Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins on CNN: The Facebook Death Poll on Obama



Transcript from

This morning the Secret Service and the FBI are investigating a threatening poll that was posted on Facebook. It posed the question, should Obama be killed? Hundreds of people responded before the social networking site took it down.

Joining us to talk more about what may be behind it, from Syracuse, New York, Boyce Watkins -- he's a Syracuse professor and resident scholar for AOL black voices -- and from Washington, Jamal Simmons, former DNC communications adviser now with the Raben Group, a communication consulting firm.

Let's take a look, gentleman, first of all, at what the poll said posted on Facebook. And again, it was only for a few hours. It said, "Should Obama be killed?" The responses, yes, maybe, if he cuts my health care, and no.

It was put up by a third party application. More than 700 people responded before it was taken down. Boyce, what did you think when you saw that?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Well, obviously, I was sickened by it.

What's interesting, though, is that this poll in itself is really more of a symptom of a bigger problem that exists in our country. We know this president gets more death threats than pretty much any president in recent history.

And so if we really just focus on this issue and don't focus on the broader problem, we'll really miss the point, because we have to realize that America is a country that's sick with the disease of racism.

And the disease of racism has its greatest impact on those who think who think they've been cured. So I'm not so angry about this incident as much I am about the environment that's been created around our president.

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