Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Press and Race

I watched Howard Kurtz Sunday on CNN talk about the role of the press during this fight between Hillary and Obama. He was asking his guests if the press showed favoritism toward Obama during the primary fight.

It would be disingenuous to say that the press did not give much more favorable coverage to Obama. The question that should be asked is why? Did they do it because they were caught up in the Obama/first black president thing? Or did they do it because they can't stand Hillary or were tired of the Clinton political machine? Even this were true, it isn't the media's job to decide who they like the best and give the best coverage to that person. It's unethical in my opinion. It's time for the press to cover a Presidential campaign with the fairness and scrutiny they learned in journalism school.

Remember when an advisor in the McCain campaign, Mark McKinnon stepped down because he didn't want to create ads against Obama in the general election? He said, "I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama. I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign."

Why? Because Obama is the first black to win his party's nomination for President??? I don't think Obama himself wants to be judged by that. As Kurtz pointed out on his show, if we really have moved beyond race in this country, then the press will treat Obama just as they would a white candidate.

So one would like to ask McKinnon why he would have felt comfortable running ads against Hillary, but not Obama?

The fact that Obama is the first African American to win his party's nomination is a historic and proud moment for America and for blacks, but the last thing we should do is treat Obama differently because of it. It is exactly that that we have tried to rise above all these years.

The Media should treat Obama the exact same way they treat McCain. Ask the same questions, reveal the flaws that emerge, emphasize the issues that each candidate believes in, and let's judge these candidates by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

Someone very wise said that one time long ago. I hope the press pays attention. Because otherwise, it's just wrong.