Remember back in the day when Jimmy Kimmel and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein had a fun game show called “Win Ben Stein’s Money” on Comedy Central? I used to watch it often, and it was a lot of fun to see if I could beat Ben Stein. This was before the current wave of mindless reality shows, and it was very popular at the time.
Since then, Ben Stein has tried to cast himself as a conservative expert on the economy, but he’s also happily indulged in throwing red meat to the base. One of the channels he’s appeared on is Newsmax, a network buried deep in the skipped over options of cable television. It’s basically like Fox News, but with a far lower budget, and a bias that makes Fox News look fair and balanced in comparison.
On Tuesday, Ben Stein appeared on Newsmax and engaged in what may be his worst bit of race-baiting and fear-mongering yet.
Via Right Wing Watch:
In an interview with Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg yesterday, conservative pundit Ben Stein called President Obama a “bad joke” and a “very real danger” to America, speculating that the president may have a “strong hatred of America” because “he’s part black.”
“I think the question is why is he so angry at America?” Stein said. “I don’t think there’s much question that he does not wish America well. He has a real strong hatred of America. Is it because he’s part black? I don’t know. Is it because his father was mistreated by the British in Kenya? I don’t know.” (Source)
Ben Stein isn’t alone, he is echoing the comments of the conservative media that President Obama hates America, perhaps because he isn’t a white conservative who wants to take the country back to the “good old days.”
In the wake of student protests on college campuses across the country, the conservative media has fought back and claimed reverse racism. They want you to believe that conservatives are a majority in America, and are a persecuted group at the same time.
Pundits like Ben Stein are more than happy to parrot these talking points to continue their relevance, and convince the right-wing that the problems in the United States are due to our increasing diversity – rather than decades of conservative politics which have contributed to income inequality and racial injustice.
Many of the political figures and anchors on channels like Fox News, Breitbart or Newsmax have tried to carefully conceal their racial dog whistles in layers of commentary disguised with carefully and selectively interpreted polls and studies. Ben Stein decided not to do that, and go straight to racism.
President Obama has little more than a year left in office, but the changes in our country will go forward. Once he is gone, Newsmax and Ben Stein will find someone else to blame for what they think is wrong with the United States. It is very telling though that when they have no other explanation for the nation’s ills; it boils down to the blatant racism that Ben Stein obviously has no problem vocalizing to bolster his conservative credentials.
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