Hints of Racism as the Mainstream Media Questions Obama’s Aggressiveness

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.

45 Replies to “Hints of Racism as the Mainstream Media Questions Obama’s Aggressiveness”

  1. What else does Team Romney have but Bain? Romney runs away from his term as governor and he refuses to release anything other than last year’s tax returns and this year’s estimates. He cannot match President Obama on foreign policy, which is a traditionally Republican strength, and he embraces the Ryan Plan and opposes Wall Street reform.

    As more people learn the truth about what really wrecked the economy, the less likely they will embrace Mitt Romney and Bush 2.0. The ABO’s will vote for him because he is “not Obama”, but the more the president and Romney debate and are compared, the less favorable Romney looks.

  2. It’s also the idea, as you alluded to that Democrats are supposed to be submissive pansies. When they are, they’re contemptible and unmanly, but when they’re not, they’re uppity and threatening to the proper order of things, which is wealthy white “Christian” males and their occasional mean molls controlling those myriad “others” that Democrats represent.

  3. I love seeing the “angry black guy” campaign because you know that is exactly what they want to say after all they cannot call our President a militant can they? From what I see he is damned if he is complacent and damned if he is agressive so I would err on the side of agressive.

    Perhaps the right is not used to being one-upped at their own game.

  4. I think it is partisan rather than racial expectations at play here. Much of the President’s base feel he has not been aggressive enough. Democrats themselves are often uneasy with confrontation unfortunately.

  5. same meme from ’08. they cant use the ‘uppity’ pejorative anymore, many more code words will be appearing as we go along….. and no doubt the racist caricatures will be coming too.

  6. Thank his the republican party is going to die out soon they can take their press lapdogs with them. It’s 2012!!! Wake up old fogies!

  7. I got news for you. A LOT of Democrats and Independents are not latte sipping hippies nor are we peace loving. We have seen what the Republicans and the mainstream media have in mind and we are ready to fight. We own weapons, we are training and we are pissed. So you better change your little fuzzy image. Teahadists need to go. Just let one of those bastards touch me or my family and I will grind their little snake into dust.

  8. While I tend to agree with the “uppity Negro” scenario,I think you’ve got a good point. I’d like to think its just a broader stereotype for Democrats in general. As for the ad in question, I thought it was GREAT!! It really told the story of what the working folk in this country is up against.

  9. Some of us are latte-sipping and peace loving, but that doesn’t mean we won’t fight against what is happening to our country.

  10. Schieffer is and always has been a right wing hack, and as such he always attacks the opponent of the right wing with the sins of the right, yes, there is racism but it is on the other side, has he commented on the stuff coming from his party?
    The birthers, the so called christian right, those who paint the president as a Kenyan!
    Political Carnival has a very good video made by Louie Ludwig about Bain, please try to watch it!

  11. It isn’t JUST another stereotype of Democrats in general. It’s that as the party of The Wrong People, they’re supposed to know their place. Instead, they got an absolute Wrong Person elected to the Presidency. If something isn’t Done About It, the Proper Order will be overturned, Tiamat will unseal the Gate of Ganzir, servant will rule master, wives will rule husbands, children will sass their parents, and John Boehner will find himself back sweeping the tavern floor.

  12. Color me cynical if you like, but I can’t help but wonder if this “newfound aggressiveness” of Obama’s isn’t merely another attempt to paint him as “other”, as in…Oh noz, the BLACK man is getting aggressive! Angry black man! Beware!

    Such a crock. I expect Pres. Obama to fight tooth and nail to win re-election, and that’s what he’s doing. And he’s barely getting cranked up yet. The master campaigner has yet to hit his stride.

  13. “j” above hit the nail on the head. Boy, let one Democrat, let alone a black one, tell it like it is and there is no end of horror, loathing, and reprobation: “they can’t say that!!” especially because it is true and hits the mark.

    But not one word of censure of the vile, violent, degrading words used on the right that so distort and warp our discourse.

  14. I would NEVER have even thought anything about racism while watching this without the headline. Again a misleading headline to attempt to lead the reader in a certain direction. It seems this site is the culprit and not the unbiased observer. We all KNOW that racism has been a factor in the enormous, unprecedented amount of attacks and lies and ficticious email forwards that are repeatedly debunked on factcheck, snopes, etc., but the main stream media is not an instigator in any way other than to acknowledge it exists. FOX, Limbaugh and their ilk exude the not so subtle air of racism in their content however.

