Rep. Jon Faso, a Republican seeking re-election in a hotly contested New York district, called out his opponent for referring to women as “cheap -ss hoes” (obscenity altered) in a rap lyric. Under the stage name “AD the Voice,” Antonio Delgado, who is running as a Democrat against Faso, also had some negative things to say about the police. In another lyric, Delgado reportedly sings: “When I spit, they (cops) sh-t” (obscenity altered).
In an editorial published last week, The New York Times slammed Faso for “race baiting” his opponent because the congressman criticized his opponent’s rap lyrics — yes, seriously. The New York Times now considers it race-baiting to criticize someone for rapping about “cheap -ss hoes.”
When the Times does quote Delgado’s lyrics and write about his history as a rapper, the editorial board mentions a patriotic lyric, with no mention of his offensive lyrics.
“He could start with one of his campaign opponent’s songs, ‘Draped in Flags’ in which Mr. Delgado said Americans who love their country have a duty to question their government,” the editorial reads. “‘It’s what a patriot does in hard times,’ Mr. Delgado rapped.”
In response, Fasso wrote a letter to the Times objecting to the tone of the article and quoting some of his opponent’s negative lyrics. But the Faso campaign says the Times, in an effort to shield Delgado, cut out the part of the congressman’s statement that quoted the lyrics. Here’s Faso’s comment in full, according to a press release from Faso’s campaign.
Mr. Delgado also uses many phrases derogatory to women and law enforcement such as explicit references to body parts, use of ‘cheap -ss ho’ as a description of some women, and how police officers would react to his lyrics – ‘when I spit, they (cops) sh-t.’ One can only imagine what your editorial board would say about me had I uttered the same words as my opponent has. [obscenities altered]
For comparison, here’s the version of that paragraph that the Times published.
Mr. Delgado also uses many phrases derogatory to women and law enforcement. One can only imagine what your editorial board would say about me had I uttered the same words as my opponent has.
It appears the Times cut out the offensive things Delgado said. The question is, why? Was it to save space, or refrain from publishing obscenities? Or was it to protect Delgado from explaining his lyrics to the voting public?
In a long feature article the Times published on Delgado’s past as a rapper and the attention his old lyrics have received throughout his candidacy, the Democratic candidate slams his opponents for “otherizing” him — whatever that means.
The criticism of Mr. Delgado has thrust historically fraught topics of race and identity into the forefront of an election that was already slated to be one of the most competitive in this November’s midterm elections. Mr. Delgado, who is black, said he believed the attack on his lyrics is an attempt to ‘otherize’ him, particularly because he’s trying to become the first nonwhite candidate to represent the area in Congress.
Criticizing someone for being a rapper and getting riled up because someone said something offensive a decade ago, as Faso has, is over-the-top. But the Times‘ handling of the Republican congressman’s critiques made me raise an eyebrow.
Criticizing someone for something he said — even in a rap song under a stage name — is fair game. It’s not racist to point out that Delgado has rapped some not-so-great things about women and about police officers. These ideas about women and police might be information voters consider pertinent when making their choice. When Republican candidates make derogatory or even non-derogatory comments about women that can be spun as derogatory, media including The New York Times hold their feet to the fire over it. That’s some double standard.
The Times‘s apparent decision to leave out Delgado’s lyrics from Faso’s letter defending himself indicates that the newspaper knows it, too. If they truly thought the lyrics were defensible and of no harm to Faso, they’d have left the quotes in and let their readers decide for themselves.