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Fact check: Kathy Barnette’s stances on Black Lives Matter, race and police misrepresented in Allies of Dr Oz ad


A super PAC supporting Mehmet Oz, the famed surgeon and prominent Republican Senate primary candidate from Pennsylvania, has released an attack ad that grossly misrepresents past remarks and positions of Kathy Barnette, a party rival bursting into the mainstream. end-of-campaign polls.

The super PAC, American Leadership Action, attempts to portray right-wing Barnette, who unsuccessfully ran for the US House of Representatives in 2020, as a “crazy” advocate of liberal positions. To do so, however, the super PAC deceptively truncated Barnette’s past comments about race and policing and added inaccurate introductions to these shortened clips.

The primary takes place on Tuesday. The super PAC did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The commercial’s narrator suggests that viewers are about to hear Barnette talk about the “violence.” The ad then shows a clip of Barnette, who is black, saying, “Black Americans feel disenfranchised.” After a quick cut, the ad shows her saying, “Systemic racism. Specifically among the police.

Facts first: This segment of the ad is misleading in two important ways. First, it completely reverses Barnette’s position on systemic racism among police officers: these short excerpts were taken from a May 2020 YouTube Commentary in which Barnette explicitly rejected the idea that there is systemic racism among officers. Second, in that same YouTube comment and in other remarksBarnette has repeatedly denounced violence, riots and looting.

Here are Barnette’s actual comments about systemic racism and the police in the YouTube commentary:

“Listen, there’s a reason many black Americans feel disenfranchised in America. And I will never try to minimize the reasons why many of them feel this way. And yet, much of what we see is manipulation. It is fanning the flame of tensions in the history of this nation. For example, many are saying today that what we are going through – what happened to George, George Floyd – is systemic racism in our justice system, especially among police officers. They would have us believe that there is a police officer like Officer Chauvin, who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, on every street corner. And that everywhere we go, there’s a policeman waiting to shoot a black man. I reject that. And I’m not dismissing it because I feel like it’s not true. I reject it because it’s – statistically it’s not true.

She went on to cite various statistics that she said proved her point.

Nothing in Barnette’s remarks was an endorsement of violence in general, or protest violence in particular. In fact, at other times in the YouTube commentary — which she titled “On the Issues: Justice vs. Riots” — Barnette criticized Pennsylvania Democrats for, in her view, not doing enough to convict or stop the riots.

The ad’s narrator features a clip of Barnette which he describes as commentary “on Black Lives Matter”. The ad then shows Barnette on camera saying, “The reason for so much unrest in the black community is because of white racism.” The narrator then says in disbelief: “White racism? The ad again shows Barnette saying, “White racism”.

Facts first: This segment of the ad is also misleading in two important ways. First, Barnette’s comment about white racism causing unrest in the black community was not about the Black Lives Matter movement or even the present: The full youtube video shows that she was paraphrasing the conclusions of a Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Commission who looked into the causes of riot in 1967. And although the advert vaguely hints that Barnette is a supporter of Black Lives Matter, she has in fact been a vocal and repeated critic of the movement – at one point. comparing it to “a bad case of herpes.”

Here’s what Barnette actually said about “white racism” in the 2020 video the ad was excerpted from:

“So listen, in 1960 (sic), the Kerner Commission provided a report to Lyndon B. Johnson to help him understand why there was so much unrest in the black community. They spent, I’m sure, a ton of money, pointing out the obvious – and that’s white racism. That’s what the Kerner report pointed out – that was the reason for so much unrest in the black community, it’s because of white racism. Specifically, the discrimination in owning a home, education, and employment, that there were huge disparities between the white community and the black community, and that’s the reason for the unrest. Now, many of us could have told them that without spending all that money.

Barnette went on to talk about the present, saying “little has changed” in terms of black homeownership rates. But then she argued that Democratic leadership was responsible for the current racial gap in homeownership rates – and defended former President Donald Trump’s controversial “what do you have to lose? ” 2016 campaign question to black voters.

Barnette’s comments were a bit vague. But the book she wrote and promoted in the video — titled ‘Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America’ — made it clear she doesn’t think ‘white racism’ is the cause of the current unrest. She argued in the book, “The welfare policies of the 1960s, not racism or the lack of jobs or the legacy of slavery, are the cause of dysfunctional black communities.”

And in the book, Barnette explicitly and repeatedly criticized Black Lives Matter.

She also voiced her opposition to Black Lives Matter on social media. In a July 2020 Facebook comment, she said of Black Lives Matter, “I don’t support the organization.” In a moving Facebook video that month, after a one-year-old child was fatally shot in a New York park, she criticized various proposals backed by Black Lives Matter activists and said: “Black Lives Matter Global Network Incorporated doesn’t care about my black life.

In September 2020, she wrote on Facebook, “Overwhelmingly, my black life does NOT matter to these white liberals who litter their yards with BLM signs. In December 2020, she included “BLM” on a Facebook list of examples of how Democrats had unleashed “literal hell” on the country. And she offered the herpes metaphor in a Facebook video in February.

The commercial’s narrator also says, “And Barnette wants to erect a statue of Barack Obama.”

Facts first: This requires context. Barnette has been criticizing Obama for years; during her presidency, she tweeted that she “can’t stand it”, described him as a tyrant and spreading the false conspiracy theory that he is a Muslim. In 2020, however, Barnette proposed erecting a statue of Obama, as well as a statue of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as a unifying alternative to tearing down existing statues, an idea she and many other conservatives espoused. oppose.

Barnette started an online petition saying that instead of removing the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C. which depicts a freed slave squatting before President Abraham Lincoln, as some activists demanded at the time, statues of the Obama and Douglass family should be erected in symbolic positions near this existing memorial. Barnette wrote on Facebook and Twitter: “SIGN: Please sign our petition to STOP the reversal of our history and to find a meaningful way to unite our nation.”

In the petition, Barnette argued that removing depictions of the past is “not the answer for our nation’s future.” She said a statue of Obama and his family — which she suggested positioning so that the freed slave statue appears to be staring down at the Obamas — would be a testament to improved race relations in the United States. United.

The petition read: “This will serve as an example of how far we have come as a nation and how we stand today on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is an endorsement of the people of this nation, black and white, who elected the first black president. It is a historical fact that testifies to the heart of this nation and more particularly to the path traveled by the black community. Race relations are not what they were in 1619, 1776, 1863 or 1964… our nation keeps moving forward. To claim otherwise is more than hypocritical.

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