Local businesses underwrite right-wing rants

Guest Post by Eric Muller

Is Raleigh Metro Magazine delivered to your home without your ever having subscribed to it? It is to mine. It's a monthly high-gloss magazine that's trying to be a guide to The Good Life here in the Triangle, with stories on food and wine, art and architecture, music and theater, local businesses, and the like. And lots of advertisements from local businesses. It's the kind of magazine you'd expect to be handed by a real estate agent if you were thinking of moving to town. A polished, visually attractive, feel-good, community-boosting, inoffensive publication.

Wait. Did I say "inoffensive?" Let me change that. It's inoffensive until you get to the back pages of the magazine, where editor and publisher Bernie Reeves cuts loose with his political views in his monthly column. And when I say "cuts loose," I mean "cuts loose." This is stuff that would make Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even Michael Savage blush.

Here's a sampling of views and quotes from his columns:

On race: African Americans, as a group, are guilty of "rude behavior in public, misusing the language, abusing opportunities for education and committing crime far out of proportion to their percentage of the population." (Note also Reeves' rant in this piece against the influence of "Hispanics" and "the Chinese" in American life.)

UPDATE 12/13/05: It has been suggested that this entry on race takes Bernie Reeves' words out of context. Here is the full context.

"Now for my Man of the Year for 2004. Last year I chose President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. This year it's Bill Cosby, who finally looked his fellow black Americans straight in the eye and let them know that blaming white people is not the answer to their problems. He also pointed out the problems he sees: rude behavior in public, misusing the language, abusing opportunities for education and committing crime far out of proportion to their percentage of the population. It is indeed high time that the black leadership ceases exploiting white guilt and addresses the facts of the matter. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is an unbelievable 70 percent; the education gap is severe and the violent crime issue cripples the public peace.

Bill Cosby is why America is great: the unexpected hero."

On today's universities: "The blue ribbon for the most monumental spin-doctor con job goes to America's universities. As tuition skyrockets, the content of a college degree is plummeting. A nasty cabal of Leftists revisionists has a chokehold on the curriculum, squeezing the life out of what used to be a liberal arts education. Graduates have been screwed, blued and tattooed during their four-year stint. … The villains in this tragedy are the revisionist scholars who have been hiding out behind the campus walls since the 1960s and 70s, oblivious to the facts of political reality since their heady days in the golden era gone by of occupying the dean's office and demanding raises for cafeteria workers. These scholars in turn propagandized entering college classes and in turn kept the indoctrination in full swing as they attained academic status, careful as they went, to cull out for professorships and tenure anyone who failed to toe the party line. They are Marxist in their mind-sets and unrelenting in their allegiance to failed doctrines: world socialism, a classless society and utopian zealotry."

On Nixon's Watergate scandal: "The entire episode still exudes a fishy odor: how could former CIA security and clandestine officers bungle the burglary so badly in the first place? And how was it that Washington Post publisher Martha Graham was called at home immediately when it was then only, as they say, a third-rate burglary with no political connection imagined? And then there is the interesting information that journalist Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward's partner in the famous story, is a red diaper baby, meaning he was the issue of openly communist parents who raised him to be a good little radical--in other words to hate America and Richard Nixon."

On John Murtha's recent call for a pullout of troops from Iraq: "Yes, traitor: to his uniform, as he knows personally the effect of what he has done to the men and women on the ground in Iraq; and to his country, the one he used to fight for, for undermining the official policy of the United States in wartime. … The quality of his citizenship is in question."

On the depiction of history at the Smithsonian Institution and the need for a "balanced perspective" on slavery and other American injustices: "I recommend that one of the first targets of Operation American Freedom be the Smithsonian Institution to rid the national treasure house of the politically correct petty tyrants who are imposing morally relative anti-American propaganda in their exhibition halls (you know, Americans murdered the Indians, raped the earth, imprisoned Japanese-Americans, owned slaves, shackled women, etc.) with no balance in perspective."

On allegations that Michael Jordan gambled on Chicago Bulls games: "He was caught gambling on Bulls games, as I hear it, and the decision was made that public exposure of his crimes would be a terrible blow to black self-esteem. This is the dark side of affirmative action."

On John Kerry: "His defeat in November could, at long last, end the grip of the Soviet-inspired Left on American politics."

