NEW YORK — I don’t think I have ever written about the same subject twice in a row, but this week’s attacks against the wife of the new White House Communications Chief Bill Shine have to be addressed. Again.
The ugly smear campaign against Darla Shine by CNN, Mediaite and late-night host Stephen Colbert is insane and dangerous. I consider myself a huge liberal and I cannot believe the obvious attempt to publicly smear Shine in an effort to make the president and the new communications chief look bad.
I don’t think the strategy is working, though. This blatant non-stop mission to pain Darla Shine as a racist, bigot, Nazi, Klansman, anti-trans, anti-woman, is really so obvious it is comical and quite frankly embarrassing.
Anyone with any sense can go back see the game of telephone going on here. As the days go by, the headlines get worse.
But can it get worse than calling someone the new KKK? Late-night host Stephen Colbert publicly defamed both Bill and Darla Shine, but then brazenly posted Darla Shine’s photo next to a KKK Klansman and referred to her as the new face of the KKK. Colbert can hide behind his title of comedian and think this is a joke, but really … isn’t he inciting anger, and would this be considered libel?
Colbert said on his show that “Darla used her Twitter account to complain she couldn’t say the n-word and to spread conspiracy theories about ‘blacks.’”
Did he bother to look into any of this? What conspiracies did she try to spread? That “One in Ten Boys has Autism?” (A tweet that Mediaite claims is race-baiting.) Did the producers at Colbert bother to look into that statistic? John Gilmore of Autism Action and Health Advocate Robert Scott Bell (who, on the radio this week, defended Shine and this particular tweet) both say there are numerous studies that back her up, and in fact, Shine was simply re-tweeting a link to the study from which she got that quote.
So, the media purposely left out the fact that she was referring to a study.
Then Colbert put up a tweet where Shine had a photo of a split screen of “Rome 2000 years ago, Africa now,” with two side-by-side pictures of a Roman palace and dilapidated huts in Africa. This insinuated she was racist for putting up such a photo, and that is when he put up the split screen of “KKK then, KKK now.”
However, what Colbert is not telling the audience – most likely because he doesn’t know, because he did no research – is that Darla Shine had a radio show. She was a radio host who dabbled in comedy and political satire, and she was great at it. Just like Colbert can hide behind his comedic license, why isn’t Darla Shine due the same allowance?
Unlike the Colbert producers, I called her and asked her about it.
She said, “Ellen, you know I have been supporting your work in South Sudan for years. I send goats to the women of Africa each month. As you know, this is a country where so many people have no clean water. Young girls were forced to suffer genital mutilation under the Sudan government. Poverty is everywhere. The Sudanese civil war went on for years where young boys had their arms chopped off. I posted that photo during the conversation about s—hole countries in a satirical effort, and in no way was trying to be racist.”
But she also added, “ Ellen, let’s be real. I could put up a photo of puppies and some on the left would say ‘Darla Shine is anti-kittens!’ What has happened to me this week is an obvious campaign to make me look bad because my husband works for the Trump administration. My radio show was in at least 100 cities every weekend and there was never one complaint that I was racist. Funny how articles about me being a racist come out the same day my husband is announced as the new Communications Chief. Anyone pro-Trump is in danger, Ellen. And you as a liberal really should write about this.”
So here I am writing about this. And again, as I said last week, I have known Bill and Darla Shine since 1995. They have supported our endeavors in both Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and also in South Sudan.
What is astounding is that even though I wrote about Bill Shine last week and ended the column with an invitation to call me, no one has called me. They have not called Darla Shine. Wouldn’t you think that given all of this about her being racist and now a sympathizer with the KKK, that the journalists who are accusing her of all of this would pick up the phone and ask her a few questions? No one has called her, no one has called me. Is Stephen Colbert doing exactly what Darla did, by getting his audience going? Why does he get a pass for what he has done, but not Darla?
I am a liberal … but this does not make me proud.