  15. Nothing new here… same old same old… I stopped watching Bob Schiefers “Face the Nation” along time ago because of his disgusting biases… I decided to watch it on Sunday to see if anything had changed… LOL…learned my lesson… never again…!!! Just another idiot from Texas….

  16. Schieffer and Gregory are the same. Republican hacks paid by their Romney-loving corporate owners to stir up crap on Obama. I don’t watch any of the Sunday shows because they all turn into Fox then. Gibbs could scream ‘Boo’ at Schieffer and he would dump in his pants.

  17. I see huge problems with the Obama campaign fighting back against the endless attacks from Romney through out the Primary and now into the general as ‘aggressive’. Why is fighting back seen as aggressive? Is is because the President is black? Would the same question be asked if PBO was white and fighting back?

  18. As long as he is a Democrat, yes. Remember, Kerry didn’t dare fight back against the Swiftboaters, even though he had a cause of action under the heightened Times v. Sullivan standard for public figures. Only Republicans ever get to be aggressive, ever.

  19. Bob Scheiffer seems to think confronting lies is being aggressive. Bain Capital is a predatory capitalism. Scheiffer seems confused as to what politics are, Republican Politics = LYING. When you don’t have a real issue, make things up. Negative ads aren’t anything compared to the LYING that Mitt Romney is doing.

  20. I don’t watch the Sunday “news” shows so my only opinion about the hosts is what I read on this and other sites. But I can’t see where Scheiffer was being critical of the President’s aggressiveness. From everything I’ve seen over the last 3 years or so, the President’s demeanour has always been thoughtful and assured, so perhaps Scheiffer was merely pointing out that the President has taken off the gloves, as it were. I can’t see that “race” or the “angry black man” meme had anything to do with what he was saying.

    It’s obvious that, throughout his life, Pres. Obama has demonstrated peace-keeping and compromising ways. His life situation has pretty well made that imperative. But now he’s more than ready to fight for what’s right, while at the same time maintaining control. But any pundits or TV hosts who bring up the “angry black man” theme can be quickly dubbed racists and will be shut down by the Democrats and supporters.

  21. Not if made with frothed soy milk and raw sugar. And caffeine? :-) — 5 scoops of freshly ground dark roasted beans, 2 cups of water, french press. Magic.

  22. The problem with that argument is that it’s been shown time and time again, up to present day, that the “mainstream press” is bigoted and racist. Content analysis on their reporting demonstrates this fact.

    They portray minorities in view of stereotypes. Think about it… like for women. A good woman is meek and submissive. A bad woman is assertive and follows her own path. It’s been well documented that this is especially true for racial minorities… when is the last time you’ve heard of a strong but nurturing and kind black man (which I think fits our president quite well)? Black women are usually portrayed as innocent, meek victims or aggressive and trouble-seeking sexpots (or the strong “Mammy”). They keep running themes through their reporting, and if you’re not sensitized to those themes (by being that minority) or trained to recognize them, they’ll pass you by and have a subtle influence on your mindset.

    For instance, I compared the reporting on the Jena 6 situation vs official documents… sworn testimony, court documents, witness statements, and so on. All of the media looked really bad not only in what was reported, but even more so in what was left out. Even PBS got it wrong in many ways. The only source (internet) was a group dedicated to defending the Jena 6… they were denounced as “Communists!” but the fact was, what they posted matched the real documents exactly.

    Once I get a little free time, I plan on re-writing the paper I wrote for publication – that is, if it’s not considered “old news” already.

    When people say that racism is alive and well in this country, they are absolutely accurate and probably know what they’re talking about.

  23. Soy milk? Raw sugar? UGGH… don’t even dump it on the ground, we don’t want to pollute Mother Nature.

    Some real cream and splenda… that’s the ticket! (GD&R!)

    (In other words… whatever floats your boat! Yours would sink mine!)

  24. Exactly!

    When they brought up Wright, those I know who research and study racism all agreed that “Wright is RIGHT!”. Yet he’s held up as some sort of extremist. Well, as it’s been said/written – Reality has a liberal bias!

  25. The best thing of that sort I’ve had is real Cuban cafe con leche. You get a pot of hot milk and a smaller container of high-voltage Cuban coffee, and combine them in the cup to your taste, con o sin azucar. You get what passes for latte most places…whip cream, flavoring syrups, and God knows what. Maybe not whip cream. Maybe Kool-Whip.

