Color Blinded: Big Media and (White) Racism (OPINION)

(OPINION) The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO Columnist

In the race for a U.S. Senate seat in the Republican stronghold of South Carolina: Imagine the outrage and uproar in the national media if a white Republican were caught on a hidden recording saying this about black people:

“And let me tell you something. You oughta know who you’re dealing with, like, you gotta treat them like sh*t. That’s the only way they respect you.”

Indeed, a candidate did say those words—about white people. She is a black Democrat named Krystle Matthews, and she is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who also is black. She was recorded saying a string of anti-white things to an undercover sleuth for Project Veritas, the conservative video-sting operation.

The recording has so far received more than one million views --- so howizzit this story is almost nowhere in the national media? The New York Times and The Washington Post, which help set the agenda for the rest of media, have turned a blind eye. Type “Krystle Matthews” into the search box at the Times website, and you get an entry from 1980 about a college football player.  Do the same on the Post site and a string of recipes – by Becky Krystal – pops up.

The story broke on Twitter last week and got picked up by some news outlets, mostly right-leaning, but local reports noted only that Matthews had bashed “constituents.” When Veritas founder James O’Keefe spoke to a Republican group in Charleston, S.C. last week, he said local reporters had questioned him -- about “ambush journalism.” No one asked him about the rant itself.

Matthews, a state representative in South Carolina, won the Democratic primary and will run against Sen. Scott eight weeks from now. Here’s what she says on the audio tape:

“My district is heavily Republican, and it’s heavily white. I’m no stranger to white people, I come from a mostly white town. And let me tell you one thing. You oughta know who you’re dealing with, like, you gotta treat them like sh*t. That’s the only way they respect you. I keep them right here, like, under my thumbs… otherwise they get outta control, like kids.”

Her words are condescending and anti-white, and Matthews should have known better. She already was stung once by Project Veritas, which released video in June of her call with a prison inmate, discussing blatantly illegal fundraising tactics to tap drug dealers for campaign donations – “dope boy money,” as she put it. A month later, Matthews won the Democratic nomination to run against Sen. Scott in the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina.

Even Democrats are calling for her to resign from the state House and drop out of the race. Matthews is having none of it.

On Sept. 8, a day after the video surfaced, Matthews doubled down and insisted she was referring to MAGA Republicans. She issued a statement – recounted here verbatim, including capitalization -- saying she told the Veritas journalist “to treat these MAGA Republicans like SH**.” “I SAID WHAT I SAID! Play the whole tape ‘PROJECT VERITAS,’ so the people will know who I was referring to.”

Cue to the White House. During his now-infamous Sept. 1 Philadelphia speech, President Biden argued that Trump and his supporters are a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.” Reporters, alas, largely embraced the message.

Matthews has since pivoted, saying the audio recording was edited to make her sound racist; she now claims she was talking about people in the legislature.

Press hounds of the national media respond rabidly to claims of whites behaving in racist ways against people of color, usually without question.  See the actor Jussie Smollett (who hired two black men to fake a MAGA attack on himself), and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace (who found a “noose” in his garage at the Talladega Superspeedway; 15 FBI agents discovered it was a garage-door handle that had been there for months).

In both cases, the initial charges of racism received wall-to-wall coverage by national media. And when those charges turned out to be not so much? Crickets.

Why: The initial stories fit the narrative stoked by Democrats and their media allies, and the reality contradicted it. Reporters openly embrace the idea that systemic racism reigns, and that blacks never can get ahead. Tacitly, they also embrace a corollary: blacks and Latinos are incapable of being racist against whites because whites are in control and minorities are powerless.

That view, held by some white liberals, is itself racist and condescending to the minorities they say they want to help. Hatred is hatred no matter who spews it, and the media should start covering it that way.

Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business.