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Race, Gender and Presidential Campaign Coverage

By Howard Kurtz
Tom Brokaw said today that the media must confront race in the presidential campaign as Barack Obama prepares to claim the Democratic nomination.

"We know there's an undercurrent out there," the NBC newsman said at a panel sponsored by Harvard's Shorenstein press center. "This is the great unresolved issue in America ... we have to have the courage to put this on the agenda."

ABC's George Stephanopoulos said it's telling that comedians have mocked Hillary Clinton's pantsuits and John McCain's age but "they can't find the same handle on Senator Obama ... We've all been a little more afraid, maybe rightfully, of racism than sexism or ageism."

Brokaw, Stephanopoulos and CBS's Bob Schieffer all maintained that the media are doing a pretty good job of chronicling the campaign and deflected suggestions from moderator Judy Woodruff that some of the coverage of Clinton had been sexist.

The anchors would not even concede that the "Saturday Night Live" skits last spring, which mocked journalists for slobbering over Obama, had an impact. That was "blown out of proportion," Brokaw said. "It was one of those amusing, fleeting moments."

The anchors said McCain benefits only marginally from his longstanding relationships with journalists, and Brokaw and Schieffer admitted they were not great prognosticators. A year ago, Brokaw said, "I didn't think he had a prayer."

Asked to name their worst guest ever, Schieffer gave the honor to former attorney general Janet Reno, who he said would always preface her "Face the Nation" answers by saying, "As I have said many times before..."

"Every time she said it, you could hear toilets flushing and refrigerators opening across America."

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 24, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Media Notes  
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Next: A Ballgame and a Slow Day for McCain

Comments

Truth, the Clinton campaign played both the gender and race cards when things started to look a little more difficult than they had planned for - and most of America didn't care. It backfired on them with the voters who did care.

I would love to see a woman President - a woman who can stand up and be counted on her own terms - with integrity. The Clintons, fortunately and unfortunately are pragmatists. Most politicians are. But America wants more than that - and for the first time in a long time, we have a hope of getting it.

In January 2009, Barack Hussein Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America!

Posted by: wwwqueen | August 25, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

carrie from georgia:

What MORE do you Obamaniacs expect from her?!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/25/clinton_dismisses_mccain_ads.html

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

We as Democrates are in this boat together. We have a great opportunity to win the "People's House", back. I voted for Bill Clinton twice and supported him during his impeachment. If Hill and Bill will not act as adults and pull this party together, she can kiss her political career good by. She is on a slippery slope. With her supporters and republicans voting for her, along with her negative campaigning she lost. It is just as simple as that.

Posted by: carrie from georgia | August 25, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93708729

-----------
I am still waiting for the MSM to comment on the housing conditions that Barack Obama's youngest brother, George, is required to exist in.

I find it very disappointing that Senator Obama allows his brother to reside in a shack in the slums of Nairobi, when he contributed a large sum to the Reverend Jerimaiah Wright, which has helped him build a million dollar retirement mansion in Tinley, Park, Illinois.

To me it shows that something is wrong with Barack Obama's judgement and character to allow this to happen

Posted by: Mike H | August 25, 2008 9:15 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I am still waiting for the MSM to comment on the housing conditions that Barack Obama's youngest brother, George, is required to exist in.

I find it very disappointing that Senator Obama allows his brother to reside in a shack in the slums of Nairobi, when he contributed a large sum to the Reverend Jerimaiah Wright, which has helped him build a million dollar retirement mansion in Tinley, Park, Illinois.

To me it shows that something is wrong with Barack Obama's judgement and character to allow this to happen

Posted by: Mike H | August 25, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

WILL THE MEDIA LET US ENJOY OUR CONVENTION WITHOUT ALL OF THEIR NEGATIVE TALK ABOUT oBAMA AND HILLARY. WE WANT TO ENJOY OUR CONVENTION AND INSTEAD WERE LISTING TOO WHAT HILLARY SHOULD SAY TO THE HER VOTERS AND WHAT oBAMA SHOULD SAY TO HIS. ITS RIDICULOUS HOW NEGATIVE THE MEDIA IS WITH OBAMA. MCCAIN HAS MADE TWICE AS MANY MISTAKES AND STILL MCCAIN GET AWAY WITH EVERY PART OF HIT. OVER THROW THE BIAS MEDIA

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I suppose the racial undercurrents that will take such courage to confront will be the race card playing by the black Democratic candidate and racial pandering by the media. That's the real pattern of racial undercurrents that are pervasive and interfering with real discourse this year and creating an undue racial preference around the Democratic nominee. And that's what it would take courage to "confront".