    If you make your own, I recommend the incomparable Tampa blend, Naviera, which has just enough chicory to give it an enchanting peppery tang. And I warn all reactionaries: the gentlest rose-pink pinko who drinks this stuff turns more dangerous than a bull escaped from the ring.

  26. I’m surprised that the MSM is shocked about Obama’s aggressive ads. He’s shown himself to be aggressive in many things. He aggressively sought, and got, the Affordable Care Act passed, He fought and got congress to agree on the payroll tax credit, much to their disgust, and (lest we forget) instead of being a chest thumping tin god, was able to bring our troops out of Iraq and was the power behind the order to take out Osama Bin Ladin at all costs. (something that Duhbya put our boys in to help prop up his military industry buddies… and then put the pullout on a future administration)

    Being aggressive now makes perfect sense. Pound your rival into the dust early. Of course, the GOP is already fighting back using his birth status, “he’s a Muslim”, and so forth that they used during the last election. The number of e-mail lies I’ve seen are small compared to what was sent out then, which is good. But there are many people that still don’t believe that an African-American could have been elected president. They wish it were still 1950 (although, at that time the top tier of tax liability was at 90%)

  27. The Main Stream Media with Repug assholes like david gregory and that equally clownish bob schiefer are so obviously prejudiced against President Obama. I don’t know how much more obvious that they could make their racist pea brains show up for all to see.

  28. You folks keep this up and “they” will start figuring out our “code”, so ix-nay the latte-aye!

    (never utter the “C-whip” word again!!)

  29. (Laugh) No… the bull backs down when he sees that one of us has been drinking that stuff. Unlike some dominionists, he’s smart enough to realize when he’s about to get cowed.

  30. BTW… I’ve had some Cuban import coffee that was better and I think marginally stronger than Naviera, but I don’t remember the name. It’s been a while, but I think it was a blend of Green Mountain beans and something else… a cup of that stuff would make water stand at attention!

    It didn’t claw all the way down either… it was the most mellow but potent cup of coffee I’ve ever enjoyed!

  31. This article seems to be reaching for a conclusion that’s speculation at best. One thing that my fellow Dems like to do is to find the specter of racism in all things, just as the Religious Wrong find demons in everything. Yup…this is a real reach.

  32. Naviera is about the best stuff you’re going to get without knocking at the green door, though.

    You get one of those Cuban antigravity pots with the two chambers. For straightup Cuban coffee, you fill the bottom with water to just below the valve; then you pack the basket with Cuban coffee; then you screw on the top chamber, set it on heat, and wait until the cobra-hiss rises to a volcanic rumble and then subsides. Sugar if desired, then drink from those little bitty cups.

    But for a blandishing cafe con leche…the day before, peel the label off a can of sweetened, condensed milk and plop it into a slow crockpot overnight. The resulting hot milk caramel you spoon-blend with your coffee to taste. Refrigerate the remainder and either reheat as needed or pour over ice cream (whoops) (strike that) (mustn’t give occasion for sin)

  33. Perhaps if you had been watching the Sundays sshows you would know that Sunday after Sunday after Sunday for every Democrat invited onto these shows there are at least three republicans (that is if they even invite any Democrats).

    One thing that has been obvious to everyone and their grandmother is that the host of these shows allow the republicans to say any and everything they want about the President. No followup from the hosts, no asking the guest to cite evidence to support whatever they are saying, no fact-checking by the hosts, nothing.

    One other thing you would have noticed is that whenever a Democrat appeared on these show, the host would treat them as if they wre terr’ist trying to violate the hosts daughters.

    So, the premise of this article is true.

  34. Rod, you are so right.

    Hae you ever watched King on CNN or Charlie Rose interview a republican?

    Makes you wonder what they are doing with their hands during the interviews.

  35. And only one who ignores the peer-reviewed research of social scientists would deny the problem that racism is in today’s society. In other words, someone who is deliberately ignorant or incapable of understanding.

    Denying racism is still a huge problem also reveals the insulated and protected nature of the speaker/writer.

  36. When you runaway from race when you are black you only help foment racial attacks on you. When you throw Van Jones under the bus because he is an African American w/ a record because the American Taliban is screaming instead of calmly replying he paid his dues and isn’t the American way deserving of a second chance? When President Obama let Sec of Ag Vilsack throw an African American female employee named Shirley Sherrod w/o finding out what she really said you are a coward and karma finds you.
    When it comes to race I’ve no respect for the Negro in the WH whatsoever. He is a coward.

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