Obama’s race still has bearing on media coverage

Obama’s race still has bearing on media coverage

The Louisiana Weekly

Nadra Kareem Nittle, Contributing Writer

(Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Maynard Institute) – Long before a little-known Illinois politician ran for president, the mainstream media focused on his race. When he flourished as a presidential candidate four years ago, everyone in America knew that Barack Obama was Black.
Have his blackness and extensive coverage of that fact boosted his political career or made it more difficult for him to win re-election? Perhaps surprisingly, some of the nation’s best political minds are divided on this question.
Obama’s race dominated media coverage about him before he became president. In 2004, he made headlines for becoming only the third African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. In the 2008 presidential campaign, news stories questioned whether he could connect with African-American voters because he was born to a white Kansan mother and a Black Kenyan father, neither connected to Blacks in America.
When Obama became the first Black president, mainstream media portrayed his historic accomplishment as a symbol of a post-racial, colorblind America. That framing is contrary to the experience of millions of African-Americans and other people of color beset by conscious and unconscious bias daily in this country.
As Obama’s first term nears its end, the impact of his race in mainstream media coverage remains unclear…

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