Do a search for “Larry Elder” and gorilla on the CNN website and nothing comes up. Washington Post? Zilch. Nothing comes up on The New York Times site either, although if you make it to the 15th paragraph of a story titled “The Vice President pushed back against the effort to recall Newsom in the Bay Area,” you will find a bland passing reference to Wednesday’s disgusting incident.
According to our nation’s media leaders, it’s not a story that a white person wearing a gorilla mask attacked Larry Elder, a black man seeking to become the first non-white governor of California, by hurling an egg that touched his head.
If Elder were a Democrat, the attack would have been instantly and with good reason dubbed racist. It would not only be front-page news, it would be just about the only news you were hearing about today on CNN and MSNBC. Charles Blow, Perry Bacon and Jamelle Bouie would each be writing the first in a series of angry columns about it. So would Gail Collins, Jonathan Capehart, Jennifer Rubin, Michelle Goldberg, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Dana Milbank and Ezra Klein.
We would be treated to multiple news analyses about the history of the usage of gorilla tropes against blacks. Joy-Ann Reid, along with token politico mo's, Rachel Madcow and Don Lemming and Andy Cooper, would be doing hour-long broadcasts on the attack, convening panels discussing just how the attack pulls the scab off racism in America, and proves we have so much work left to do in dealing with the problem. Vox would commission a series about California’s grim history of racism dating back to the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Asian-American and Latino writers would hasten to explain that California’s historic hostility to all sorts of persons of color is as traditional as its Tournament of Roses parade.
Three-thousand-word essays about the brutal, unknown history of lynchings in the Golden State would be published in The Atlantic and/or The New Yorker. Al Sharpton, exhibiting a combination of exhaustion and despondency, would be a guest on half a dozen cable TV shows.
The woman who threw the egg at Elder would find her picture, her name, and everything she’d ever said on social media scrutinized at great length and on the home pages of the leading news sites. Her appearance would be mocked by late-night comedians. Dozens of reporters would be sent out to learn this woman’s story, to check out where she lived, where she worked, and where she went to school.