Here's the thing: If your speech follows that arc, and you're someone conservatives don't like, they'll edit out the part where you talk about moving forward in a positive way. They'll take the part where you talk about racism, isolate that, and feed it to a white conservative media audience that's always eager to feel that those damn black people never stop complaining.
This is what happened to Shirley Sherrod -- but in her case, the omitted part of the speech wasn't available to the public at first. Once it was available, it was clear that Andrew Breitbart had grotesquely distorted Sherrod's views toward white people (which, of course, didn't prevent her from losing her job in the Obama administration).
But the right can play this game even when a speech is available to the public in full. You can read the full transcript of the commencement address Michelle Obama delivered at Tuskegee University on Saturday by going to WhiteHouse.gov. You can read about the speech at any number of news sources.
But chances are you haven't -- so Fox is here to tell you what Michelle Obama said, in carefully edited form. Watch the opening of this clip:
Here's what you see the First Lady saying:
We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives -- the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the “help” -- and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.Cut to Sean Hannity and an outraged panel (in this case, of three black conservatives and one black Obama defender). No other part of the speech is going to be quoted. You're not going to be told that the First Lady went on to say:
And I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day -- those nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds....
But, graduates, today, I want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. (Applause.) Not an excuse. They are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.You're not going to be told this:
But here’s the thing -- our history provides us with a better story, a better blueprint for how we can win. It teaches us that when we pull ourselves out of those lowest emotional depths, and we channel our frustrations into studying and organizing and banding together -- then we can build ourselves and our communities up. We can take on those deep-rooted problems, and together -- together -- we can overcome anything that stands in our way.
During her speech, Obama talked about Tuskegee’s rich history, one of the top black universities in the US and the training place of the US’s first World War II African American pilots. At the time, the Tuskegee Airmen faced institutionalized discrimination. Official Army reports described the black soldiers as “shiftless,” “childlike,” and “unmoral and untruthful.” Even as highly educated individuals, these men faced an upward battle within their own country....You're not going to be told this:
Yet, when given the opportunity to respond with resilience or a spirit of defeat, they persevered.
“Now, those Airmen could easily have let that experience clip their wings. But as you all know, instead of being defined by the discrimination and the doubts of those around them, they became one of the most successful pursuit squadrons in our military,” the first lady continued.
Obama described ... how the university's students in the 1800's made bricks by hand to construct campus buildings so future generations could study there.No, Fox doesn't want its viewers to know that any of that was in the speech. The out-of-context clip is played, and then there's this reaction from Hannity and his panel, as described by Ellen at NewsHounds:
HANNITY: My initial observation is… Barack Hussein Obama got elected by a majority of white America. Why is she so angry?I was shocked at that "monkey" description. But watch the clip above, between 2:16 and 2:24. The description is accurate.
MICHAEL MEYERS: Which racial ideologue do you know that’s not angry? She sounded like Hillary Clinton in that racial dialect. (He did an imitation that sounded like a monkey).
And this was just Hannity's first segment on the speech. It was followed by a segment with Ann Coulter:
“Yes, America does owe black America for slavery, for the Democratic policies of Jim Crow,” Coulter said. “I think we’ve -- we’re making it up now. When, you know, you’re getting admitted to Princeton when you can’t read, is that enough yet?”This, of course, is having the intended effect of raising conservative America's level of hatred for Michelle Obama. Little Green Footballs has collected some of the worst comments in a Breitbart thread about this speech:
It's unclear what Coulter's reference to Princeton was about. On Tuesday morning, another conservative commentator took to Fox News to say that the first lady, who graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, was the beneficiary of "affirmative action" by attending the former.
You might be African but you sure aren’t American.I'll stop there. This is what Fox and the rest of the right-wing media contribute to American society -- every day.
She is a HATE filled Negro, a true RACIST and anti-American.
How many times have people mistaken her for a tranny?
I did have a misperception...how did a Wookie become the FLOTUS? Later -- of course -- I was set straight, though it is easy to confuse a Sasquatch with George Luca’s fictional pilot of the Millienium Falcon.
I’ll be glad when monkey face is gone!