Unbelievable — Time’s Karen Tumulty Calls A Perfectly Legitimate And Timely McCain Ad Racist. Why?? Because Franklin Raines Is Black (and So Is Obama)
[Posted by WLS]
I’ve been itching to put up a post on the absolute abdication of journalistic integrity by Time Magazine.
First, they hire that obviously qualified gossip columnist Ana Marie Cox, late of Wonkette, as editor of their online operation.
Next, Joe Klein is rabidly in the tank for Obama. But he’s an opinion columnist who has never hidden his political views, and I don’t begrudge him his forum. Conservatives have columns in news magazines as well. But Klein’s willingness to simply be an Obama campaign mouthpiece has been a little much, as been his willingness to question McCain’s character and integrity every time McCain takes a step towards beating the Anointed One.
Then Jay Carney, whom I have always liked as a reporter, has had trouble hiding his contempt for the McCain-Palin ticket. I’ll put up some examples of his writing later.
But the final straw right now is Karen Tumulty. From her numerous appearances on a variety of television talk shows, her political sympathies have never been a secret. But she is not an opinion columnist — she is their lead political reporter.
An hour ago, in this post at the Swampland blog site, she took on the McCain campaign’s latest ad out today on the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac fiasco. In the ad, the McCain campaign links Obama to Franklin Raines, the OMB Director in the Clinton Administration who left to become the CEO at Fannie Mae — a position to which he had to be appointed by Clinton.
Over the ensuing 5 years, Raines took home tens of millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses — but an auditor’s investigation found the accounting of Fannie Mae riddled with fraud, all of which the investigator attributed to the desire on the part of Raines and other Fannie Mae officials to hit certain pre-determined business targets in order to get their bonuses paid.
The ad links Obama to Raines for two reasons — Obama, in just 4 years, received more campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than all U.S. Senators except one: Chris Dodd, who happens to be head of the Senate Banking Committee.
Secondly, a Washington Post article, which the McCain campaign refers to in its ad, identified Raines as an advisor to the Obama campaign on issues of mortgage financing and housing.
But Franklin Raines is African-American. So is Barack Obama.
So Karen Tumulty pulls out the old “Bloody Shirt” and starts waving it over Time’s head in a call to storm the ramparts.
When politicians interject race into a campaign, they seldom do it directly. Consider McCain’s new ad, which the campaign says it will be airing nationally.
This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman.
Let me stipulate: Obama’s Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn’t even mention a far more significant tie–that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama’s vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama’s principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.
And the image of the victim doesn’t seem accidental either, given the fact that older white women are a key swing constituency in this election.
Maybe the McCain campaign should have used a blank screen as a backdrop for its ad.
Maybe Time could have let the McCain campaign use one of its cover shots of Obama with a halo enveloping him.
Or maybe McCain could have used the picture of the Obamas with their two daughters that ran on the cover of People.
Why not Jim Johnson??? Maybe because no one has suggested that Jim Johnson is advising the Obama campaign. Helping to pick a Vice-Presidential candidate is not more significant than providing policy advice. Johnson’s only role was to look for skeletons in the closet.
Further, Johnson was not an official at Fannie Mae during the time that the fraud perpetrated by Raines was ongoing — he left Fannie Mae in 1998 – nor was Johnson there when Fannie Mae was raining bribe money on Obama.
Hey, were just making accusations here, not stating facts. Right, Karen?
Or maybe Time and Tumulty have come around to the view that the Washington Post is not an acceptable source of information.
Here is what the Washington Post said:
In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae‘s chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case‘s D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.
Maybe the reason for Tumulty’s hit piece is this, also from the Washington Post article:
Raines settled charges brought by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight by agreeing this spring to pay $2 million and forfeiting $22.7 million in stock and other benefits. And though none of it will come out of his pocket — the payment was covered by insurance — he has not emerged unscathed. He and his wife of more than 25 years, Wendy, are separated. Their house, a 1910 colonial in Northwest Washington, is for sale. An old friend, former Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons, describes him as being “in strong recovery mode.”
So former Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons is an old friend of Raines? Maybe that’s why Tumulty is so quick to his defense.
You know what? Richard Parsons is also black. Maybe its just a racial thing — all the black guys sticking together, and they’re just fronting Karen Tumulty to make it look like an elderly white women is offended by McCain’s race-baiting tactics.
Again, we’re just spitballing this. No facts necessary — right, Karen?
While posting the “outraged” reaction of the Obama campaign to this “racist ad” as an “outright lie,” Tumulty notes that Ben Smith over at Politico noted that Obama’s camp never denied the Washington Post‘s claim that Raines was an advisor when it first ran back in July.
Tumulty, in a final piece of snarky partisanship, states:
But that’s not really the point of the ad, is it?
This puts Time in the gunsights of this commenter. They can’t rule out-of-bounds the single hottest topic on the economy because of the fortuitous fact that both Obama and Raines are black.