Yesterday, Jack Shafer explained why covering an Obama victory might be very hard for our political reporters:

If Obama wins, these scribes know that they’ll be facing the toughest assignment of their careers. They’ve all oversubscribed to the notion that Obama’s candidacy is momentous, without parallel, and earth-shattering, so they can’t file garden-variety pieces about the “winds of change” blowing through Washington. They’re convinced that not only the whole world will be reading but that historians will be drawing on their words. Will what I write be worthy of this moment in time? they’re asking themselves. It’s a perfect prescription for performance anxiety.

Not to add to anyone’s anxiety or anything but this isn’t just a potentially “earth-shattering” moment, it is also a potentially “foreign-media’s-stereotype-of-America-shattering” moment.

So blogs onetime NPR omudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin today. “If Barack Obama is elected in six days,” writes Dvorkin, “then foreign journalists will have to come up with another way of describing America - one that won’t be quite so easy” as what Dvorkin calls “the racist, anxious and fearful people that appear with alarming consistency in the foreign media - both print and broadcast.”


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.