That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Can Black Women Be Trusted to Report on Michelle Obama?

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Howard Kurtz had a remarkable column in today’s Washington Post about the role of race for female reporters covering Michelle Obama.   It seems that in recent decades, as magazine and newspaper editors have put a big emphasis on diversity in their reporters they may have made a mistake.   Looking at the press pool covering the First Lady, Kurtz noted that five were African-American women.  As Kurtz points out, “whether racial and gender identification produces a gauzier, more favorable portrayal of Obama is perhaps too early to judge.”

I can’t help worry that reporters who naturally pull for the success of a politician simply because of their age and gender will result in biased reporting.   This is a natural side effect of the election of an African-American candidate, which challenges the impartiality of black reporters.  We have not had to deal with this issue before only because all previous Presidents have been white and white journalists have proven their talent for not letting their personal viewpoint cloud their reporting.  White male reporters have blazed a trail that all minorities can aspire to.

Actually, Kurt’s own newspaper The Washington Post may have found a remarkable new business model that will help make itself and other newspapers profitable for years to come.  As reported in Politico, the Post’s publisher Katharine Weymouth had planned an exclusive “salon” at her home where for as much as $250,000 lobbyists and association executives could have off-the-record access to Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.   For the mere cost of a few dinners where reporters learn about the health benefits of relaxing with a cigarette after a hard day of work or the lack of clinical data showing any danger from asbestos, the paper could collect millions.  I think the future of newspapers in this country is suddenly looking much brighter.


Written by thatsrightnate

July 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

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