Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sykes commercial too much even for

right-wing group that plays on bigotry

It turns out that the vile commercial produced by Charlie Sykes, Mikel Holt, and Jim Gilles of WTMJ radio's production staff was too much even for the Coalition for America's Families.

The Coalition for America's Families is a group that will stop at almost nothing to try to damage Gov. Jim Doyle, as evidenced by television ad its ran last year, playing on anti-gay and anti-immigrant feelings to attack Doyle's budget. Many felt the anti-immigrant commercial was tinged with racism, while the other spot bashed gays.

Sykes, who has been running a free commercial comparing Doyle to segregationist Govs. Orville Faubus and George Wallace, proudly announced that the right-wing group was going to pay to run his commercial on three Milwaukee radio stations with primarily black audiences.

In fact, the Journal Sentinel reports, the group has recut and cleaned up the Sykes-Holt commercial to eliminate the references to Faubus and Wallace:
Holt said Wednesday that the Coalition for America's Families is now running an ad that uses the voices of parents instead of students and does not mention Faubus and Wallace. But it still includes the idea of Doyle standing in the schoolhouse door.
The commercial came under fire Wednesday from the NAACP and a large group of African-American leaders and activists. Holt, editor of the Milwaukee Community Journal, a black newspaper, tried to apply some spin and say that comparing Doyle to Faubus and Wallace wasn't calling him a racist:

Holt said he thought the ads were misunderstood.

We "never called Doyle a racist," he said. "All they said was that if he doesn't lift the cap, they will be thrown out of the program and it will have the chilling effect of his standing in the schoolhouse door. There was no maliciousness involved."
The problem wasn't that they were misunderstood. It's that they were understood perfectly.

Even the Coalition for America's Families, which sets the bar very low, decided this spot didn't measure up. That's saying something, when a group that has relied on bigotry in its previous ads thinks this one needs editing.

Columnist Eugene Kane on the controversial ads:
The news conference at the NAACP office on N. King Drive was an intriguing mix of race and politics. Unlike the usual scenario in which black activists blast white politicians for insensitivity on racial issues, this was a case of blacks objecting to the use of stark racial imagery from this nation's troubled past to slander a white Democratic governor with a good reputation among African-American voters...

The news conference was intended to demonstrate that many black voters aren't stupid enough to fall for an ad that exaggerates the school choice debate in such an unrealistic - and insulting - manner.

The Southern governors who stood in the door against black students were willing to do anything - no matter how extreme - to drive home their point of view.

Apparently, the school choice debate brings out that same kind of ugliness in some people.
A related question: Was the spot really the idea of the Coalition for America's Families to begin with? This Oct. 25 item from Sykes and a post from John Galt on the Coalition's website suggest that it was.

2 Comments:

At 12:12 PM, Blogger getitright said...

It's quite simple really.

Governor Doyle has been hostile to School Choice for the last 3 years. This is fact, try to change that perception, or the subject, as much as you might now, Xoff.

To this extent, he has been standing in the schoolhouse door, barring low income kids and their families of the knowledge they will be able to continue in the educational program of their choice, one that works for them and that has given them hope. As compared to the MPS system they have come out of, which has not benefitted them.

Governor's Faubus and Wallace: they too, stood in the schoolhouse door, barring black kids from an equal opportunity to an education in a segregated South.

I will be pedestrian and tiresomely obvious for you, since you don't get it: The obvious analogy: Doyle, Faubus, Wallace: all deny minority kids educational opportunities.

Where the analogy breaks off: Doyle is acting not out of racist motives, but out of fealty to a teacher's union rather than in the interests of low income and minority families and their kids. Faubus and Wallace: to support segregation and pander to racist whites rather than act in the intersts of black kids and their families.

How is that?

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Christopher Robin said...

My question is why isn't the NAACP fighting to expand the choice program? Do they really want the people they claim to be trying to defend to have the oppertunities choice provides?

Remember the choice program allows underprivilaged children the oppertunity to attend established private schools. Not just newly developed schools with no history.

What benefit would the NAACP realize by forcing children to attend MPS when it isn't addressing there needs? To me this doesn't seem to fit with their mission to promote colored people.

Hopefully someone can answer these questions. I have my theories but I wouldn't want to accuse the NAACP of having sinister motivations for preventing poor African-Americans from having options.

 

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