drawn into the hvstcria. I he arson panic also meshed well withrnthe media’s last foray into creaHng national menaces, namely,rndie great miliha scare of the previous summer. During 1995,rnnewspapers and television news programs had triumphantlyrnhammered home the idea that all conscrvahve and “anh-government”rnactivists were more or less overtiv connected with ultra-rnright paramilitary groups. Onlv a week after the OklahomarnC^itv’ hombing, the ineff;ible Br)’ant Gumbel declared that thernattack “has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that’srnbeen coming from ftie right and those who cater to angry whiternmen.” (One of Gumbel’s more recent contribuhons to politicalrntheorv is his division of Americans into two camps: “liberals”rnand “racists.”) The church arson scare made die direat a stillrnmore palpable reality by linking conservatives or anti-Clintonitesrnto outright brutality against die poor and minorities.rn”You don’t believe in affirmative action? You think Clinton is arncrook? You support the Republican Congress? ‘i’hose arc justrnthe extremist ideas which are burning churches in Georgia toda.”rnIIoveer outrageous the linkage sounds, enough peoplernmay have bought it to swing elections in bodi 1996 and 1998.rn1 he media’s use of the non-ston- of church arsons would bernharrow ing enough if it were an isolated occurrence, but it is not,rnand many subscc|uent incidents have demonstrated die samerndegree of credulous stupidit)’, the same tendency to leap to assumptionsrnof white guilt and conservative malice, the samernhabit of presenting minorities as ever subject to threats of whiternviolence. The issue of affirmative action produces prize examplesrnof such bias, hi virtually every opinion poll, large majoritiesrnreject the ideas of preferential status or provisions for anyrnethnic group, and African-Americans are well representedrnamong opponents. This mav explain vh}’ the electronic mediarnin particular so often report the issue in terms which are not justrnloaded but ftioroughlv distorted, and which present the exactrnopposite of the truth, histead of “ending racial preferences,” diernheadlines report on conservative attempts to “end diversitv,”rn”reverse anti-discrimination policies,” “attack etjual opportunitv,”rnand so on: CNN is an egregious offender in this regard.rnSomewhere along the line, die media unc[uestioningly acceptedrnthe puzzling principle that “diversitv” is a .synonym for affirmativernaction, and diat ending die latter imperils die former:rnAdvocates of color-blind policies thus become “foes of diversity.”rnAlwavs finely attuned to white liberal sentiment, thernNAACP’s Kwcisi Mfume even argued that affirmative-actionrnpolicies needed to be augmented as an effective vvav’ ot stemmingrnthe tide of church burnings.rnNo wonder diat consumers of news believe tiiat anti-aftirmativc-rnaction policies are intended to purge minorities from ftiernfiicnltv or student bodies of colleges, or to begin a new era of segregation;rnnor is it surprising that students demonstrating in fav orrnof affirmative action wave placards asserting, “We won’t gornback.” I will pay them the compliment of believing that theirrnfears are cjuite genuine, that tiicy really believe that noftiing butrna Justice Dcpartincnt under liberal Democratic control preventsrndie rcintroduction of ]ini Crow, enforced by systematicrnlyncliing, arson, and anti-black violence. Such a nighhiiare v isionrnis so incxplieablv out of tune with reality, so pliauta,smagoric,rndiat it seems almost to derive from one of those realitv’-rndistorting concoctions wifti a puzzling acronym, like LSD orrnPCP. More probably, though, victims have been deceived by arnmore accessible form of pernicious mind candv, one vvidi initialsrnlike NPR, NYl’, or CNN.rnSn^ie^^/i/i f^l£m£fo//:>/i (J/II/J Comes to ChicagornJoin . . .rnThomas Fleming, Roger McGrath, Stephen Presser, Tom Roeser, E. Michael Jones, Harold O.J. Brown,rnand the rest of the “beerhall conservatives” o f the JRCrnfor a weekend of oratory, spirited debate, candor, wit, insight, and camaraderiernThe l l t h Annual Meeting ofrnTHE JOHN RANDOLPH CLUBrn”The Constitution:rnA Living Document, or a Dead One?”rn6 and 7 October 2000rnCHICAGO ATHLETIC ASSOCIATIONrn12 South Michigan AvenuernSpecial Saturday Night DebaternResolved: “A Right to Life Amendment” to the Constitutionrnis the solution to the abortion tragedyrnFor more information, visir www.rockfordinsriture.orgrnor call Aaron Wolf at (815) 964-5811,rnMAY 2000/1 5rnrnrn