Times Hints Racism a Factor in Harold Ford's Failure

The Times seems to be bitter about not having everything go the Democrat's way last night, putting its usual racism spin on one of the GOP's few bright spots - Bob Corker's win over Harold Ford Jr. in the race for Senate in Tennessee.

Adam Nossiter's "Republican Hangs on to Frist's Senate Seat" opens: "Tennessee's open Senate seat stayed in Republican hands on Tuesday night after a campaign that drew national attention for its nastiness and for Democratic hopes that it would break a longstanding race barrier."

Nossiter blames racism in Tennessee: "In addition, Mr. Ford was trying to become the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.

"In the end, that barrier may have been too difficult to overcome in a state that is only 17 percent black, as some analysts suggested before the vote. As the scion of a politically influential family from Memphis, Mr. Ford was faced with overcoming the suspicions of rural whites skeptical about his race, his background and his city."

And this being the Times, the "racist" ad from the RNC gets play: "The first issue came to the fore in a television advertisement featuring a winking, bare-shouldered white woman intoning, 'Harold, call me.' Produced by the Republican National Committee and eventually disavowed by Mr. Corker, the commercial played on Mr. Ford's reputation as a man about town but also spoke to - or so critics charged - age-old white Southern fears of miscegenation."

Sixties-era lines like thatlead Times Watch to suspect Southern-based Times reporters don't know Southernersall thatwell.

Indeed, Nossiter doesn't seem to respect Southerners very much, judging from a statement he made toa New Orleans' weekly in 2001 while promoting a book: "Southerners are in general a good deal more myopic. There's very little shame, covert or otherwise, attached to revering the Confederacy - and this I obviously find scandalous. It has to do probably with deficiencies in education. People are ignorant of the facts, willfully or otherwise."

Nossiter concludes his post-election report with this snide remark about Corker's supporters: "Mr. Ford's upbringing proved an irresistible theme for Mr. Corker, who repeatedly invoked the background of the person his campaign referred to as 'the Washington congressman.' At a fund-raiser in a fashionable Nashville restaurant on Sunday night, Mr. Corker told the crowd, 'This is a choice between two individuals who could not have had more different life experiences, and could not have more different views of what makes this country safe and strong.'

"The crowd in the room packed with Corker supporters told its own story: It was almost entirely white."

In other words, it was just like the Ralph Nader rally Times Watch attended back in 2000.

By contrast, the Times barely noticed Maryland elected to the SenateBen Cardin over Maryland lieutenant governor and black Republican Michael Steele - the paper certainly made no hints of racism on the part of those voters south of the Mason-Dixon line.