Democratic primary presidential candidate Joe Biden, in the 1990s when he was a member of the United States Senate, said racist stuff in two speeches. That is an insinuation of a Monday The Intercept article by Aída Chávez. The basis for this insinuation? Biden in the speeches, Chávez reports, called people who commit violent crimes “predators.”
The measly support offered in the article for the insinuation is asserting that Biden’s use of the word “predator” “puts him at odds with a Democratic Party that largely denounces the language as racist” and referencing an author, and activist group, and one of Biden’s Democratic presidential primary opponents saying calling people “superpredators” can be racist or “racially coded” talk. None of this negates that what Biden said is in line with common language usage to describe people of any race, or, in Biden’s use, all races who commit violent crimes. Biden used the word “predator” to describe people in regard to their actions, irrespective of their races.
Anyone with an understanding of the meaning of the word “predator” and of the fact that people of various races commit violent crimes can easily deep-six the article’s basis for suggesting Biden made racist comments.
While the racism insinuation is ridiculous, proclaiming it in a 15-paragraphs article can do harm to Biden’s reputation. People will skim and figure the case has been made somewhere in the article, or they will just read the beginning and figure the case is made later. Other people will cite the conclusion and neglect to mention the total lack of logical support.
It is a shame to see the flinging of such an unfounded insinuation, especially at The Intercept where great reporting is posted. Indeed, The Intercept’s reputation for some great reporting will lead some people to be more inclined to just accept a nonsense insinuation in a The Intercept article. And the Joe Biden “racist” article is not unique. I wrote in October about a The Intercept editorial by Mehdi Hasan that pinned an antisemite label on President Donald Trump and his supporters with a similar failure to provide any substantial evidence supporting the claim.