“Mixed Signals” Or Press Bias?

In an article typical of much commentary surrounding the administration’s struggle with itself over the Michigan affirmative action cases, the Washington Post, in an article by Associated Press writer Tom Raum, reports “GOP Sending Mixed Signals to Blacks.”

Really? Are the signals really mixed, or is the press thoughtlessly (to give them the benefit of the doubt) echoing the Democrats’ criticism? In fact, is there even more than one “signal”?

The criticism assumes that there is a conflict between Republicans wanting to be “inclusive,” to “reach out” to minorities, and their opposition to discrimination based on race.

When Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, says “You are seeing the two faces of the Republican Party in conflict with itself,” what he is saying is that there is a conflict between appealing to minorities and taking a principled stand against racial discrimination.

How sad.

UPDATE [1/15/03 11:55PM] – Now the ACLU chimes in, making the same point in a press release.

“The White House is again talking out of both sides of its mouth,” said LaShawn Warren, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “The President loves to opine about his ‘commitment to racial justice’ but, at practically every turn, he backs policies that contradict his stated convictions. His position spells disaster for racial equality in America.”

I shouldn’t be shocked any more by this Orwellian notion, pervasive among liberals these days, that a principled opposition to discriminating on the basis of race has come to be regarded as “disaster for racial equality.” But I am.

The ACLU also misses few opportunities to endorse the iniquitous ubiquitous non sequitur that I’ve often denounced (see here and here, for starters). Speaking of the University of Michigan,

the ACLU noted that the university also awards points if the applicant’s parents are alumni and if applicants come from the upper peninsula of the state, which is predominantly white, skewing the admissions system toward white — and often affluent — applicants. School officials are right to counterbalance this bias by considering race as a factor in admissions, the ACLU said.

At least they recognize that “counting race as a factor” is bias, but to the modern ACLU discriminating on the basis of race is no worse than discriminating on the basis of geography or legacy status. If any discrimination is O.K., all is O.K.

This press release does introduce one new assertion into the Michigan mix, however: it describes the University of Michigan as “a school with a long history of discrimination against minorities.”

Michigan lawyers: call your office! You may need to amend the record.

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