Any time Tiffany Cross opens her mouth to tell us something we need to pipe down and listen. She had some words on AM Joy yesterday about how the media continues to screw up coverage of Hair Fürer and obsess over the Trump voter. As if there was some mystery surrounding his appeal to them. As if there aren't blaring alarm sirens like Neo-Nazis marching in DC — this damn weekend.
As if somehow it's acceptable for the consumers of media to hear the Orange Twitler's rants about carnage in the streets, "shithole" countries, "bullshit" impeachment, and public threats to intimidate Congressional witnesses, yet NOT ACCEPTABLE for media to call what they're seeing racism, lies, propaganda, concentration camps at the border, fascism, dictatorship, and misogyny without being filtered through the network or possibly fired.
And this is just from our own side! How was it NOT acceptable for Speaker Pelosi to rip up those lies on national TV? How is it NOT okay to let white people know they need to be better and see this America for what it is? How has it EVER helped to swaddle the shallow racist thinker and say, "There, there, tell us how you FEEL. We just want to UNDERSTAND you better? What are YOUR anxieties?" while the one they voted for is empowered even further to imprison brown people coming to America begging for help, and investigate patriots for telling the truth?
CROSS: In my hood!
REID: Literally not far from where we do the show in D.C. That is happening now. That is like now a thing that happens. And yet one of the features of this reality show was to keep featuring Black people, to keep showing Tuskegee airmen and new his grandson who's going to go to space, and look at this little Black girl, something for the Black lady, something for the brown person, there was a lot of featuring of People of Color that was very deliberate.
CROSS: Yeah, it was deliberate, and what is disappointing is the attempt to normalize or understand this president after the State of the Union. We didn't have outrage about the Rush Limbaugh getting the Medal of Freedom. The press treated it like, "Oh, this happened also." And you had some people terribly misguided saying that the president is really trying to make inroads with Black and brown voices. Well, that's BS.
REID: There were Black folks in the media who said that.
CROSS: Exactly, which was very disheartening for me to hear. I won't call any names, but we know who we're talking about. And it's very disheartening.
CORN: Oh, come on! (laughing)
CROSS: But it was very disappointing to see that. You know, look, I would say that Black people should be probably the first point of reference when talking about white supremacy. It pains me every time I hear something like this and we saw the neo-Nazis marching down D.C. And then this chorus of people saying, "This is not who we are." This is absolutely who we are. This is America. And until we're willing to have an honest conversation about reconciling that, we'll keep having these challenges. And more and more (applause) thank you.
The more and more you see people who are continuously attempting to normalize and elevate -- look, I don't need to understand Trump's base to know who they are. I am a Black woman who grew up between Ohio and Georgia. I know very well who this base is. And this weird anthropological experience that the news media has with, "Let's understand them, let's dig deeper," I don't understand it. You are lending space to people who are racist, hateful people and trying to put a misnomer on it, as though these are voters.
Look, I think that -- lastly I'll say I did think that the Democrats will have to start to respond differently. There was a reason when Cardi B spoke with such righteous anger about the government shutdown, there was a reason that more people paid attention to her voice, and retweeted her, and shared her, and echoed her thoughts than they did with our legislators. You even had Chuck Schumer saying "Hey, are you going to retweet the Cardi B video?" Because she spoke with that righteous anger that so many of us feel. If I said a lot of things that I really think, it would get filtered through networks. We just can't say that. But you broadcast live, Donald Trump regurgitating the most hateful, heinous things, and WE have to filter our own voices? This is how democracies fall. We're seeing it in real time.
When was the last time you saw a reporter interview someone who voted for Hillary Clinton to see how they have been coping these long three years? How about a Kamala Harris supporter who looks at this blindingly white debate stage to see the glaring privilege and lack of progress it represents?
Laziness. White media is lazy. Find and follow Black and brown journalists and writers. The Root. The Grio. Joy Reid. Tiffany Cross. Elie Mystal. Ijeoma Oluo. Brittney Cooper. Damon Young. Mehdi Hassan. Maria Hinojosa. Maria Teresa Kumar. Anand Giriharadas.
They will tell you the truth. And if you are a white person torn between competing Black/brown points of view, always listen harder to the one that is challenging you the most, rather than the one that is telling you you're doing just fine. Always. Otherwise, as Tiffany Cross told us, "This is how democracies fall. We're seeing it in real time."