For more than three decades (from 1976 to 2009), legendary American radio newsman Paul Harvey used to have a feature called “The Rest of the Story” in which he’d present short stories on every manner of subject, with one key element left out—usually the well-known name of the person at the center of the usually unknown story. He’d almost always wrap it up by revealing the person’s identity and saying, “And now you know. . . the rest of the story.“
I used to enjoy listening to his bits, usually broadcast during drive-time, and trying to guess who the story was about before he revealed it.
Danish journalism seems to have been channeling Paul Harvey this week.
Last Sunday DR broke the news (in Denmark) that Dilbert’s creator, Scott Adams, was in trouble.
It was enough of a story that they assigned it to a journalist (Anna Danielsen Gille) rather than running with wire service copy, but it wasn’t enough to warrant more than five sentences—each of which posed as its own independent paragraph. Even then, it’s not clear it wasn’t just a translation and rewording of an English language wire service story from Reuters, which is mentioned twice in those five paragraphs.
The article is entitled “Major US newspapers drop popular backpage comic strip after accusations of racism.”
The office satire comic strip “Dilbert” will no longer be found on the back pages of major American newspapers such as The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.
Several newspapers have dropped publication after the creator behind it, Scott Adams, made what have been called racist statements, according to Reuters.
“Cartoonist Scott Adams made clearly racist statements on YouTube on February 22—offensive comments that The Times does not allow,” The Los Angeles Times writes on its website.
According to Reuters, Adams has called black Americans a “hate group” and said white Americans should “seek to get far away from black people.”
The comments came in connection with a poll in which black voters in the United States were asked whether they agree with the statement “it’s okay to be white.”
That is some quality journalisming.
The article is about a popular comic strip being dropped from big newspapers because the newspapers were offended by some things the artist behind the strip had said. The newspapers—not the newspapers themselves, obviously, but the people running them—believed his comments to be “clearly racist” and therefore more “offensive” than they allow.
The article provides two examples: He “called black Americans a ‘hate group'” and said white Americans should “get the hell away” from black people. (I’m providing his actual words as reported elsewhere: this article cites him (in Danish) as having said they should “try to get far away from black people.”)
The article then says he made the comments in reaction to a poll, but they neglect to say what the poll results were (and imply that the poll was exclusively of black Americans, which it was not).
I wouldn’t say they buried the lede, but they certainly buried something pretty damn significant.
Specifically, they buried the results of the survey, which have a very significant relevance to the nature of Adams’s comments.
If I were to say “Joe Shlabotnik is a bastard and I want nothing to do with him,” you’d certainly be right to observe that I had said some pretty harsh things about poor ole Joe Shlabotnik.
Would you feel the same way if you were told that I was only reacting to Joe Shlabotnik having said he didn’t think it was ok for me to be me?
Because the results of the survey that DR mentions showed that just under half of black Americans were unable to agree with the statement: “It’s ok to be white.”
That’s a stunning and horrible finding.
At least as bad, and maybe even worse: almost 20% of white Americans felt the same. Think of it: one in five white Americans doesn’t think it’s okay to have the skin color they were born with.
I already said stunning and horrible, but allow me to add terrifying and ominous.
None of this is okay.
Oddly enough, Rasmussen promoted the results of their survey with an upbeat headline:
Not “Woke” yet? Most voters reject anti-white beliefs
Yes: great news everyone! Only about one in five white Americans and just under half of black Americans don’t think it’s ok to be white.
The Rasmussen article is behind a paywall, but if you’re all paid up with them you can find it here.
For the rest of us, Rasmussen was kind enough to tweet out the cross-tabs of their survey.
Participants were asked “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: ‘It’s OK to be white.”
They were given five options: strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, or not sure.
The color of your skin is not a lifestyle choice. It’s an immutable characteristic. It’s how you’re born and how you’ll always be until the day you die. That’s exactly why racism is so pernicious. Judging people by a characteristic over which they themselves have no influence or control is a moral evil.
With that in mind, it seems to me that the only appropriate answer from anyone would be to say they strongly agree that it’s okay for white people to be white people, since white people don’t have any alternative.
