Monday, May 26, 2008

The Republican Media- No. 17

On the May 25, 2008 edition of Meet The Press, host Tim Russert asked Jon Meacham of Newsweek Magazine "based on your reporting, on the polling you did, a simple question that leads the Newsweek Web site, "Is America ready for a black president?"

And Jon Meacham responded

In theory yes, in practice it's a toss-up. In theory, 70 percent of Americans, American voters, say they are ready. That's up from 37 percent just eight years ago. And yet, when you then go to specifics, Senator Obama is running even with Senator McCain. He--our pollsters polled a--went inside the numbers and looked at white Democrats who scored fairly high on something they called the racial resentment index. People expressing some hostility toward racial questions. Thirty percent, 29 percent of white Democrats fell into the high category there. And, of those folks, nearly twice as many were ambivalent, obviously, about Senator Obama as for Senator Clinton. And so you have a large number of people who are, in fact, still affected by the issue of race. To my mind it is one of the great questions of the campaign. It is very difficult to talk about. It makes white people very queasy and...

Later, Meacham would refer to the issue of race "going forward" (the most popular cliche of this political season). Nevertheless, note that Meacham seemed alarmed that "29 percent of white Democrats" are "expressing some hostility toward racial questions" (while "70 per cent of Americans, American voters" are open-minded). Leave aside the question of what criteria were established by- whom?- for this "racial resentment index" and the omission of consideration of what role race may play in the preference of black Americans. The stunning omission here is the reference to white Democrats- not Republicans, not independents, not the general electorate.... because, you see, it is Democrats who are racist- according to the impression the Republican-leaning media want to leave with viewers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon Meacham is one of the realists in American journalism. His personal reports in Newsweek and the direction he has been leading the magazine (hiring of Karl Rove, for example) shows a willingness to turnover the liberal lable and just cover the facts.

His comments on Meet the Press Sunday were measured and careful, but insightful as well. The really big question facing the Democrats and the country is whether they want to field an attractive candidate with no useful experience and who carries the challenge of a significant, if declining racial challenge.

Selecting Obama may be useful to both the party and the nation, but it is not going to be an easy choice with the issues surfaced by Newsweek. We all hope we are passed the specter of racism; this election will give us a chance to prove it.

As Meacham's comments and facts point out, it will be a near run thing.

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