'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mainstream White Media Adores McCain, Cool to Obama 

Yesterday, we obtained an interesting insight about the nation's newspaper editors and potential racial and political motivations associated with them:

So much for the liberal media.

John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared before the nation's newspaper editors yesterday. The putative Republican presidential nominee was given a box of doughnuts and a standing ovation. The likely Democratic nominee was likened to a terrorist.

At a luncheon for the editors hosted by the Associated Press, AP Chairman Dean Singleton quizzed Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where "Obama bin Laden is still at large?"

"I think that was Osama bin Laden," the candidate answered.

"If I did that, I'm so sorry!" Singleton said.

"This," Obama told the editors, is "part of the exercise that I've been going through over the last 15 months."

Perhaps, the obvious explanation is the right one. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors ("ASNE"):

The percent of minority journalists working at daily newspapers grew minimally to 13.52 percent from 13.43 percent of all journalists.

Meanwhile, according to ASNE:

In 1980, the U.S. was 80 percent white not Hispanic and about 20 percent minority, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2006, the U.S. was 66 percent white who are not Hispanic and minorities were 34 percent, according to the census bureau.

Could this possibly explain the fixation of some newspapers with people who persist in falsely characterizing Obama as some kind of foreign outsider, a closet Muslim, someone we should eye warily in regard to his patriotism, while McCain, a man who was captured and incarcerated because he was shot down in Vietnam bombing a civilian light bulb factory, is revered?

Apparently, if yesterday is any indication, editors are quite comfortable with McCain's desire to remain in Iraq for a hundred years, and to bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran. Obama's suggestions that we withdraw from Iraq, and actually initiate a dialogue with the Iranians? They don't appear to be very enthusiastic.

Regardless of what you think about the American political process, and whether it is worth taking seriously, the differing receptions of McCain and Obama point towards some rather troubling possibilities about racial bias and the acceptability of military violence to resolve international disputes among newspaper editors.

For a more extreme case, just consider how they cover Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. I don't recall a single newspaper editorializing that he should be returned to power after the 2002 coup, and many papers, like my local one, The Sacramento Bee, frequently run columns condemning him based upon demonstrably false information.

Chavez seeks to eliminate term limits by a constitutional referendum? He's obviously a dictator, but nearby, Alvaro Uribe, the President of Colombia, can actually successfully do so, and it's no problem, despite the Pentagon's belief that he was connected to the Medillin cartel and a personal friend of Pablo Escobar. Could part of the problem, beyond the obvious political one, be the fact that he is black and indigenous? And, that such people aren't supposed to talk back to the US?

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