This story over at the New York Times Lede blog is one of the weirdest I've seen this week relating to Obama's stop in Turkey. Apparently, a Turkish news personality took to the airwaves in blackface to do some sort of piece on Obama's visit. Odd as that is, even more head scratching is how the blogosphere jumped in half cocked to explain what they knew nothing about:
After posting the video, bloggers from the left and the right of the American political spectrum — including the Huffington Post, Town Hall, Scoop This and Think Progress, among others — started trying to make sense of it.Jonathan Turley, they note "at least got in touch with someone who speaks Turkish before" sounding off. You'd think that understanding what someone is saying in a video like that would be a priority before trying to figure out what it meant.
Readers at Town Hall guessed that the incident was evidence that the Turkish people were rejecting Mr. Obama’s overtures and mocking him. Scoop This asserted that the Turkish anchor was actually denouncing his own country’s failure to denounce “Islamic terrorism,” and “is trying to show shame for what his country has done, so that is why his face is painted in black.” The Huffington Post quoted a blogger from Buzz Feed who guessed that the makeup was “a metaphor for the way the Bush administration ‘darkened’ the face of the Turkish public, and how the anchor hopes Obama will turn things around.”
Leave it to the NYT folks to, you know, actually get someone from Turkey to actually try and explain things (several commenters who speak Turkish fill out the story, too). Basically, it looks like it was an attempt at humor, some sort of satiric performance.
In other words, the some of the loudest voices in the blogosphere basically got punked by the Turkish version of the Onion News Network. Well done, folks! Who needs knowledge based analysis, anyway?