It takes no courage to write yet another racial pandering piece.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

There are five key factors for this election:
1. Policy Positions - the people want what Obama is offering, change and new policies for the economy, health care, education, energy ind, etc.
2. Organization - Obama has a MUCH bigger organization. Voter registration, voter IDing,etc. will all be taken to the next level in this campaign.
3. Money - Obama is going to have a HUGE 3-1 advantage.
4. Message - Obama is more charismatic. Since Watergate, the candidate who has more charisma has won every single time.
5. Operations - There is so much grassroots support that all of the little things that have to be done in so many different precincts will get done. Well.

Obama is winning this thing.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 24, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain/Romney 08 - How can a combined 15 mansions and net worth of a half a billion dollars be elitist?


McCain '08 - Brought to you by his sponsors at Exxon and Chevron


McCain '08 - no place for whiners about this great Bush economy of ours


McCain - proud to have taken the lobbyists out of Washington. (He (McCain) doesn't show up for votes and they (lobbyists) are all working for his campaign.)


McCain/Romney 08 - Changing their minds on issues depending on the audience since 2004


McCain/Romney 08 - At least we aren't black. Not even a little bit. I mean we are tooooootally pasty white. Have you seen Mitt dance?


McCain/Huckabee - Never Had, Never Will!
We're too Homophobic to be Gay!


McCain/Giuliani 08 - 5 marriages, 9/11, POW, Maverick, 9/11, POW ... I SAID 9/11 AND POW!! Are you freaking listening? ... Maverick


McCain/Pawlenty 08 - Abortion causes cancer! Don't vote for the cancer lovers!


McCain/Jindal 08 - Because we have dark folks in our party too! See!


McCain/Powell 08 - See above


McCain/Petraus 08 - Platonic man love at it's creepiest


HERE'S SOME "STRAIGHT-TALK"...MY FRIENDS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N38Ug_ugzXs&feature=related
.

Posted by: ExxonMcCain | August 24, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Jack Straw:

I paid my dues already -- the last campaign I worked on was Pete Wilson -- I enjoy golfing too much to give that up ; )

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse


Clinton made the fact that she was a woman and the historic nature of her campaign it's corner stone. It is all they spoke about. Her supporters didn't give a damn about her issues, just she was a woman. They confirm it by saying they will not vote for Obama even though they stand for the same things. They waved sex in front of everyone then yelled sexist when someone responds to them. Pretty crazy.
---------
"Brokaw, Stephanopoulos and CBS's Bob Schieffer all maintained that the media are doing a pretty good job of chronicling the campaign and deflected suggestions from moderator Judy Woodruff that some of the coverage of Clinton had been sexist."
=========

Well there you go, that sums it up in a nutshell. These old guys don't have a clue, it is so ingrained in their psych. They don't even know when they are been sexist, even with their own female anchors!

Posted by: Narnia | August 24, 2008 9:29 PM

Posted by: pop a smoke | August 24, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"Brokaw, Stephanopoulos and CBS's Bob Schieffer all maintained that the media are doing a pretty good job of chronicling the campaign and deflected suggestions from moderator Judy Woodruff that some of the coverage of Clinton had been sexist."
=========

Well there you go, that sums it up in a nutshell. These old guys don't have a clue, it is so ingrained in their psych. They don't even know when they are been sexist, even with their own female anchors!

Posted by: Narnia | August 24, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse


Please excuse what I said. I meant to say Obama needs 1 of the remaining states.

I BRIEF REALITY CHECK
As far as electoral votes go as it stands now. Mccain with his pretty much locked in states needs "ALL" the states that are leaning red and "ALL" the states that are a toss up to win by 2 votes.
Obama with the locked in states needs all the ones leaning towards blue and only 2 of the remaining 39 toss up states or any combination of toss ups and leaning states. In reality, this is not really even close.
You are welcome to check. It is enlightening when you really add it up.

