The whole affair, more than anything else, is incredibly sad. The two leading candidates of the party that, right now, seems to have the momentum going into the national election will, whoever wins the nomination, make history. We should be thrilled. We should be proud. But the past week’s “racial overtones” coverage reminds us that, however much our political universe has progressed, our media universe is still often one of ‘(sound) bite first, ask questions later.’
Perhaps lessons are being learned, though, if after the fact. The other story in all this—Bill Clinton’s “fairy tale” line in reference to Obama—was similarly taken out of context. (In short, Clinton was referring to Obama’s Iraq-war voting record, not his candidacy overall; for a longer, and great, summary, see the HuffPo’s Rachel Sklar’s analysis, here.) In what seems to be a tacit nostra culpa, MSNBC’s coverage yesterday did an entire segment on Obama’s war-voting record, carefully highlighting the Bill Clinton quote in context. NPR ran a similar piece this morning.
Today is Dr. King’s birthday; he would have been 79. And in today’s articles about the truce between two candidates whose candidacy would likely have made Dr. King proud of the progress he helped to invoke, the relief on the part of those describing that truce is nearly palpable. After a week of bickering, of he-said-she-said-they-said and back-and-forth, even the drama-loving press corps seems sick of it.