RALEIGH – Raspberries to Cash Michaels, editor of Raleigh’s The Carolinian newspaper and a local television commentator, for recently letting his usual genial but committed political liberalism turn into tiresome and sometimes ugly digs at his rhetorical foes.
I have known Cash for many years, and continue to read The Carolinian as an indispensable source of news, information, and opinion from and about the African-American community in the Triangle area. But in the past few months, Cash’s news stories in the newspaper have become increasingly opinionated, particularly when involving the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose nefarious past and race-baiting tactics deserve condemnation rather than the gushing praise they get in The Carolinian.
What has been particularly galling about the Carolinian’s stories, and about Michaels’ appearances on NBC 17’s Sunday morning program “At Issue” (with my Locke Foundation colleague Sherri Joyner), is his increasing tendency to taunt those with whom his disagrees. It is one thing to have some fun with a sparring partner – I do it all the time myself – but Cash doesn’t seem to be joking. Nor are the other panelists and guests laughing along.
Consider this opening passage from an item in his “Cash in the Apple” column of February 14, concerning complaints by some conservative media critics against the Fox television program “Boston Public:”
“REPTILES OF THE HUMAN RACE – That’s what I call conservatives, because these morons are so cold-blooded, and take so much pride not only in what they think, but that they can’t feel anything. Humanity to them is a weakness, not a gift from GOD.”
Michaels goes on to take the conservative critics of “Boston Public” to task, and actually makes a couple of reasonable points. But his concluding words are far from reasonable:
“So conservatives, take a hike . . . You need to come up for air, let your scales dry and your blood warm up. Reptiles.”
If this is meant to prompt a giggle, it is more likely to prompt an embarrassed grimace. Here’s hoping Cash will rejoin the world of light-hearted but cordial and respectful debate, rather than continuing his forays into the swamp of hate speech.