The High-Tech Lynch Mob

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Conor Friedersdorf takes us down the rabbit-hole:


Assume the mindset of a Rush Limbaugh listener. You like Herman Cain. For weeks, you've heard on the radio about how he's a successful businessman, how unlike liberals he hates it when people play the race card. Last you heard the show, Rush was explaining how the liberal media is targeting him because he's black. Another hi-tech lynching, just like Clarence Thomas, is the explanation you got. 

The next day you're on the web. Cain himself says that although he can't prove it, racism probably played a role in whoever spread these stories about him. Damn those dirty liberals, you think. Of course, you might not vote for Cain. You're undecided. You like that Rick Perry too. Like that he is the governor of Texas, that he has experience creating jobs. You couldn't believe it when the liberal media accused him of being racist just for hunting near a rock with a racial epithet on it. Just as long as Mitt Romney doesn't win the nomination, you think, or that RINO Jon Huntsman. 

But what's this? Herman Cain says Rick Perry is behind the sexual harassment story? Wait a second. So Cain thinks the story was motivated by racism, and that Perry is the one who leaked it? Is Cain calling Perry a racist? That's something a liberal would do. Or did Perry leak the story? That's something you'd expect from a no good liberal too. Who is to be believed anymore?

Again, when you basically understand racism as nothing more than a political slur, you don't give much thought to the logic.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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