But only 58% of Americans strongly agreed that it was “ok” to be white. Add in the 14% who only somewhat agreed, and you’re still only up to 72%. That’s fewer than three in four Americans (of every color and sex and age and party) willing to acknowledge to a pollster that having white skin is ok.
To save you some time, here are Rasmussen’s slicings and dicings on the groups that couldn’t bring themselves to agree that it was “ok to be white.” For each group, I’ll give the sum of respondents who strongly disagreed, somewhat disagreed, or weren’t sure, followed in parentheses by the percentage of those who strongly disagreed.
Americans Who Don’t Agree That “It’s OK to be white”
- Men: 27% (6%)
- Women: 30% (6%)
- White: 20% (2%)
- Black: 47% (18%)
- Other race: 41% (10%)
- Democrat: 32% (8%)
- Republican: 16% (3%)
- Other party: 25% (6%)
- 18-39 year olds: 26% (9%)
- 40-64 year olds: 18% (4%)
- 65+ year olds: 24% (4%)
- Men under 40 years: 28% (4%)
- Men 40+ years: 26% (6%)
- Women under 40 years: 30% (7%)
- Women 40+ years: 31% (6%)
(Respondents were also asked whether they agreed with the statement “Black people can be racist, too,” and those results are also quite interesting but irrelevant here.)
Those numbers are simply devastating. They’re so awful that I find myself unwilling to accept them. I’m grasping at straws: maybe people interpreted the question weirdly. Maybe the 1000 Americans surveyed were just a weirdly outlying bunch of people. Maybe the survey takers used tricks of intonation or delivery to make the question sound like it meant something other than “is it okay for white people to exist?” Maybe Rasmussen went rogue and made the whole thing up.
But my interpretation doesn’t really matter. The methodology doesn’t matter. What matters is that Scott Adams looked at those results, those numbers, and said, “Holy crap, I’m a white person and barely half of black Americans think it’s okay for people with white skin to exist!”
I’m not saying that makes him right or wrong, or that his response was or wasn’t racist. I’m saying that the results were damn sure relevant to his response.
I’m also saying that to characterize these findings with a chirpy headline like “Good news guys, Americans aren’t as woke as you think!” goes beyond anything Voltaire or Swift could have dreamed up in a dozen lifetimes.
“New finding! Most Nazis didn’t actually want to kill all Jews!”
Woo-hoo! Where are the champagne and confetti?
In a nice contrast to DR, Berlingske covered the affair, a day later, with a bit more detail.
American newspapers drop popular cartoon after comment about blacks
Henrik Dannemand, Berlingske.dk, February 27
Here’s the relevant passage of Berlingske’s much longer article:
On Wednesday last week, Adams, who likes to use satire and sarcasm as a form of expression, commented in his show on YouTube on a survey that shows that 26 percent of black respondents disagree with the statement “it’s ok to be white,” while another 21 percent will neither answer affirmatively nor negatively to the statement. 53 percent agreed with the statement.
In the video, the cartoonist describes black Americans as a hate group and advises people to get the hell away from black people.
“If almost half of all black people—according to this study, not according to me—are not ok with white people, then it is a hate group,” said Scott Adams, among other things, according to CNN.
That strikes me as a much more appropriate way to report the story, but both articles strike me as wildly inappropriate.
These are genuinely gruesome findings and although they might conceivably be interpreted by a chronic optimist as suggesting that “most” Americans reject anti-white beliefs, it’s simply staggering that so many Americans are unable to agree that it’s ok to be white.
I hope and pray this survey was deeply flawed, and I hope and pray that everyone who sees those results is hoping and praying the same.
But getting back to our main thread: yes, there’s some human interest in the story of the creator of a popular comic being canceled so abruptly, but it’s small potatoes—it’s no potatoes at all—compared to the thing he was reacting to.
And that thing was. . . the rest of the story.
Will the Danish media dig into that? Will they find or even commission a survey to test those findings and perhaps contradict them? Will anyone?
More to the point: will anyone look into what might be driving those numbers?