It’s similar to the way you’d treat a toddler who kept his pull-ups dry during the night, but James Fallows and Jay Rosen are both lauding the efforts of mainstream press in calling the Romney/Ryan campaign lies for what they are. I don’t want to praise with faint damns: some of those pieces are very good, including this one by Ron Fournier that analyzes why and how Romney is playing the race card.
Please understand that Miller [Fournier’s interview subject] and working-class whites like him have reason to be angry and cynical. First, life is tough and getting tougher for the shrinking middle class, regardless of race. Second, as the National Journal reported in the story involving Miller a year ago, minorities are steadily pushing their way into the middle class, which was once the province of whites.
The shift was most pronounced over the past decade, when 1.7 million Latinos joined the middle class and 1.5 million whites fell out. […]
Working-class whites, in other words, are already more prosperous and secure than working-class minorities, but they’re less optimistic because they don’t believe they’re climbing anymore. They’re simply trying to hold on to what they’ve got, and see others grabbing at it.
Thanks to Romney, they see minorities grabbing at their way of life every day and all day in the inaccurate welfare ad. […]
I’m sick of the term “race card”–it is a far too reductive and savvy dismissal of a divisive and resentful tactic. But if use of that term is coupled with some discussion of the shrinking middle class, that’s a hell of a lot better than the usual discussion over who transgressed the status quo, which about as far as “race card” discussions ever get.
The Romney campaign is betting that reporters like Fournier and papers like the LA and NY Times, which are two other examples Fallows and Rosen use, aren’t going to make much of a dent in the general press’ inclination to just repeat Romney lies without interpretation. I still wouldn’t bet against that, but there are some encouraging signs.