I find the somewhat silly controversy of MSNBC insinuating that Mitt Romney stole the phrase “Keep America American” from the second Ku Klux Klan interesting for a few reasons.
1. As is not infrequent for MSNBC’s liberal shows, this claim was sensationalist, particularly how it was presented. That said, is it inaccurate? It is unclear whether Romney has actually used the phrase and his campaign has not exactly denied it. Even if he has used it, it could be a coincidence. I have little respect for the Republican Clown Show, but even Republican operatives are not so tone deaf to steal a slogan from the KKK. I think. Maybe.
2. Even if it is a coincidence, doesn’t the fact that the Republican Party shares the same immigration policy as the Know-Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan deserve reporting? Immigrants die because of Republican policy. Human rights are violated because of Republican Party. The Republican Party race-baits into ensuring its place as the White Man’s Party. Is none of this allowed to be pointed out?
3. Even if he never said it, the idea that MSNBC was so irresponsible for saying this while right-wing media pushes a consistent narrative of Obama as a socialist and a Muslim says a whole lot about how the media works in 2011. Republicans can say quite literally anything they want about the president without any consequences, but if Democrats note that Romney may have used the same phrase as the KKK about an issue on which Romney shares a lot of similarities with past hate groups, they are vilified as destroying the public discourse.
Nothing about this is a bright shining moment for the media, but it does serve as an interesting lesson.