Obama vs. 'Automatic White Preference'

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Study Finds Race Still at Issue in 2012 Campaign

"After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, many proclaimed that the country had entered a post-racial era in which race was no longer an issue," Molly McElroy wrote this week for the University of Washington. "However, a new large-scale study shows that racial attitudes have already played a substantial role in 2012, during the Republican primaries. They may play an even larger role in this year's presidential election."


"The study, led by psychologists at the University of Washington, shows that between January and April 2012 eligible voters who favored whites over blacks — either consciously or unconsciously — also favored Republican candidates relative to Barack Obama.

" 'People were saying that with Obama's election race became a dead issue, but that's not at all the case,' said lead investigator Anthony Greenwald, a UW psychology professor."


Greenwald appeared Friday on NPR's "Science Friday" segment of "Talk of the Nation."

"The study's findings mean that many white and non-white voters, even those who don't believe they tend to favor whites over blacks, might vote against Obama because of his race. These voters could cite the economy or other reasons, but a contributing cause could nevertheless be their conscious or unconscious racial attitudes.


" 'Our findings may indicate that many of those who expressed egalitarian attitudes by voting for Obama in 2008 and credited themselves with having 'done the right thing' then are now letting other considerations prevail,' said collaborator Mahzarin Banaji, a psychology professor at Harvard University.

"In the study, a majority of white eligible voters showed a pattern labeled 'automatic white preference' on a widely used measure of unconscious race bias. Previous studies indicate that close to 75 percent of white Americans show this implicit bias."


In background material for the news release [PDF], Greenwald wrote, "These findings do not at all call for a conclusion that politically conservative candidates are racist. It does mean, however, that — for whatever reason — politically conservative candidates are more attractive to voters with White-favoring racial attitudes.

"The obvious questions raised by these observations: After nearly four years having an African American President in the White House, why do race attitudes (including unconscious race attitudes) continue to role in electoral politics?


"One possible answer is that, as President, Barack Obama is now more powerful than he was as candidate Barack Obama in 2008. This increased power and status may have brought out race-based antagonism that had less reason for being activated in 2008. Another possible answer is connected to Republican candidates' frequent assertions that their most important objective is to remove Barack Obama from the presidency. . . ."

Obama lost the white vote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008, 55 percent to 43 percent, but in exit polls dating to 1972, Democrats have never carried a majority of the white vote, Alan Fram reported in 2008 for the Associated Press.


Referring to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the putative Republican presidential candidate, "electionate" wrote in April for the Daily Kos, "If the non-white vote supports Obama to the extent it did in 2008, Romney will need to compensate by holding Obama to 38% of the white vote.

"In the modern political era, it has taken extraordinary circumstances for Democrats to do so poorly. The last Democratic candidate to fall so low was Walter Mondale, who only won 35% of the white vote in 1984. Even Michael Dukakis won 40% of the white vote in 1988. In 2010, House Democrats only won 37% of the white vote, demonstrating that Romney's task is not achievable, even if the House GOP benefited from a relatively friendly electorate."


Associated Press: Iowa judge rejects theory of 'implicit bias' (April 18)

Danny Westneat, Seattle Times: Race still an issue for voters, 4 years on

MSNBC host Tamron Hall told guest Tim Carney, "You're not gonna come on and insult me, you're not gonna come on and insult the network when you knew what we were gonna talk about. Done." (Video)


MSNBC's Tamron Hall Shuts Off Conservative's Mic

"MSNBC's Tamron Hall handily shut down guest Tim Carney on Friday, in an exchange so fiery that she immediately began trending on Twitter," Katherine Fung wrote for the Huffington Post.


"Hall asked Carney about Mitt Romney's testy reaction to a reporter asking about marijuana on Thursday. Before addressing the question, he alleged that she and the rest of the media were focusing too much attention on the candidate's past — including his bullying of two classmates in high school.

" 'What you're doing here is a typical media trick,' Carney charged. 'You hype up a story and justify the second-day coverage of the story.'


"That set Hall off. She began to tell him that he didn't have to 'answer a single question' she asked or 'accept the invitation to come on' and speak. Carney tried to interject, but she told him, 'You're kind of in my house,' and proceeded to smack him down for over a minute. . . ."

