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Monday, March 24

More Obama speech reaction - it's positive but you won't read about it

I've been following the reaction to Obama's speech on race (which you can watch in full in this previous blog post).

The only polling done that I can find (for CBS) gave 69% of Americans who had heard or read about it giving it a positive reaction.

63% agree with Obama's views on race relations. Seventy-one percent say he did a good job explaining his relationship with Rev. Wright - the pastor of his church whose sermons have been edited and received blanket news coverage.

The only negative was when people were asked if Obama would unite the country 52% said yes. This is down from 67% last month.

Most voters following the events say they will make no difference in their vote.

Nearly a quarter of Democrats say the events have made them more likely to back Obama, while a similar number of Republicans say they are now less likely to do so. Three in four independents say the events make no difference, and the remainder are nearly evenly split between those more likely to support him and those less likely to do so.

As well, his overall poll numbers have returned to a lead over Clinton (via Andrew Sullivan)

Another Gallup Poll
shows a 'Perceived Honesty Gap for Clinton Versus Obama, McCain'.

Nevertheless, reporters continue to assume a negative reaction for Obama (see the Times/BBC) and US Networks have continued to selectively edit both the original sermons by Rev. Wright as well as comments by Obama himself.

The BBC's North America Editor Justin Webb posted the following about Wright:

"The fact that he is shouting in the clips, and swaying about, does not do him any favours."
Which is astonishing, given that this is how black pastors preach: something you'd assume he would know about and understand. This sort of comment reflects the tenor of the BBC's coverage of Obama and Wright and is also to be found in some of the broadsheets.

Some commentators have noted that the real reason that Wright's comments continue to dominate TV News coverage of Obama - despite, for example, a lengthy speech last week further explaining his position on Iraq - is because they need the Democratic race to continue for their own reasons.

Despite there being little chance that Hillary will win, the media needs the conflict and is unwilling to call the reality: baring acts-of-god, Obama will be the Democratic nominee. Plus, it's a statistical tie with McCain vs Obama (post 'race speech' polling).

Journalists have become partners with the Clinton campaign in pretending that the contest is closer than it really is. Most coverage breathlessly portrays the race as a down-to-the-wire sprint between two well-matched candidates, one only slightly better situated than the other to win in August at the national convention in Denver.

One important, if subliminal, reason is self-interest. Reporters and editors love a close race — it’s more fun and it’s good for business.
Just this week, Clinton made the bizarre claim that she had to run to avoid sniper fire when visiting Tuzla in Bosnia with her daughter in 1996. This, well, lie, has received no play at all. However some have rebelled over the 'loop' on Rev. Wright and Obama.

CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 looked at the actual tapes of Wright, rather than the excerpts and discovered that one of the most quoted excerpts, made just after 9/11, was actually Wright quoting somebody else, a former Ambassador.
“I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday did anybody else see or hear him? He was on FOX News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the FOX News commentators to no end, he pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost.”
They said:
His sermon thesis:
1. This is a time for self-examination of ourselves and our families.
2. This is a time for social transformation (then he went on to say they won’t put me on PBS or national cable for what I’m about to say. Talk about prophetic!)
The Washington Post provided more context by highlighting similar comments made by Martin Luther King:
Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968: "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place." King then predicted this response from the Almighty: "And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
And imagined what would have happened to King's campaign if today's technology had existed then.

Even on arch right-wing News Channel Fox News, the 'loop' so outraged two anchors that one upped and left and another berated his fellow anchors.

On another channel, the 'loop' was challenged by someone whose comments surprised many - Mike Huckerbee (comment @ 3' 20" — notice the lead male with his arms crossed):

In their reaction to Obama's historic speech - the tenor and content broke new ground for any leading American politician, black or white - much of the media, both in the USA and UK, appears a/ ignorant of Black America and b/ determined to continue to pump up the Democratic primary election for their own reasons.

Where to turn to for accurate reporting?

Previous: NB: "20 hour days"! 20 "hits" in the morning! Something lost in the translation ...


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