Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reporting the reports on BHO's Philly speech

Barack Obama has set the bar pretty high for the American people, and even higher for the press. Essentially, he says, if you report this as "Barack won't disown former pastor" you are playing with the old deck. Affirming an outmoded way of thinking about politics and about race. Will the media hear the message or go for the sound bite? The titles of their stories are most instructive:

Reuters: "Obama denounces preacher, says can't disown him". Missed the point of the speech entirely, interested only in the distraction of Pastor Wright, not in the larger issue. D. Update: Reuters changed the second clause to "urges race healing", give them a C for that.

LA times: "Obama confronts nation's race issues" Fair and neutral title. Not about the horse race at least. B+

Boston Globe: "Obama calls for racial unity" Much closer to the actual content of the speech. B+

AP: "Obama Confronts Racial Division in US" Even better. B+ UPDATE: Really bad article though, uses words like "racially tinged" and "pointed" to suggest that Barack is calling out whitey, by the ubiquitous and loathsome nedra Pickler. F.

Washington Times: "Activists go wild over Obama speech." Ignores the speech entirely and focuses on the "wild activists" reaction to the speech. F.

Baltimore Sun: "Obama speaks of anger, hope and a "racial stalemate"" Excellent concise statement of the content of the speech. A-

Wall Street Journal: "Will Obama’s Speech Work?" The most complex title yet -- "work" from a horse race perspective, to take away HRC's momentum and turn attention to his leadership? Or work in changing the debate in america form racial division to conciliation? Have to read this one, I wonder which way they go with it. A if they mean both, F if only the former.

So, we'll see. I haven't seen the speech yet, I've only read it. That inures me from the seductive effects of BHO's "soaring oratory". What I read this morning is for me personally up there with the great speeches of all time.

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