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bullying story cuts into Romney's image

Blacks in Key States Unshaken in Support for Obama

"Like many black Americans, Dorsey Jackson does not believe in gay marriage, but he wasn't disillusioned when Barack Obama became the first president to support it," Errin Haines and Jesse Washington wrote Friday for the Associated Press. "The windows of his suburban Philadelphia barbershop still display an 'Obama 2012' placard and another that reads 'We've Got His Back.'


" 'If Obama needs to endorse same-sex marriage to be re-elected, said Jackson, so be it: 'Look, man — by any means necessary.'

"With that phrase popularized by the black radical Malcolm X, Jackson rebutted those who say Obama's new stand will weaken the massive black support he needs to win re-election in November. Black voters and especially black churches have long opposed gay marriage. But the 40-year-old barber and other African-Americans interviewed in politically key states say their support for Obama remains unshaken."


Meanwhile, in an essay Thursday for the Huffington Post, Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, wondered, "Why has CNN turned to Tony Perkins three times in the last few days to represent the 'other side?'

". . . when Perkins gets interviewed, a responsible journalist needs to tell the audience exactly who Perkins is speaking for. Based on his own statements — Tony Perkins represents people who believe supporting LGBT equality is akin to being a terrorist. Who believe marriage equality is the same as bestiality. . . . If CNN wants that side represented in this discussion, then Perkins is absolutely the right man for the job. But they need to make it clear to the audience that that's what he's there for. And by not doing so, they have not told the whole story. Wolf Blitzer's interview with Perkins is a perfect example of this."


At the Poynter Institute, Kelly McBride, senior faculty, ethics, reporting and writing, wrote Wednesday about how journalists reacted to Obama's new stance:

". . . the way you frame this issue — as religious, political or civil rights — puts you in a camp," McBride wrote. "Of course gay marriage could be placed in any or all three of those categories, but the one you put first tilts your hand.


"Whether you voice your reaction publicly, on Facebook or in any other forum, has more to do with what your boss expects and whom you want to consume your work."

McBride advised, "If you work for a newsroom that wants to reach an audience with diverse beliefs on gay marriage . . . try embracing the notion of being a conduit for everyone."


Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: This "race war" will not be televised.

Dylan Byers, Politico: Gay marriage: Why Robin Roberts got the exclusive

Mary C. Curtis with Warren Olney, "To the Point," Public Radio International: President Obama Supports Gay Marriage


Michael Eric Dyson with Bishop Harry Jackson and Obery Hendricks, "The Ed Show," MSNBC: Church vs. Marriage Equality

Fannie Flono, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: Legal discrimination will eventually lose


Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Race and Beyond: President Obama Can Come Out on Gay Marriage

Jeneba Ghatt, Politic365.com: Black Christians Outraged at Obama – But Where Else Will They Go?


Cynthia Gordy, theRoot.com: Blacks Won't Check Out Over Gay Marriage

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: It Was Never Whether, But When President Obama Would Say Yes to Gay Marriage


Harry A. Jessell, TVNewsCheck: TV Helps A Nation Come Out Of The Closet

Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Hallelujah for President's stance on gay marriage


Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Reactions to Obama's Gay Marriage Stance

Brooke Obie, ebony.com: President Obama Has My Christian Vote

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: In Obama's stance on gay marriage, a return to hope


Allison Samuels, Daily Beast: African-Americans Support Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance

Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Who will amendment backers target next?


Open letter from Rev. Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery and Melanie Campbell

Gail Shister, TVNewser: Want To Interview The President? How And Why The White House Chooses The Interviewer


Charlie Warzel, adweek.com: Twitter Erupts Over Obama Gay Marriage Interview

Greg Moore, Tom Friedman to Co-Chair Pulitzer Board

"Gregory Moore, editor of the The Denver Post, and Thomas L. Friedman, bestselling author and foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, have been elected co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced today," the Pulitzer board said Thursday.


"Both have served on the board since 2004. They replace co-chairs Jim Amoss, editor of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans; Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press; and Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Board members serve a maximum of nine years while a chair serves for only one year. The new co-chairs will share responsibilities over the course of the year.

