The mainstream media is subtly helping to further a racist stereotype by acting shocked and even a little afraid by the aggressiveness of Obama’s reelection campaign.
Here is the video from Face The Nation:
Transcript from CBS News:
BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning, again. And welcome to FACE THE NATION and what better time to talk a little politics. Top advisors to both candidates are with us here this morning. We’re going to start with Robert Gibbs who’s the senior advisor to the Obama campaign. Then, we’ll hear from Ed Gillespie, senior advisor to the Romney campaign.
Mister Gibbs, last week, several Democrats weighed in, and expressed really some dismay with a tone that the Obama campaign’s attack ads have taken, particularly the ones attacking Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, we played a little of it in the beginning of the broadcast, but the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday the campaign would actually become more aggressive with these attacks. They seem to be buying more time to run these ads. Have you done some polling? What– why– why– why do- why so aggressive so soon?
ROBERT GIBBS (Obama Campaign Senior Advisor): Well, Bob, I don’t think you need polling to understand why people have a visceral reaction to Mitt Romney’s time as head of Bain Capital and let’s be clear, this is the central and only point that Mitt Romney brings up that in the words of his campaign would make him an economic savior for this country. You saw that tape with some steel workers whose plant in Kansas City was loaded up with debt, jammed into bankruptcy, Mitt Romney and his investors walked away with tens of millions of dollars and, look, they were very good at that, making money for themselves and for the investors, but what Bain Capital never did was focus on job creation. That’s not what Bain Capital does. It loads up companies with debt. It takes money out of those companies and pays those investors. It’s not about job creation, and that’s what Mitt run– Mitt Romney is running on. And look, we– we’ve– we’ve seen this experiment in Massachusetts. He did the same thing when he ran in 2002 in Massachusetts and took that state’s job creation numbers to forty-seventh in the country. So we have seen this experiment, we have seen it in Massachusetts quite frankly, we saw it in 2007 and 2008 where we turned our economy over to speculators and it crashed on the middle class.
Bob Schieffer’s loaded question appears to have been based on a couple of false premises. Schieffer seemed surprised that the Obama campaign would be aggressive at all, because according to the book of great conservative myths that our media lives by Democrats are supposed to be passive, peace-loving hippies avoiding conflict because they don’t have the guts to put up a fight.
Schieffer was discussing Obama’s Bain ads, but his question centered on aggressiveness, as if it was a bad thing that the president was being aggressive in his attacks. Ol’ Bob seemed perplexed that Obama would launch into Bain so soon, but if Schieffer would think about it, he might realize that what the Obama campaign is doing is using Bain to define Romney before Romney has a chance to define himself. This campaign isn’t going to be about Bain, but Romney’s time at Bain is the opening chapter of what I suspect will be a much deeper narrative from the Obama camp.
The Face The Nation host seemed to be hung up on the fact that nation’s first black president would be aggressive in his reelection campaign. Could it be because in some parts of the country there are still white Americans who see aggressiveness by an African-American as threatening?
Whether intended or not, Schieffer’s question highlighted the subtle racial subtext that is constantly present in the media coverage of Obama: It’s okay to have a black president as long as he isn’t too aggressive or threatening.
President Obama, like other African-Americans, has been battling this stereotype for his entire life. When Mitt Romney is aggressive he is a go getter capitalist, who symbolizes the American Dream. When Barack Obama is aggressive, the media recoils in fear and asks why.
It has been three and a half years, but the media still can’t shake the constant shadow that is their fear of a black president, and questions like Bob Schieffer’s subconsciously disseminate that fear to millions of white voters across America.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association