Mccain at this point probably has every vote he is going to get. They figure to slowly peal off in the Obama direction as time goes by.

As Karl Rove put it the other night. "Mccain has to completely flip voters his way while Obama only has to reassure them".
Rove said he didn't think Mccain can win, it can't be overcome.

They don't want to vote for Mccain, if they did they would be his now because the difference between the candidates is to great. They are just waiting for Obama to close the deal with them, they want to vote for him, thats clear. Biden probably did that with many of them.

--------------
The latest wave of polls - from the West - find McCain in a strong position, leading in NM and NV: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/08/24/battle-of-the-west-wave-of-polls-show-mccain-in-strong-position/

Posted by: Dan | August 24, 2008 7:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 8:06 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

You presume that my prediction is not based on hours (decades, really) of following American politics. That's hardly "content free". I simply can't type much more right now from my iPhone. Congrats on pounding the pavement for your guy, but you will be disappointed.

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 6:49 PM

_____________________________________________________________________________________

If you are so wise, why aren't you working

for one of the campaigns or making a career

out of your predictions? My opinion is that

you are all talk and BS.

Posted by: Jack Straw | August 24, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse


I BRIEF REALITY CHECK
As far as electoral votes go as it stands now. Mccain with his pretty much locked in states needs "ALL" the states that are leaning red and "ALL" the states that are a toss up to win by 2 votes.
Obama with the locked in states needs all the ones leaning towards blue and only 2 of the remaining 39 toss up states or any combination of toss ups and leaning states. In reality, this is not really even close.
You are welcome to check. It is enlightening when you really add it up.

Mccain at this point probably has every vote he is going to get. They figure to slowly peal off in the Obama direction as time goes by.

As Karl Rove put it the other night. "Mccain has to completely flip voters his way while Obama only has to reassure them".
Rove said he didn't think Mccain can win, it can't be overcome.

They don't want to vote for Mccain, if they did they would be his now because the difference between the candidates is to great. They are just waiting for Obama to close the deal with them, they want to vote for him, thats clear. Biden probably did that with many of them.

--------------
The latest wave of polls - from the West - find McCain in a strong position, leading in NM and NV: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/08/24/battle-of-the-west-wave-of-polls-show-mccain-in-strong-position/

Posted by: Dan | August 24, 2008 7:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse


I BRIEF REALITY CHECK
As far as electoral votes go as it stands now. Mccain with his pretty much locked in states needs "ALL" the states that are leaning red and "ALL" the states that are a toss up to win by 2 votes.
Obama with the locked in states needs all the ones leaning towards blue and only 2 of the remaining 39 toss up states or any combination of toss ups and leaning states. In reality, this is not really even close.
You are welcome to check. It is enlightening when you really add it up.

Mccain at this point probably has every vote he is going to get. They figure to slowly peal off in the Obama direction as time goes by.

As Karl Rove put it the other night. "Mccain has to completely flip voters his way while Obama only has to reassure them".
Rove said he didn't think Mccain can win, it can't be overcome.

They don't want to vote for Mccain, if they did they would be his now because the difference between the candidates is to great. They are just waiting for Obama to close the deal with them, they want to vote for him, thats clear. Biden probably did that with many of them.

--------------
The latest wave of polls - from the West - find McCain in a strong position, leading in NM and NV: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/08/24/battle-of-the-west-wave-of-polls-show-mccain-in-strong-position/

Posted by: Dan | August 24, 2008 7:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse


I BRIEF REALITY CHECK
As far as electoral votes go as it stands now. Mccain with his pretty much locked in states needs "ALL" the states that are leaning red and "ALL" the states that are a toss up to win by 2 votes.
Obama with the locked in states needs all the ones leaning towards blue and only 2 of the remaining 39 toss up states or any combination of toss ups and leaning states. In reality, this is not really even close.
You are welcome to check. It is enlightening when you really add it up.

Mccain at this point probably has every vote he is going to get. They figure to slowly peal off in the Obama direction as time goes by.

As Karl Rove put it the other night. "Mccain has to completely flip voters his way while Obama only has to reassure them".
Rove said he didn't think Mccain can win, it can't be overcome.

