Newsbusters' Whitlock still attacking Shuster, still not making sense

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock is rapidly emerging as a remarkably unimpressive media critic, even by the bottom-of-the-barrel standards of the Media Research Center.

Yesterday, Whitlock criticized MSNBC's David Shuster for asking whether the NRCC's reference to Charlie Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat" was "racially tinged." Whitlock cluelessly responded: "How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a 'Harlem Democrat?' Harlem is in his district" -- ignoring the obvious question of whether the NRCC routinely refers to Members of Congress by naming a town or neighborhood in their district, or whether it reserves such treatment for towns and neighborhoods that they think can be used as pejoratives.

Well, it turns out the NRCC doesn't regularly refer to members of Congress that way. In fact, an NRCC release that referred to Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat" didn't use that construct when discussing another New York City congressman, Michael McMahon, who was labeled a "New York Congressman" rather than a "Staten Island Congressman."

So David Shuster defended himself, and now Scott Whitlock is back, making a fool of himself once again. Whitlock completely ignores Shuster's point that the NRCC doesn't routinely refer to members of Congress this way -- just pretends it never happened. That's a pretty good indication that Whitlock secretly knows his argument doesn't hold much water. Then, hilariously, Whitlock complains that Shuster didn't rebuke his MSNBC colleague for doing "the same thing" the NRCC did:

Shuster, however, was silent on the fact that MSNBC reporter Luke Russert basically did the same thing. Appearing on the March 3 edition of the Ed Show, he commented on Democrats who wanted to strip the controversial Rangel of his chairmanship.

Russert explained that these politicians are in "conservative districts, who really saw problems back home in their rural districts in the mountains being associated with a Harlem Democrat who writes the nation's tax laws who a lot of folks say is not paying their taxes." Does this mean that Luke Russert is using "racially tinged" language? Will Shuster call on his colleague to apologize?

What's hilarious about that? Well, Russert didn't do "the same thing" the NRCC did. The NRCC repeatedly drew attention to Rangel's ties to Harlem. Russert, on the other hand, reported that some members of congress in conservative districts fear "being associated with a Harlem Democrat." Russert's reporting suggests that, to some people "Harlem" is a pejorative. Russert's report, in other words, reinforces Shuster's point -- that the NRCC appears to be using "Harlem" because it believes the word has negative connotations, at least to some people.

Stop digging, Whitlock.

MSNBC, NewsBusters
David Shuster, Luke Russert, Scott Whitlock
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