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Thursday, March 31, 2022
MRC's Graham Otherizes SCOTUS Nominee By Using Just Her (Non-Mainstream) First Name
Topic: Media Research Center

A Feb. 26 post by Media Research Center executive Tim Graham sought to reinforce the right-wing narrative of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as a wild radical:

Naturally, the PBS NewsHour was delighted with President Biden's nomination of radical Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday night. David Brooks touted how Jackson brings “a new lived set of experiences. It can't help but have a humanizing aspect.” He put her in the mainstream….of the Democrats. That might be correct, but the Democrats are far to the left!

Interestingly, the headline of Graham's post simply referred to Jackson as "Ketanji," as if went by one name (she doesn't) and -- more importantly -- as if conservatives were trying to emphasize her out-of-the-mainstream first name as a way of "othering" her the way it tried do to Barack Obama.

Oddly, Graham appears to be a little sensitive to being accused of that. He defensively wrote in a Twitter post the next day:

For the record, I'm calling her Judge Ketanji because her first name is quite unique. If you think it's rude, and would prefer "Judge Jackson cause you're nasty," that's fine. But we're trying to get some attention here.

The MRC is a bit sensitive about this sort of thing, since it was very much fixated on Obama's middle name when it suited its right-wing agenda to do so -- but not so much when Obama himself used his middle name.Let's take a look back, shall we?

In 2008, the MRC rushed to the defense of right-wing radio host Bill Cunningham, who made a point of emphasizing "Hussein" in campaign appearances for then-GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Matthew Sheffield gave Cunningham space to laughably deny he was being Islamophobic by screeching "Hussein" at every opportunithy: ""I have nothing but respect for my Muslim brothers and sisters."And Brent Baker whined:

With cover from John McCain, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night condemned the “caustic” and “mocking” remarks of Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham who, on stage before an Ohio campaign appearance by McCain, dared to utter Barack Obama's middle name and call him “a hack” Chicago politician.

Brent Bozell mocked in a 2008 column how some people "flail with outrage when a conservative uses his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. It’s not a lie. It’s not a distortion. It’s his name." grumbled in another 2008 column: "If you want an angry media mob, you need merely spit out "Barack Hussein Obama" at a McCain rally and watch the Guardians of Social Taste bring out the torches and pitchforks."

Scott Whitlock complained in 2009 that a reporter in Dubai "seemed interested in eliciting praise from the students about Barack Obama's middle name." Whitlock huffed in another 2009 post:

"Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo reported live from Egypt on Wednesday and informed viewers that students at a university in Cairo are "given hope, just by the fact that a brown-skinned president named Barack Hussein Obama exists. " The news anchor, who was in the region to cover the President's speech on Thursday, provided a decidedly different tone than that of many journalists who avoided using Obama's middle name during the 2008 campaign.

Mike Bates obsessed a lot in 2009 over a clip of schoolchildren singing about Obama, writing in one post, "Last month it was school children merrily singing the praises of Barack Hussein Obama.  Mmm. Mmm.  Mm!  huffed in a another post: "It appears that at CBS News, as in much of the mainstream media, a conservative is anyone to the right of Barack Hussein Obama. Mmm. Mmm. Mm!"

In 2010, Brad Wilmouth complained about a TV panel that debated whether "electing a President whose middle name was 'Hussein' had 'opened a door to better relations with the Arab and Islamic world. Or has it opened a door to more xenophobic American negativity?'"

Dan Gainor wrote in a 2011 post: "When Barack Hussein Obama was born, the United States budget was a bit more than $94 billion and ran only a $3 billion deficit that year. Ah the good ol' days." In anbother 2011 post, Noel Sheppard noted "what Senator Barack Hussein Obama said five years ago."

Graham played whataboutism over right-wingers who insisted on using Obama's full name in a 2012 post: "what about liberals who make fun of the name 'Willard Mitt Romney'?"

Yes, Graham may be trying to "get some attention" by emphasizing Jackson's name, but is it the kind of attention he really wants, given that it's tghe same playbook he and his fellow right-wingers used against Obama a decade ago? Apparently so, because he used "Ketanji" as a stand-alone name in more posts:

Certainly, nobody can accuse Graham of having empathy for anyone he hates (well, is paid to hate) for not being a right-winger like he is.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT

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