Quick Takes: Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Contributing to An Opportunistic Ignorance”

* Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the response of some in the media to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables.”

…what they [journalists] have yet to come to grips with is that Donald Trump is a democratic phenomenon, and that there are actual people – not trolls under a bridge – whom he, and his prejudices against Latinos, Muslims, and blacks, represent.

I do not believe that journalists are so powerful as to disabuse this group of their beliefs. But there is something to be said for not contributing to an opportunistic ignorance. For much of this campaign journalists have attacked Hillary Clinton for being evasive and avoiding hard questioning from their ranks. And then the second Clinton is forthright and says something revealing, she is attacked – not for the substance of what she’s said – but simply for having said it. This hypocrisy carries a chilling implicit message: Lie to me. Lie to the country. Lie to everyone. This weekend was not just another misanalysis, it was a shocking betrayal of the journalistic mission which should urge the revelation of truth as opposed to the propagation of hot takes, Washington jargon, and politics-speak…

The safe space for the act of being white endures today. This weekend, the media, an ostensibly great American institution, saw it challenged and – not for the first time – organized to preserve it. For speaking a truth, backed up by data, Clinton was accused of promoting bigotry. No. The true crime was endangering white consciousness. So it was when the president asserted that it was stupid to arrest a man for breaking into his own home. So it was when the president said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. And so it is when reformers suggest police not stop citizens on so flimsy a pretext as furtive movements. The need to be white is a sensitive matter – one which our institutions are inexorably and mindlessly bound to protect.

* I’d like to say “ditto” to this tweet.

* While we have been obsessing over foundations and baskets, some actual news happened. Like this, demonstrating what diplomacy can accomplish:

The United States and Russia agreed here Friday to the renewal of a cease-fire in Syria, to begin Monday with the cessation of all air and ground attacks by all parties, including the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

If the truce holds for seven consecutive days and humanitarian aid begins to flow unimpeded to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the United States and Russia will then establish a “Joint Implementation Center” to coordinate their intelligence and air attacks against agreed terrorist targets in Syria.

* There is also this news, demonstrating what President Obama can accomplish via executive authority.

Today the Obama Administration announced a proposed rule that would protect basic health care for more than 4 million people by once again making it clear that politically motivated efforts to block women from accessing care at Planned Parenthood and other providers violate federal law…

The proposed rule would reinforce existing protections in the Title X family planning program that prohibit states from excluding Planned Parenthood and other women’s health providers for reasons unrelated to their ability to provide critical Title X services effectively. The Obama Administration’s proposed rule makes it clear that it is against the law for states to prevent low-income women from accessing preventive health care through the Title X program at Planned Parenthood or other women’s health centers on the basis that they also provide abortion.

* One more bit of news, demonstrating what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can accomplish:

California and federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a combined $185 million on Thursday, alleging the bank’s employees illegally opened millions of unauthorized accounts for their customers in order to meet aggressive sales goals.

A staggering 5,300 employees at Wells Fargo were fired in connection with this behavior, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.

The San Francisco-based bank will pay $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created five years ago; $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles. It will also pay restitution to affected customers.

* Finally, in case you missed it, over the weekend Barbara Streisand did a remake of “Send in the Clowns” dedicated especially to you-know-who.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.