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Commentary

Flashback: Media Silent as Dem. & KKK Leader Sen. Robert Byrd Said 'Monkey Around'

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These days, it seems increasingly rare for the media to have high standards.

Double standards, however, sure appear to be everywhere.

The manufactured outrage over Florida Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis is a prime example. After the Florida candidate for governor used the term “monkey this up” to mean “mess this up” while talking about keeping his state on track, the left and the media went into a tailspin.

They quickly implied that the Republican was a bigot, all because his opponent happens to be black and the phrase “monkey this up” was a “racist dog whistle,” in the words of the state Democrat party chair.

While the mainstream media scrambled to condemn the use of the fairly common saying, cooler heads pointed out that liberals have used similar phrases for decades … and nobody seemed concerned.

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We already pointed out that Barack Obama, America’s first black president, used the words “monkeyed around” when talking about election tampering. Nobody thought it had anything remotely to do with race, probably because it didn’t.

Pundits quickly pulled out other examples. Over the weekend, Twitter user Rich Weinstein found this gem: Longtime Democrat Robert Byrd, speaking from the senate floor.

Do you believe there's a double standard within the media?

“It was alright to monkey around with Columbus Day,” the late senator said on video.

The media ignored it. Using “monkey with” and variations of that term was absolutely fine then, but is apparently magically racist when a Republican uses the common phrase. See how the game is played?

It’s worth pointing out that not only was Byrd a Democrat, he was close friends with the Clintons. Hillary Clinton called him “my close friend and mentor” when he passed away 2010. There were no hit pieces from the left wringing their hands over “racist dog whistles” then.

The double standard is even more apparent when you consider that Robert “Monkey With” Byrd once belonged to the Ku Klux Klan.

Democrats simply shrugged and gave Byrd a pass, even when he used the “N-word” during an interview in 2001.

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“There are white n—s. I’ve seen a lot of white n—s in my time; I’m going to use that word,” he boasted at the time.

Hey, remember just a month and a half ago, when Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter was disgraced and forced out of his own company for using the same word on a conference call … merely as an example of bad language and not directed at anybody?

Liberals seemed almost gleeful to collect another scalp after Schnatter was forced out, despite the context of his words making it pretty clear there was no racist intent behind it.

Byrd, a confirmed KKK leader who used the N-word casually, served as a Democratic senator for 51 years. Let that sink in.

Byrd is long buried and has presumably had to answer for his decisions to a much higher power than a snarky columnist on the internet. The point isn’t to tear apart one man, it’s to highlight the obvious hypocrisy found within the left and the media right now.

There is simply no denying that liberals and the mainstream media — increasingly one amorphous creature — have two different standards. One is used for Democrats and their allies, and the other is used for conservatives.

Both ends of the political spectrum say stupid things. Both parties have less-than-noble moments that reveal either prejudice or incompetence.

But saying “monkey this up” wasn’t one of them, and it’s time to stop playing the perpetual game of “gotcha” with which the media is so obsessed.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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