August 21, 2002

NPR Crapola on the McKinney...

NPR Crapola on the McKinney Defeat: I'm up late, reading horrific congressional testimony about various Saudi atrocities, and suddenly the morning NPR does a mini-story on Cynthia McKinney getting whupped yesterday, introducing her as someone "not afraid to speak her mind," beaten by an opponent who was "supported by whites and Republicans." Now, NPR laments, the black community fears it might have lost an "outspoken" leader. There was nothing about Mckinney's shameful embraces of disgraced Saudis. The overall picture painted was that of someone who was just too damned honest for modern politics. Good God. UPDATE: A reader points out in the comments that later reports were more balanced. The bit I heard was an extended headline/teaser, about 20-30 seconds, if my weary brain heard it correctly.

Posted by at August 21, 2002 03:09 AM

I liked her statement in her concession speech that she wouldn't help Republicans. After all she's done for them what more could they ask?

Posted by: Jack Tanner at August 21, 2002 05:13 AM

Another NPR moment, your tax dollars at work.

Posted by: Patrick Phillips at August 21, 2002 06:34 AM

You'll have tons of fun this morning, reading about the Saudis that are suing the U.S.

Posted by: Ken Basart at August 21, 2002 08:35 AM

The black community?! Blacks make up a bit more than half the voting population of the district. Majette won by 16 points with high turnout. Lots of Majette supporters had to be black -- as is, by the way, Majette herself.

Message to NPR: Just say no to lazy reporting.

Posted by: Greg Greene at August 21, 2002 09:18 AM

I searched to hear the story - only saw a report by Joshua Levs that was played on both "Morning Edition" and the "Tavis Smiley" show. This report very much emphasized McKinney's controversial comments from the year (trying to accept Saudi's money in September, accusing Bush of foreknowledge of the attacks). On the whole, it was a balanced story.

Link -

I don't know what you guys heard, but this one cut the mustard just fine.

Posted by: Ryan Luce at August 21, 2002 10:44 AM

As a republican, I will miss her very much. She made it so easy for someone else to win.

Posted by: Steven Adams at August 21, 2002 10:47 AM

Matt, she was describes by one article as a "vocal liberal." I posted to the effect that you were a vocal liberal, and that most real liberals would be appalled to be lumped into a category that included Cynthia McKinney.

Posted by: Bill Quick at August 21, 2002 11:00 AM

I agree that McKinney was an idiot and a typical backwater pol... but if you think she got voted out of office for any other reason than she wasn't Pro-Israel enough, you're dead wrong. Say all you want about what an idiot she was, you're right, and Majette sounds like she'll be a much better rep-- but the plain, cold facts are that if you are not sufficiently Pro-Israel enough in this country, and you are vulnerable, you will be taken down. It's happened many times to a variety of folks at all levels of the elected Government. It's a manipulation of the system and it's bad for democracy-- even if, ironically, in this case it leads to a better candidate.

Posted by: Terry at August 21, 2002 11:19 AM

In the same primary, Bob Barr also lost. So, two incumbents, both on the fringe, got clobbered by moderates.

A stampede to the center?

Posted by: Bob Morris at August 21, 2002 12:15 PM

Terry: "[I]f you are not sufficiently Pro-Israel enough in this country, and you are vulnerable, you will be taken down."

What's your point? If you're not sufficiently *anything*, you are vulnerable. I think that's how a representative democracy works.

Posted by: Greg at August 21, 2002 12:19 PM

Ryan -- There is a possibility that I missed some crucial words in the report (it was pretty late/early, and meesah was tired!), and thank you for going to look it up ... but I really don't think I did. What I heard was more of a headline/teaser than a full-blown story, something like 20-30 seconds.

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 21, 2002 12:38 PM

Actually, Barr was beaten by another conservative with whom he shared most everything, except Barr's ability to get the spotlight.

I watched Barr's performance during the second Waco hearings. Very impressive.

Barr has been a continual defender of civil liberties from the less rational parts of the War on Terrorism. I will miss him in the House.

Posted by: Clayton E. Cramer at August 21, 2002 12:40 PM

Great point. I am emailing your comments to NPR. I do not have any hope that it will have any effect. Those guys have an unbelievable arrogance when dealing with "little people" like us.

Posted by: John Swails at August 21, 2002 12:49 PM

Crap like this NPR debacle on McKinney are why I quit listening to NPR. Listen to the enemy in other ways.

Posted by: bill Jackson at August 21, 2002 01:00 PM

On the Barr/Linder election... Keep in mind that Bob Barr was running in a newly created district against John Linder because his old idstrict was gerrymandered out of existence by state democrats. Barr lost to a good man. But to lump his loss in the same breath as the repudiation of Cynthia McKinney is to do a disservice to the facts.

