Pollak: The Media’s Racist Attacks on Larry Elder

Radio talk show host Larry Elder, center, poses for selfies with supporters during a campa
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Imagine this: a rich, white, middle-aged Republican man, who has spent most of his adult life in political office, faces a sudden challenge from a charismatic black Democratic opponent, who wants to be the first African American in the role.

At first, the Republican’s allies try to keep the black candidate off the ballot. But he sues in court, and wins.

As the polls tighten, mysterious stories are planted in the media. Columns appear in mainstream newspapers warning specifically that the challenger is black.

The government leaks that it is investigating the black candidate for a minor technicality on his campaign disclosure forms; the media report the investigation as if there are astonishing financial crimes to reveal.

And then, the kicker: a story of sex, drugs, and violence, accompanied by a photograph of the black candidate with a blonde white woman.

The white woman warns voters: this black man is frightening. He has a gun. He has a temper. He enjoys exotic sexual experiences. He has private demons he doesn’t talk about. There’s no telling what he might do.

Newspapers publish the story with a photo of the black Democrat, posing next to the vulnerable, blonde white woman.

Now flip the political parties, and you have exactly what the media, and the Democratic Party, are doing to Republican Larry Elder, the conservative talk show host who has a chance of replacing Gov. Gavin Newsom in the upcoming recall.

The attacks on Elder — in the Los Angeles Times, in Politico, and elsewhere — share the classic symbolism of mid-twentieth-century racial paranoia.

One columnist has referred to Elder, repeatedly, as the “black face of white supremacy.” He is incapable of thinking for himself; he is little more than a minstrel in “black face.” That columnist, Erika D. Smith, is African American herself, but is evidently willing to traffic in racist tropes as long as they help her partisan political cause.

The Politico article that reported the allegations made by Elder’s ex-fiancée, Alexandra Datig, failed to cite corroborating evidence, other than hinting ominously that Elder has a bad “attitude towards women” — a lie based on a few context-free quotes from decades of Elder’s broadcasting career.

In a subsequent interview, Datig’s allegations appeared to fall apart, and she was reduced to attacking Elder, 69, for his age.

Datig filed charges, 20 days before the election, based on events she claimed happened six or seven years ago. CNN and the Times dutifully reported that Elder is being investigated by police.

A black man, accused by a white woman, can never be given the benefit of the doubt — if he’s a Republican, that is.

The charges? Rejected. But the media got their racist headlines.

Elder doesn’t call this racism. He calls it “face-ism“: it’s him they don’t like, not because he’s black.

But I’ll call it what it is — what the establishment media would call it, if Larry Elder were a black Democrat, and Gavin Newsom were a rich, entitled Republican instead of a rich, entitled liberal.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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