complaint against MSNBC’s Touré, who yesterday accused the candidate of “niggerization” of President Obama. And MSNBC is keeping quiet as well. When the matter wraps, we’ll likely get some curt statements, and that’s it — none of the juicy back and forth between the parties.
So why not speculate? Here’s my fantasy of what is going on between the parties.
Romney campaign: Look, this is the second time you’ve done this to us — just ripped us on bogus racial grounds, which is the most nuclear type of accusation that you can level at a presidential campaign.
It’s one thing that you folks have a worldview that tilts left; we understand and respect that. But, again, you are making allegations of the most sensitive type with nothing to back them up.
MSNBC: If you’re referring to the Ku Klux Klan incident from last year, please recall that we apologized through and through for that mistake.
Romney campaign: We appreciated the apology, but it didn’t undo the original report.
MSNBC: Well, we don’t want to get bogged down in that instance, because we don’t feel that it bears any relation to what Touré said on air yesterday. He was simply drawing a conclusion from your campaign’s “anger” theme and tying it to the history of race relations in this country.
Romney campaign: Tying it to slander is more like it.
MSNBC: Not at all. This is legitimate commentary on a matter of national import.
Romney campaign: No matter how you may try to couch it, it’s outrageous and conforms to no journalistic norm that we’re aware of.
MSNBC: It’s the opinion of our co-host, and if you’d take a look at Twitter and the blogs, it’s pretty widely shared. Also, you should consider that MSNBC is not the first to draw this conclusion from the Chillicothe speech.
Romney campaign: So the point is that someone on the Internet said it first, so that makes it okay?
MSNBC: We feel it’s a legitimate point. We’re not saying it’s not edgy or provocative, which it clearly is. The word Touré chose was deliberate and he stands by it. If you want to use this sort of language, you have to be ready to be called out for it, in the most direct way. It’s a legitimate point.
Romney campaign: We don’t agree, and even if we did, what about this: What about, hey, if you’re planning on going ahead and using the word “niggerization” with respect to our candidate, how about having someone from the campaign on air to give our side of that “story”?
And as to your point about this “sort of language,” what are you talking about. “Angry” is a neutral term that gets thrown both ways in our political dialogue. Tea party members are been portrayed as “angry” by the media each and every day. There’s the “angry white male,” as well. But you folks see race in every stump speech, no matter how boilerplate it is.
MSNBC: If you consult the history books, you’ll see there’s grounding for what Touré said. It’s a fair point.
Romney campaign: Here we go again with the “fair” point.
MSNBC: Well, it does look as if we’re headed in circles.