Race, Racism, and the Media in the John McCain-Barack Obama Election

Some in the media have been more responsible in how they deal with issues of race.

By SHARE

I direct your attention to Friday's edition of National Public Radio's All Things Considered. The program conducted a fascinating roundtable discussion with 15 voters from York, Pa. Race and the election was the main topic of conversation. The 15 voters were disarmingly honest, yet thoughtful and considered in their comments. One white woman admitted she feared street violence by some African-Americans if Sen. Barack Obama wins next week, as most polls predict he will:

"I don't want to sound racist, and I'm not racist.... But I feel if we put Obama in the White House, there will be chaos."

She went on to explain that she feared poor, young black men might take to the streets and carouse (or worse) if Obama wins next Tuesday. An African-American Republican (who's voting for Obama) countered that was not a realistic fear. He said instead what concerns him is the possibility African-Americans will feel victory has been stolen from them if Sen. John McCain wins, despite polls showing the Arizona Republican trailing. Good point.

This is the height of responsible journalism on an issue that permeates everyone's perspective and yet has been all too rarely addressed honestly and fairly by the media this campaign season.

More often, we see it discussed in irresponsible terms. For example, this posting on HuffingtonPost.com:

The only threat to the Obama campaign in the next week is the festering threat that Americans will take to the streets and riot if McCain wins.

The writer never explains what he means by this, and it should never have been allowed to be posted in this fashion.