Tag Archives: Dan Rather

Dan Rather’s take On Donald Trump’s 2nd Amendment/ Hillary Clinton Comments

No trying-to-be objective and fair journalist, no citizen who cares about the country and its future can ignore what Donald Trump said today. When he suggested that “The Second Amendment People” can stop Hillary Clinton he crossed a line with dangerous potential. By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?
Candidate Trump will undoubtably issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss it over, but once the words are out there they cannot be taken back. That is what inciting violence means.
To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.
This cannot be treated as just another outrageous moment in the campaign. We will see whether major newscasts explain how grave and unprecedented this is and whether the headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers do it justice. We will soon know whether anyone who has publicly supported Trump explains how they can continue to do.
We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today’s discouraging development the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet Abraham Lincoln for perspective:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address. It was the eve of the Civil War and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot let that happen again.
Hillary Clinton.

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Dan Rather Clarifies His Watermelon Remark

 I grew up watching Dan Rather and I always liked him so when he made the remark that President Obama could not sell watermelons I was disappointed in his choice of words. I was not ready to say he was racist because he did not have a history of making racially charged statements. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Some will write me and say why don’t you do this for everyone. I do it for those who do not have a trail of this kind of language. So here is a portion of Dan Rather’s explanation in his own words:

I was talking about Obama and health care and I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It’s an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment. I’m sorry people took offense. But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind.

Reporting on the injustices of race was part of the reason I became a reporter. I grew up in segregated Texas on the same side of the tracks as the African American community. At the time, enlightened people called them Negros. Many people called them much worse. When I covered the Civil Rights movement, I saw sheer hatred in ways that still haunt and shock me.

For doing my small part in reporting on the South in the 1960s, I was called a traitor to my roots and other names not fit for print. I was threatened with death by people who would have welcomed me to their church on Sunday on account of my white skin if they didn’t know what I was there to do. I do not take this issue lightly. I can understand why someone who just happened upon my comments could take offense or want clarification.

But what has caused this comment to “go viral” is the trumpeting of an online and cable echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo. Furthermore, even for those who brook no prejudice, when everything is condensed to 140 characters or a small YouTube clip, many people who got this “news” did so without any context, just a headline that popped up on their phone or inbox.

I know that there are many people who are reading this who have preconceived notions about me. I am sure that the comments section will be filled with a gamut of First Amendment expressions. That is our precious right as Americans. Politics has always been part sport, and if my choice of language falls into the bloody heavyweight bout that has become life in Washington today, so be it. Chris’ show is a fun, freewheeling political talk show and I enjoy coming to Washington to participate.

Our republic has flourished because we as citizens can be provocative in our political discussions and challenge our leaders and our own assumptions. There is a time and place for this, but it can’t be allowed to dominate what we call news. What saddens me is what this experience has made all too clear. Much of what we call news, isn’t. Much of what we Tweet, or post, or chat away at under the guise of news, are distractions.”*

*Huffington Post 3/10/10

What did Dan Rather mean when he said the President couldn’t sell watermelons?

Dan Rather while appearing on Chris Matthews program said the president was having trouble selling his message. He could have said he couldn’t sell ice cream on a hot day or he couldn’t sell fans on a hot day, but what he said was he couldn’t sell watermelons. Why watermelons? Why would he choose this fruit to illustrate his point? Some will say oh please he did not mean anything by it, but just look at some of the images of black people with this particular fruit and tell me it was innocent. No I’m not calling Rather a racist but, I will just say this was an unfortunate analogy.