My friend Jason Mattera, Young America's Foundation spokesman and conservative gadfly, is never afraid to speak his mind. Even if you don't totally embrace his style, he's thoroughly entertaining and a really great, energetic guy. What he's not, however, is a racist. But that's exactly what New York Times reporter Kate Zernike concludedafter attending a CPAC panel discussion in which Mattera participated yesterday.
on the Times
' political blog that Mattera had "bashed Obama...in racial tones
See full video of the speech and read relevant quotes from the New York Times article here.
Anyone who meets Jason quickly becomes aware of the fact that he's from Brooklyn. His accent makes it hard to miss. Like many people, when he talks excitedly, the pitch of his voice goes up. This combination, Zernike concluded, constituted a "channeling" of Chris Rock
and an obvious case of racism. If Zernike had bothered to, oh I don't know, speak
to the person at whom she was hurling a provocative and damaging accusation, she may have noticed that Mattera happens to speak "like Chris Rock" all the time. With the slightest bit of effort, this New York Times
reporter may also have discovered that Rock also grew up....in Brooklyn. Maybe this New York
reporter may have put two and two together before dashing off her insulting and pathetic blog post.
Were Mattera's words about Obama's admitted drug use inflammatory? Absolutely. Objectionable or gratuitous? Perhaps. That's a separate quibble. But racism is the ultimate scarlet letter, as it should be — if accurate. Some on the Left continue to toss it about irresponsibly and unfairly for political purposes. It's disgraceful, and it must stop. If it doesn't, the charge will lose all meaning, thus allowing actual racists to shrug off the label and leading average Americans to tune out such discussions altogether.
Zernike and the Times
owe Mattera an apology.
This post was crossposted at National Review Online.