On John Pope's effort to underwrite a Western Civilization curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill: "John Pope is trying to save UNC from its downward spiral as a respected university that began with the radical scholars dismantling the study of western culture (our culture) since the 1970s. The reason? According to the radicals, western values and culture are tainted by racism (slavery), chauvinism (women did not have equal status) and homophobia (they just assume that) and are therefore to be removed from the center of scholarship and put on an equal footing with the contributions of Gabon and New Guinea. I'd rather Mr. Pope's money be spent dismantling the liberal arts curriculum and starting all over again."

OK, enough. I could go on, but you can just go to the archives and read for yourself, if you have the stomach for it.

Bernie Reeves is, of course, entitled to his views, and he is entitled to publish them as he sees fit. Why he sees fit to pollute what is supposed to be a Triangle-boosting glossy feel-good magazine with this sort of reactionary poison and vitriol is beyond me, but hey … it's his magazine, not mine, and he can do what he wants with it.

But here's one thing I would like to know: are the Chapel Hill businesses that advertise in his magazine aware of what they're affiliating themselves with? Do they share his views? Endorse them? And are these really the sorts of views with which they want to associate their businesses? (This column, incidentally, is the only political column in the magazine; indeed, it's nearly the only political writing of any kind in the magazine.)

In the November issue, I see ads for Minta Bell Design Group (in Meadowmont), The Lighting Place (on South Elliott Road), Scout & Molly's (in Meadowmont), University Square shopping center (on West Franklin), the Carolina Inn, Aveda (on West Franklin), UNC-TV, and Dr. Greg Ruff. (These are just the Chapel Hill advertisers; there are scads of Raleigh advertisers as well.)

I am going to be in touch with these Chapel Hill businesses to ask them whether they're aware of the social and political views that the editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine includes in each issue, and if so, why they wish to be affiliated with those views.

Maybe you should too.



First of all, Eric, sorry for the misspelled surname.

Let me be clearer: neither Cosby nor Bernie characterized “African Americans, as a group” in the way originally described by Eric. That was my point and it is plainly supported in the text provided. Bernie went on to make additional points about the illegitimacy rate and educational performance than Cosby did not, as well, which was my point about distinguishing the two men's stated views.

If one describes “the problems one sees” as rude behavior and the like, that does not constitute a blanket statement about a race or its characteristics. Suggesting that Bernie (or Cosby) did so was an error. I also submit it is an error to ascribe racist intent to observations of plain fact that surely most people of good faith recognize: that persistent social and economic problems among many African American families and communities derive from self-destructive personal behavior, such as out-of-wedlock births and insufficient commitment to and honoring of educational achievement. Do we want to solve problems, which begins with recognizing them, or do we want to run around in circles some more? Are black Americans simply victims of forces beyond their control or do they possess agency in creating their own present and future?

Eric, one can take a statement out of context in one's writing and then provide a note (or link in this case) that provides the full context for those who chase it down. Of course one can. I submit you did it here, presumably accidentally.

Obviously, I would feel more comfortable with Bernie defending himself here on this point, which I hope he does at some point.

I have asked Ruby to reproduce the entire passage in the main entry, so that people can more easily evaluate Bernie Reeves' words for themselves.

John, if you're suggesting that I provided the link to the piece I was quoting "accidentally," that's not the case. (I'm not sure I understand what you meant by "I submit you did it here, presumably accidentally.") I very much wanted, and want, people to read Bernie Reeves' writings. That's why I linked to them throughout the piece, and also directed people to the entire archive of Reeves' columns.

Bottom line Bernie, if you're going to say that someone is your 'Man of the Year' and tell us about your man's ideas, then it logically follows that your 'Man of the Year' has ideas that either capture something you believe is true, or at the very least, capture something you believe is worthy of serious consideration.

I think John didn't help your weak argument when he said that you believe you were "actually discussing (and praising) the viewpoint of Bill Cosby, not offering (your) own characterization of “African Americans, as a group,”

Eric, I meant that I assume when you described Bernie as characterizing “African Americans, as a group” as rude, etc., that you did not intend to mischaracterize what he and Cosby were saying. Twas accidental. It would be rather odd to intend to mischaracterize and then provide a link to the full passage, thus allowing people inclined to do so to click through (a minority of readers, realistically) and say, “hey, wait a minute. . .”

On the merits of your point about the causes of the social, educational, emotional, and financial problems that fall disproportionately on black Americans, John, I agree with you, at least in part.

Certainly black Americans "possess agency in creating their own present and future," and must exercise it.

But that does not cancel the enormous responsibility that our society bears for creating (and continuing to reap benefits from) the conditions that led to the current state of affairs.

