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September 12, 2005

Farrakhan’t

For some unknown reason, Majikthise appears to think this is OK:

Louis Farrakhan addressed a packed auditorium at Southern University in Baton Rouge this afternoon. The event was part of Farrakhan’s tour of regions recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
… Farrakhan spoke about the meaning of Katrina. He argued that the hurricane was divine punishment visited by God upon America. He said that God was punishing “wickedness in high places”: the stolen election of 2000, America’s shadowy role in 9/11, the PATRIOT act, the[y] trumped up Iraq war, and systemic racial oppression. Farrakahn [sic] also endorsed the theory that one of the New Orleans levees was preemptively dynamited to spare wealthy white suburbs at the expense of poorer black neighborhoods.
But why would God punish a racist American federal government by inflicting disproportionate suffering on black people? The reason, Farrakahn [sic] said, is that God sent Katrina to unite the black community. If the community unites in the face of this catastrophe, those who lost their lives will not have died in vain.

Hmm. Over here at the Party, we don’t much like folks who think catastrophes are the perfect opportunity to roll out their latest religious rant. We tend to group them with hate-groupies like Pat Robertson, Michael Marcavage, Dwight McKissic, and all the other “Christians” who are exploiting Katrina and preying on the South.

The sad thing is that Farrakhan did make some good points:

Farrakhan wants to lobby the Red Cross and FEMA for transparency. He wants to make sure that the black community is a powerful force within the reconstruction effort. Otherwise, New Orleans will be rebuilt by wealthy white developers who import their own highly paid workers to fill lucrative contracts. Farrakhan warned that if the black community didn’t band together and press their case, New Orleans’ the city’s black heritage would be expunged.

But, as usual, the good was obscured by the bad, the evil, and the plain insane. Farrakhan has for too long got a free pass on this kind of crap—a pass that nobody on the liberal side of the house should give him. He’s a religious bigot who has done nothing to help African Americans. If he delivers in New Orleans, it will be a first.

Oh, and Lindsay, you say in a comment on your own post that you’re “not endorsing Farrakhan’s views.” Sure doesn’t read that way—I can’t imagine you’d have reported the story this uncritically if it had been a Robertson gig.

Posted by Stephen at 12:11 AM in Humanity | Religion + cults | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Not sure what about my post is a "flat-out lie," or how I've put words in Lindsay's mouth

Excuse me?

For some unknown reason, Majikthise appears to think this is OK

If you had read Lindsay's report in, say, the Associated Press, would you have said, "For some reason, the AP seems to think this is OK"?

I will repost what I wrote in the comments section at Majikthise:

GaijinBiker, you (and DP [sorry, Stephen, should have used your name and not your blog name]) seem unable to distinguish between reporting an event that you witnessed first-hand versus commenting on an event that has already been reported in the media. The Farrakhan speech had not yet been reported in the media at the time Lindsay wrote this post, so, since she was making the first report, I think she felt some obligation to do straight reporting and refrain from commentary. I'm pretty sure she also felt that Farrakhan's words speak for themselves. It should be obvious to anyone who has followed this site at all that Lindsay does not endorse or approve of Farrakhan's statements, so I'd appreciate it if people would refrain from putting words in her mouth. Reporting what Farrakhan said in no way constitutes an endorsement.

-----

Again, while most of Lindsay's regular blog posts have been commentary, she is in Louisiana right now as a reporter. Not everything she files from the field is going to contain commentary. I understand that's a break from what traditionally goes on at Majikthise, but I would appreciate it if people would not leap to conclusions about lack of explicit condemnation = endorsement.

Posted by: Thad at September 12, 2005 3:51 PM

I can't see Lindsay giving Farrakhan's "this is God's punishment" line any sort of OK, and I didn't read it that way either.

And moreover, it's unfair to say that liberals have given Farrakhan a free pass. I do think that liberals have argued that marginalized and impoverished segments that are neglected and abandoned become potential recruiting grounds for fascists, but in that narrative, Farrakhan is (correctly) the fascist.

Posted by: Robin at September 12, 2005 1:38 PM

Well I figured I'd touch a nerve, and I obviously touched one of Thad's. Not sure what about my post is a "flat-out lie," or how I've put words in Lindsay's mouth, but we'll let that pass. And don't get me wrong: what Lindsay is doing down there to help out is great, and way more than I'm doing.
But as Edmund Burke once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing.” And in her post on Farrakhan, Lindsay does just that - in a way that (having read and enjoyed her blog for a lot longer than two days) there is no way she would have done had her subject been, say, Robertson. Part of the appeal of Majikthise is that it's judgmental: it calls the bullshit. In this case it didn't, and in my view - and I suspect those of other commenters - that felt a whole lot like tacit approval.

Posted by: Stephen Ayer at September 12, 2005 12:24 PM

For some unknown reason, Majikthise appears to think this is OK:

Oh, and Lindsay, you say in a comment on your own post that you’re “not endorsing Farrakhan’s views.” Sure doesn’t read that way—I can’t imagine you’d have reported the story this uncritically if it had been a Robertson gig.

Stephen, this blog post is a flat-out lie. I can assure you that Lindsay thinks Farrakhan's speech was completely awful. This would be obvious to anyone who's followed her blog for more than a couple of days.

But she is on the scene in Louisiana as a reporter, not just a commentator. Some of her entries from Louisiana are straight reporting of things that have not been picked up in the mainstream media, and this is one of them. To say that her lack of commentary in this post constitutes an endorsement is completely dishonest, and I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from putting words in Lindsay's mouth.

Posted by: Thad at September 12, 2005 1:42 AM