Kos Now Citing Al Jazeera to Demonize Poor Americans

In his continuing effort to elevate the rhetoric in this political season, kos is relying on an election story produced by Al Jazeera to continue his admirable effort to demonize the people of the Appalachian region as racists.

Despite the overarching purpose of Kos’s site in the past few months, which is to attack Hillary Clinton at every possible opportunity, I’d like to imagine that we on the left might want to build a coalition of voters that can actually win an election in November. While it serves the purpose of attacking Clinton, does constantly asserting that the white voters of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky are racist help our electoral chances this fall? One might imagine that Democrats would be interested in re-energizing the working poor of this region, asking them to consider to stop voting against their own economic interests by offering them a hopeful vision, rather than repeating absurd stereotypes about them.

And I don’t mean to go all Bill O’Reilly here, but I think a fair amount of skepticism about Al Jazeera’s reporting about the United States is warranted. After all, Dave Marash, the respected journalist who recently quit Al-Jazeera cited a troublingly similar example of anti-American bias in the network’s reporting:

It got to the point where I feel that in a globe where Al Jazeera sets a very, very high reporting standard, and a very, very high standard for both numerical and qualitative and authentic staffing, that the United States was becoming a serious exception to their role, and a place where the journalism did not measure up to the standards that were set almost everywhere else by Al Jazeera English’s very fine reporting.

It was enough for them to show poor people living in wretched conditions in a prosperous American city and decry it. Then they went to South Carolina and found a town that—I know this is going to shock you, Brent—had very rich people and, on the other side of the railroad tracks, very poor people. And the wretchedness of the poor people’s living conditions was enumerated.

That’s essentially exactly what happened in this piece and in kos’s analysis: concluding from a tiny sample of people that Kentucky is entirely populated by racists who refused to vote for Barack Obama.

Finally, while comments certainly don’t define a blog, given the relentless nature of the race argument advanced on Daily Kos, it’s hard not see these comments as troubling signs of the divisive strategy to de-legitimize Clinton victories:

Scary video – after seeing this I can understand why Obama didn’t waste resources on this state. There are some people you’re never going to win over.

“I’m not a racist or nothin'” said the toothless woman in the video, “My bootstraps just keep slippin’ through my daggummed manwhichie fingers”.

Let’s leave the absurd leaps in logic and embarrassing stereotyping to the other side and focus on building coalitions to do what Democrats are supposed to do: help, not demonize, the poor.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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