You can look long and hard in the passage by Bernie Reeves that we're discussing, and you won't find a hint that the ills afflicting blacks are not just black people's problems. That's where I part company with him.

Thanks for the clarification, John. You are right that I did not intend to mischaracterize what Bernie Reeves was saying. I believed that I was characterizing what he said accurately, and provided the link to the passage itself so that people could check it out and interpret his words themselves.

"If one describes “the problems one sees” as rude behavior and the like, that does not constitute a blanket statement about a race or its characteristics. Suggesting that Bernie (or Cosby) did so was an error."

John, you're splitting hairs. Fine, neither Cosby nor Reeves, believes these 'problems' apply to all African Americans-- but clearly they believe these 'problems' apply to more than a few African Americans. It's racial stereotyping and racial stereotyping (positive or negative)is a slap in the face to everyone.

Bernie's entire racist quote has been added above for context. Enjoy!

Noted, Eric. As I indicated at the beginning, I grant right off the bat that reasonable people can disagree about the magnitude of the various causes of social problems. Bernie and I have disagreed amicably about some issues now for more than 15 years.

Mary, I do not believe I am splitting hairs. I believe that you are misusing the term “stereotyping.” The problems in question are described with actual data, not assumptions or prejudices. And of course an issue such as out-of-wedlock births involves more than a few African Americans. Unfortunately, it involves most births at this moment in time. That is a matter of statistics, not an assumption. Of course, it's worth noting that the issue also involves more than a few white Americans, and around a third of the U.S. population as a whole. Nor is it true that all out-of-wedlock births lead to devastating outcomes, as I know from personal experience.

John, you have 'actual data' for rude behavior in public, misusing the language, and abusing opportunities for education?

Let me add, that when Cosby points out that '...rude behavior in public, misusing the language, and abusing opportunities for education...' are problems he sees in his fellow black Americans, one could make the argument that this is not stereotyping. It wouldn't hurt me to find out that I have lost the technical argument.

Bottom line again, when I read the above, what comes through to me is that Cosby, and implicity Reeves, are promoting oversimplified images or ideas about many African Americans and they are contributing to making these images and ideas standard.

I find it offensive when someone expresses an opinion different and is attacked as, a racist, fascist, chauvinists etc. With regards to the first quote, it was Bill Crosby who made the original comment. The last time I saw him on TV he was an African American American. When Senator Moynihan made his famous remarks about the likely impact of Welfare and other legislation on the African Americans, he was also called names. History proved that Moynihan was right and his critics ignorant. As for Mr Reeves remarks on Universities, similar statements were made by Robert Hughes, the renowned Art Critic for Time, and author of "Fatal Shore" one of the great books of the last forty years. Hughes made his remarks at Oxford University Debating Society in England, during the 1980s, and they were published in Time. Robert Hughes is no right winger. I do not agree with the quotes on John Kerry or John Murtha, have no comments on the others, but complaints about political correctness in academia, a stifling of true intellectual debate, the imposition of an mob mentality censorship is an opinion shared by many thoughtful people such as Allan Bloom in "Closing of The American Mind". The fact is, what masquerades for progressive politics often seems like the dictates from a self appointed thought police with heavy backing from academic and other supposed centers of learning. The problem is less about Reeves and more about the inability of those who criticize him to engage in debate without hurling insults.

Bernie Reeves is at it again. In this month's Raleigh Metro magazine, he asks, "Is the AIDS epidemic everyone is so worked about in Africa real?" "Science is too often the political tool for the advancement of bogus causes," he counsels.

He also mocks the Episcopal Church of America, "now in its final days as a credible religious institution," for considering the idea of sainthood for Thurgood Marshall. (He'd join the ranks of others so honored by the church, including MLK, Jr., Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Catherine of Siena, and Thomas Beckett.)

And he blames the "mess in New Orleans" on "enviro-nazis."

Eric, we just received a mailing telling us that our complementary subscription was ending and we could purchase a subscription if we wished to continue receiving the magazine. Not going to happen!

Eric, thanks for the link.

For those of you who haven't clicked it, don't bother . . . unless you're prepared to hold your nose and have your hipwaders at the ready. I've never used the expression 'jumped the shark' before . . . but if it means something preposterous, ridiculous and stunningly dishonest, well, it's a fitting description for the bullsh*t that is Raleigh Metro.


Eric, thank you for your vigilance and reporting. It's chilling that there's an audience for this kind of stuff.

Sounds like a rantmeister to me!!



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