Dan Rather: Watermelons, Washington, and What We Call News Today

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bfgrn, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Dan Rather

    Host, Dan Rather Reports
    Posted: March 10, 2010 08:09 AM



    If you searched Twitter for "Dan Rather" over the past few days, you probably could guess why I feel the need to write this column.

    It started this past Sunday when I appeared on Chris Matthews' syndicated talk show.

    All this is the backdrop for what I said on the Matthews show. 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.

    Whole article...
     
  2. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    Of course Obama can not sell watermelons, his watermelon legislation was farmed out to Congress and if passed would have the price of watermelons trading near oil or gold.

    I don't even get me started about his fried chicken reform!
     
  3. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    You have a personality disorder...seek professional help...
     
  4. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    The professionals in psychology can't help me.

    They are nothing but shamans.

    So am I.

    The difference being I know it.
     
  5. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Ray Zalinsky: Good, you've pinpointed it. Step two is washing it out.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    I have no problem with the wash part, it is the dry cycle that seems to fuck me up.
     
  7. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    Maybe a different screen name would help...I'll start: Chronic ________.
     
  8. Xenophon
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    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

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    What's the frequency Kenneth?
     
  9. Bfgrn
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    Bfgrn Gold Member

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    William Tager

    William Tager (born November 9, 1947) is a Charlotte, North Carolina man who assaulted Dan Rather and later murdered Campbell Montgomery because of his belief that television networks were watching him and sending him signals.
     
  10. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    Like I said in my first post on the topic, we know he's not racist because he's a Lib, but does mentioning both watermelon AND fried chicken cross the line?
     

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