Posted by: Robert Lockett at August 21, 2002 01:02 PM

NPR = Not Particularly Relevant

Posted by: Chris at August 21, 2002 01:27 PM

What "debacle"? Matt has conceded he probably overstated the horror. I shudder to think where else but NPR people go for fair radio reporting. Rush? Paul Harvey? Mancow? And how much funding comes from CPB/tax dollars? Less than or more than 5 percent? (My guess is less, but I'm too lazy to find a citation.)

Posted by: J. Luke Seemann at August 21, 2002 01:41 PM

What Cynthia McKinney's advocacy on behalf of Arab terrorism did was prompt a surge of contributions from outside Georgia to Denise Majette. The way politics works these days, non-incumbent politicians in districts dominated by one party almost never find themselves able to finance a credible campaign, as the money from people seeking to buy access and influence flows to incumbents, who nearly always win. Majette was. If McKinney weren't so vocal an advocate of extreme Arab positions (which after all do nothing to benefit the voters in her district), Majette would not have been.

Two other factors led to McKinney's defeat. Affluent northern Dekalb Co. has a growing number of Republican voters, who in Georgia are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary. Reports in Atlanta media suggest many of them did just that, voting for Majette -- despite a last minute McKinney phone campaign that featured recorded messages warning Republicans that voting in the Democratic primary "without proper documentation" was illegal. The other factor was that McKinney's base in south Dekalb Co. did not turn out in large numbers. One reason might have been that while the McKinney camp was complaining about "Jews and Republicans" it didn't effectively connect either with Majette, a well-regarded though unexceptional local black judge who ran because McKinney had become a local embarrassment.

I guess the moral is that if you want to be a Congressional champion of Arab interests you'd better make sure that the voters in your district care about Arab interests.

Posted by: Joseph Britt at August 21, 2002 02:45 PM

Perhaps someone who knows something about election law can answer these questions for us:

1) Why aren't state laws that restrict "closed" primaries unconstitutional on 1st amendment freedom of association grounds? I think parties ought to be able to choose their candidates without the interference of cross-over voters (even if they were to choose nutjobs like McKinney).

2) Are political parties required to choose candidates through primaries? If state law requires primary elections to be open to cross-overs, then why don't the parties choose candidates by committee? Like a friend of mine put it, "We've got this perfectly good smoke-filled room, why have an election?"

In my view, if Georgia democrats in that particular district want to run someone as obviously unhinged as McKinney (although I don't think it's clear that that's the case--she very possibly would have lost a closed primary), then sane Republicans ought not be able to stop them.

Posted by: Greg at August 21, 2002 04:29 PM

Somewhere on the blogosphere, I think Glenn Reynolds' place, are stats on the contributions to McKinney and Majette. If I recall correctly, it was MacKinney who was getting a large percentage of out of state contributions not Majette although the reports hadn't caught up through August yet.

Posted by: Robin Roberts at August 21, 2002 08:27 PM

Linder is definitely not a moderate and his stance on the drug war is almost as bad as Barr's. However Linder is less likely to make an ass of himself the way Barr did. What seems to be buried in the coverage of this race is that Bob Barr defeated Bob Barr, primarily because he moved into what was mostly Linder's old district for egotistical reasons.

Posted by: Henry Hanks at August 21, 2002 09:12 PM

"I shudder to think where else but NPR people go for fair radio reporting. Rush? Paul Harvey? Mancow?"

For the umpteenth time, Limbaugh and Mancow (and Hannity and Boortz and Malloy, et al.) are commentators. Harvey is somewhere in between a reporter and commentator from what I gather. But just about every radio station on the planet carries radio news from CBS, ABC and others and from what I've heard they are less biased (which doesn't mean they aren't on occasion) than NPR and (at least in CBS and ABC's cases) thets.cgi?__mode=red&id=597">Henry Hanks at August 21, 2002 09:18 PM

It is clear Greg does not live in Georgia.

It is the intent of the Georgia Democrats, who have had the governorship and the state legislature in their hands since Reconstruction, to maintain control of the state by all means. This redistricting season, the Democrats used sophisticated computer analysis to create districts that would elect Democrats. Never mind that most of the districts are bizarre snaking things that cannot be said to represent a constituency. The idea is to minimize Republican voting strength.

Cynthia's district was carefully constructed to elect a Democrat. The only way a Republican has a voice in who represents them in Congress is to vote in the Democratic primary. If the Democrats nominated a nut job in that district, the nut job would win in November. I don't live in the 4th -- but if I did, I would make darn sure by any democratic means that it was not Cynthia that represented my interests in Congress.

Posted by: alonzo church at August 22, 2002 06:14 AM

"She (McKinney) was an outspoken critic of president Bush’s middle east policy and was defeated by another candidate who received large donations from out of state supporters of Israel."
- Peter Jennings, last night

Posted by: Henry Hanks at August 22, 2002 10:17 AM
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