Overthinking so you don't have to.
I was enraged over the weekend. The facts are these:
Incident No. 1
On Wednesday night, a 20-year old White woman volunteering for John McCain was robbed by a Black man. After the Black man saw her McCain bumper sticker, he carved the capital letter “B,” allegedly for “Barack Obama,” into her cheek.
Incident No. 2
The Saturday before last, a 58-year old Japanese American woman was canvassing Caledonia, Wisconsin for the Obama campaign. A 71-year old White Marine veteran grabbed her by the neck and pounded her head, accusing her of being a part of the Acorns.
Incident No. 1 is the tale of Ashley Todd from College Station, Texas.
Incident No. 2 is the tale of Nancy Takehara from Chicago.
You’ve probably never heard of Incident No. 2, while Ashley Todd’s face, the face of Incident No. 1, has been blasted all over the mainstream media and political blogosphere.
Incident No. 2 has been verified numerous times by the media.
Incident No. 1 was fabricated by Todd, who reportedly has a history of mental problems and is now facing $50,000 in bail for filing a false police report.
“She said she has prior mental problems and doesn’t know how the backward letter ‘B’ got on her face.” (Well, we’ll tell you how that backwards “B” got on her face: she cut herself while looking in the mirror and is such a stupid twat that she didn’t realize mirrors reverse images. Good job, DumbAsh!)” – DisgrAsian
I don’t think I need to go into how despicable this fabrication of party-smearing lies is. It complicates the issue more that Todd has mental issues. That Todd claimed she did not know how the backward letter B got scratched on her face makes me think “This woman is seriously disturbed” more than “This Republican needs to have her right to vote taken away.” My heart went out to her when I first read about her story.
What aggravates me is that the “media elite” did not pick up on Takehara’s story. I didn’t hear about it until after looking at Todd’s bloated face and being duped into thinking “Whoever attacked her needs to be locked up.” At the end of these four days of Todd attention, DisgrAsian unearthed Todd’s lie for me, and only from there did I find any sort of reference to a politically fueled attack on an Obama supporter. Takehara’s incident took place half a week before Todd’s idea to lie came to her in the car.
One could argue that the media is trying to keep Democratic and Republican coverage balanced, and that while it’s easy to slam everything McCain, they really have to jump at the chance to portray Obama in a dark light. I think the real issue is that Nancy Takehara is not White, and intentional or not, this unbalanced journalism is a manifestation of the most prevalent form of racism in the U.S. today – the lack of recognition, portrayal, acknowledgment, and exposure to issues concerning minorities.
In essence, the stories of these two attacks are the same. Women volunteering for their respective parties were attacked by men from opposing parties. That’s simple enough. Wouldn’t they both be great to juxtapose next to each other on a front page some place? You could do some really classy McCain vs. Obama layouts with that. So why didn’t Takehara get any attention for being smacked around by 71-year old Ronald Goetsch? Ronald Goetsch is real. Todd’s attacker was …herself.
For the sake of argument, let’s look at the layers that make one news story juicier than the other. Both women were volunteers, and since they’re both female volunteers, you know that’s going to tug at someone’s heart strings. Both women were attacked by men while they were in the midst of their volunteering duties. Again, playing the angel card. Both women were attacked by disgruntled members of the other party – That is just so juicy right now you’d be a complete idiot of a journalist if you didn’t send it up the pipe as soon as you heard. Todd is a 20-year old college student, the poor dear! Playing the youthful academic angel card here. Takehara is 51, nearly the same age as my mother! Playing the innocent mother angel card here.
So both women are women, both are volunteers, both were brutally attacked (allegedly, anyway), and both belong to age groups that make them seem like really responsible citizens undeserving of such hateful treatment. Let’s give the media the benefit of the doubt, that two underling reporters tried to get Todd’s and Takehara’s stories prominent placement in CNN’s news bureau. Todd’s story rose. Takehara’s got lost in the ether. Why? Did one smell fishier than the other? Did CNN recognize the lie when they saw it, and were the editors just savvy in picking the story that they knew would be drawn out in a “the innocent is a liar” moment?
I am very thoughtful when I pull the race card. Quite frankly I think it’s often overdone and ignored for its misuse. In this case of Todd versus Takehara, though, I simply can’t come up with a better explanation for why a group of editors might have failed to see the significance in one of two nearly identical stories. I’m not blaming the editors for outright bigotry. Who knows if they ever heard of Nancy Takehara? I am, however, accusing the overall world of American media of persisting such internalized values as White being more innocent than Yellow or Black strangers being more frightening than White Marine vets. The media’s fault lies deep within the mindset that no works need to take place in order for multicultural progress to be made. What kind of work could the media do to amend their mistake? I don’t know, maybe they could pay attention to us?
I am absolutely not surprised that I didn’t know who Takehara was until yesterday. And for that, I feel an even more intense sense of shame for all that we try to preserve with free speech and trusting “reliable” sources. For anyone who has a better reason why these two stories aren’t both worthy of media attention, I would absolutely love to hear it. Comment away.