They don't want to vote for Mccain, if they did they would be his now because the difference between the candidates is to great. They are just waiting for Obama to close the deal with them, they want to vote for him, thats clear. Biden probably did that with many of them.

--------------
The latest wave of polls - from the West - find McCain in a strong position, leading in NM and NV: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/08/24/battle-of-the-west-wave-of-polls-show-mccain-in-strong-position/

Posted by: Dan | August 24, 2008 7:21 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Race has played a factor in this election and the new media has certainly covered it. Here's one of the more entertaining video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khuu-RhOBDU

Is it just a coincidence that the Clintons have put a lot of money around in Harlem? Who knows. By the end of this campaign, which is shaping up to be the most vicious in modern history (the NYT has already run two articles saying that McCain married into organized crime, and it's only August), hopefully nobody will care about white/black/jew/mormon/etc.

This campaign is going to be so negative that, ironically, people are going to get sick of the silly stuff and demand policy discussions. And Obama will win.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 24, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The latest wave of polls - from the West - find McCain in a strong position, leading in NM and NV: http://campaigndiaries.com/2008/08/24/battle-of-the-west-wave-of-polls-show-mccain-in-strong-position/

Posted by: Dan | August 24, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

What is with the Janet Reno schtick in a post about race? Toilets flushing? Anyway, check out the real-time poll at http://www.bop-o-rama.com. Everyone here could use a little political stress relief.

Posted by: acarponzo | August 24, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey there, Gator-ron!!!

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a drone of the Bush machine.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

JakeD is a pompous ass who does not know who will be president. Even if he turns out to be correct, his pronouncement like he is omnipotent makes him the same pompous ass.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 24, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

McCain has released a flurry of hastily produced ads following the announcement of Joe Biden as Barack Obama's running mate. The ads feature Democrats, including Biden saying uncomplimentary things about Obama. But mostly they feature the desperation of McCain as he grasps for something with which to prop up his pathetic campaign. The latest ad closes with the tag line, "The Truth Hurts." McCain is precisely correct about that, though not in the way he imagines. There are some serious problems with this advertising strategy that will shortly become evident.


What's more, McCain is just as vulnerable to such attack ads featuring Republicans disparaging him and his policies. In fact he is more vulnerable, because there are many instances of Republicans bashing McCain throughout the years who were not political opponents. This video presents just a few examples.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb0osbXJwIw


McCain's problems don't lie just in what fellow Republicans say about him. McCain's vulnerability also extends to the many ill-tempered rants he has directed at his colleagues. For instance:

http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=942


The media, as usual, is continuing to donate airtime to McCain's propaganda. The recent ads were announced by the campaign, but they have never purchased air time to broadcast them. The thinly disguised intent here is simply to get the press to contribute free air time to McCain. And the press is complying like the little zombie poodles that they are. Therefore, as usual, it will be up to the blogosphere to enlighten the voting population. So keep spreading the word.

Posted by: Candy McCane | August 24, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

You presume that my prediction is not based on hours (decades, really) of following American politics. That's hardly "content free". I simply can't type much more right now from my iPhone. Congrats on pounding the pavement for your guy, but you will be disappointed.

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I almost never watch clips people post because most just come from goofy websites. I clicked on yours and that one was amazing. How in the world did this demented idiot get his parties nomination? He never answers the question I guess because he had none. I love Romney's reaction in the background. Thanks for that clip.
-------
Here's a gem of a video clip from the archives. During the January 30 GOP debate at the Reagan Library, Janet Hook of the LA Times asked John McBush why he was more qualified than Mitt Romney to manage the economy. In response, McBush managed to:


+ Say nothing about the economy

+ Say he was more patriotic than Mitt Romney

+ Cite his experience as a POW...again

+ Argue that "radical Islamic extremism" is a more important issue

+ Criticize a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq

+ Did I mention, say nothing about the economy?


It's truly a hall-of-fame moment in the annals of chronic John McBush dodgery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT6h0Ni-pxA
.

Posted by: DHinMI | August 24, 2008 6:11 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I would still like to know how Barack Obama made it to where he is today. He stretched the truth, somewhat when he announced he voted against the war. He wasn't even in the U.S. Senate at the time. I would also like to know why he so aggressively sought those endorsement from the senators that voted for the war. Also, the monies he raised did come from PACs and alike through spousal contributions. Are you kidding me?
The press is in bed with him and you will be quite surprised on election night. To hell with all of you. You all stink. I and only I will make my determination on who to vote for, not you, the press. Who cares what you think. You are all stupid.

