Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Through a slanted lens

newspaperRecent research by political scientists has revealed that, however much the American people may be ready for black/minority candidates, journalists appear not to be.
Three interesting results emerge from these content analyses of national and local newspaper coverage. First, journalists disproportionately underscore the race of black candidates, while virtually never identifying white politicians by their color, no matter the circumstances. Second, journalists covering a black candidate are more likely to emphasize party affiliation and voter demographics, while providing relatively less coverage of substantive issues; fewer policy questions are discussed in white-black elections than in any other scenario. Finally, journalists tend to muzzle racial messages from candidates, or campaigns, while nevertheless accenting race themselves.
Thus, by anticipating racial concerns from voters, journalists are, in fact, triggering those concerns by their own actions. We can only hope that they will use up some of that energy in these early days of rumble about Obama et al., so that we can talk about more substantive issues by the time that broader attention to the primaries rolls around. There are too many important issues facing our nation right now for us to get bogged down in superficialities...

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1 comment:

Rafael said...

I agree. Keep up the good work.