Elites and the Media

From Talking Points Memo:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expected to see an African-American president in his lifetime — as long as the candidate abided by standards for blacks that are prescribed by “elites and the media,” he said in little-noticed remarks last month. And he suggested that Barack Obama fits the mold.

“I always knew that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media,” Thomas said last month at Duquesne Law School in remarks posted to YouTube Friday.

How is this a black issue? Hasn’t each and every previous president had to abide by standards set by elites and the media?

“Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart,” the justice said. “Pick anyone who’s decided not to go along with it — there’s a price to pay. So I always assumed it would be somebody that the media had to agree with.”

Again, how is that any different from keeping Dennis Kucinich, Dr Jill Stein and any remotely radical candidate out of the big televised debates? You could make a case for Ron Paul after he scandalized the crowd during some GOP debates, but his voting record isn’t as radical as his followers want to believe.

Which Prez hasn’t answered to elites and the media? You could make a case for FDR, who seems to have had as much personal authority as any chief executive, but who came from the elites and knew how to play the media.

Update20130503:

Adam Serwer at Mother Jones observes:

President Barack Obama was twice elected by a majority of the American electorate. Indeed, while there is some wisdom in Thomas’ remarks about race and social expectations, it’s virtually inevitable that any presidential candidate will seek to earn the approval of elites, both financial and in the media itself. Supreme Court justices, on the other hand, serve for life and are by design insulated from popular sentiment.

“There’s a great irony in that Thomas has his position because he was approved by elites in the Senate,” says Winkler, “while Obama owes his position to the voters.”

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