Posted by: Carol W | August 24, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I have to admit you won my heart during the primaries with your fundamentally human, decent reaction to Hillary Clinton's cheery thought that, after all, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June. In the immediate aftermath, you didn't try to spin it and admitted it was just totally inappropriate and left you speechless (actually, you put it better than that, but I'm paraphrasing). This made me know that at some level you are a basically decent person who just happens to disagree with me utterly and completely about who should be president.

Since then, by the way, I've been devoting all of my spare time (as I did all spring) to volunteering to get Obama into the White House. I don't mean at the keyboard (that's the easy stuff), I mean the grueling, hot, and sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding work of talking to voters in person door by door, event by event.

The reason I do it is that while I truly believe both candidates are devoted to public service, I can easily see that Obama is a ton smarter and more capable than McCain (believe me, they don't hand out president of the Harvard Law Review -- or NYT bestseller status for serious nonfiction -- to just anybody) and has much stronger and more serious ideas for the future direction of the nation than the relatively shallow, unreflective candidate you favor, McCain.

I know that McCain does offer a few differences from President Bush, but I'm afraid those are the rare exceptions to a position that is basically a photocopy of the last eight years of government that got us life-or-death levels of mismanagement over Katrina, Iraq, and many other crises and problems, not to mention its sheer abandonment and deliberate ignorance of all aspects of energy independence and reduction of greenhouse gases, two deadly threats to our national and international security, and appalling favors to corporations and the uberwealthy. Nearly all of this, except for his nod to the global warming issue, John McCain embraces wholeheartedly with his speeches, his ads, and his entire being. And it is all disastrous for our country.

When you write that "Barack Hussein Obama will not be sworn in as President on January 20, 2009," I don't feel that you are engaging in any of the issues at hand, that you have taken even a moment to evaluate the strength of character and quality of judgment that has just given us such a strong choice of VP nominee, or that you are even still "in the game." Such a simple, content-free statement reads like a small child stamping his foot and shouting "will not, will not, will not," long after he remembers what the actual issue is at hand.

Please take a few hours this week to open your mind and actually assess the major-party candidate being presented with such energy by so many of us. Use your own common sense to judge whether he is really the monster you have turned him into in your head, or rather, as I think he is, a dedicated public servant with a top-notch running mate, who is ideally positioned to move our economy forward and to rebuild our standing in the world. You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 24, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Here's a gem of a video clip from the archives. During the January 30 GOP debate at the Reagan Library, Janet Hook of the LA Times asked John McBush why he was more qualified than Mitt Romney to manage the economy. In response, McBush managed to:


+ Say nothing about the economy

+ Say he was more patriotic than Mitt Romney

+ Cite his experience as a POW...again

+ Argue that "radical Islamic extremism" is a more important issue

+ Criticize a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq

+ Did I mention, say nothing about the economy?


It's truly a hall-of-fame moment in the annals of chronic John McBush dodgery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT6h0Ni-pxA
.

Posted by: DHinMI | August 24, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama will not be sworn in as President on January 20, 2009.

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I think asking Brokaw and company to evaluate their performance would be equivalent to asking Dick Cheney to evaluate the benefit of Iraq to American foreign policy.

It is simply silly to read about the media evaluating itself, the have done such a poor job for so long that the bar is set so low that failure is impossible.

Our government has performed so poorly in the last eight years and the standards of George Bush and John McCain are so low that the American people have been inoculated with malaise. We need to rise up and kick out those who think that government is the problem for surely as long as they are in power it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

John McCain is mediocre and uninspiring. Obama is dynamic and full of life and enthusiasm. McCain represents more of the failures of the past and Obama an inspired beginning.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 24, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather have Rick Warren follow-up on his questioning, than Brokaw, etc. doing the debates.

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course the aren't going to ADMIT they are in the tank for Barack Hussein Obama. Just watch this week's fawning coverage, though, and compare it to next week's.

Posted by: JakeD | August 24, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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