"Moore has been editor of the Post since coming to Denver in June 2002. He joined the newspaper after 16 years at The Boston Globe, the last eight as managing editor."


The chair leads the board, appointing committees, presiding at board meetings and helping to set board priorities, Sig Gissler, Pulitzer administrator and board member, told Journal-isms.

S. African Can Have Job Back After His Nieman

The South African media company that employed Beauregard Lucian Tromp, the journalist accepted into the Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University who was forced to quit his job because his employer would not let him accept the fellowship, said Friday that Tromp could return to eNews after his fellowship ends.


"His future is in no way compromised by the decision to resign in order to take up the Nieman offer," said the statement from eNews, where Tromp, 36, was a television field producer.

The company explained that Tromp had worked at eNews only since last year and that it had imposed a requirement that staff members must have been employees "for a minimum of three years before being eligible for special leave. Regrettably, this policy was instituted after past employees have abused this privilege and have failed to return to our employment, despite contractual obligations, or have resigned with immediate effect upon returning to the country."


The eNews statement lashed out at criticism it had received from former Nieman fellows in South Africa, who select the South African Nieman fellow and help finance his or her stay in the United States. "We find these mean spirited statements to be unbecoming of this prestigious fellowship and will engage with the Nieman Foundation in the US directly to raise our concerns in this regard," the statement said.

While journalists who accept U.S. mid-career fellowships are expected to return to their employer, they do not always do so. Nor do employers always support their employees' applications.


Referring to Tromp's case, Bob Giles, curator at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism for a decade before retiring last June, told Journal-isms by email, "Sad as this story is, it is not uncommon.

"During the financial crisis, beginning 2008, we heard from a number of potential Nieman applicants who reported that their editors would not support a Nieman application.


"Moreover, they were told that if they applied anyway and got a fellowship, they would have to resign to come to Harvard. A number of editors were quoted as saying that their paper would no longer support long-term fellowships. Others told Nieman aspirants that they could not afford to let them be away from the newsroom for a year.

"Many journalists applied anyway and I don't recall any instances of a forced resignation to accept a fellowship.


"As the economic crisis ebbed, beginning in 2010, the attitude of editors seemed to change; they once again wrote supporting letters and celebrated their journalists who were selected as Nieman Fellows. It is true, however, that the exact circumstances in the South African case this year are different in that Beauregard Tromp apparently was told only after he had been awarded a Nieman that his choice was to resign if he intended to accept the fellowship.

"While most fellows return to their news organizations after the fellowship, there have been increasing instances in the past five years or so where fellows chose to go another way at the end of the Nieman year."


Abigail Dennis, Cape Times, South Africa: SA Nieman fellow forced to quit job

Glenda Nevill, themediaonline.co.za, South Africa: Nieman Fellows and eNews tussle over Tromp


Retiring After 40 Years at L.A.'s City News Service

"They don't make journalism careers like this anymore," Richard Horgan wrote Monday for FishbowlLA.


"To put it in perspective, when Yet Lock first began his long service with downtown LA's City News Service, Samuel L. Yorty was our mayor, Wilt Chamberlain was getting ready to lead the Lakers to their first post-Minneapolis NBA championship and X-rated flick 'Behind the Green Door' would go on to earn a domestic theatrical gross of $50 million.

"Although Lock (pictured) is still tying up a few loose ends, CNS tells FishbowlLA he is essentially already retired. He joined the service as vp in January of 1972 and held that same post for 40 years, making him quite possibly the longest-service news executive in Southern California."


Support for Call to Boycott Anheuser-Busch

New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof won support this week for his call to boycott Anheuser-Busch over what he calls its exploitation of residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They cannot buy alcohol on the reservation, but they can do so in adjacent Whiteclay, Neb., which "sells more than four million cans of beer and malt liquor annually — because it is the main channel through which alcohol illegally enters" Pine Ridge," Michael Yudell, an associate professor at Drexel University School of Public Health who blogs for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote on Tuesday.


"The situation at Pine Ridge . . . is so extreme that it calls for unusual measures," Yudell said.

"And even if the beer companies walk away, as Kristof himself admits, some residents may just drive farther to get their fix. But it would be a start. And Anheuser-Busch and the other companies involved should do the right thing and not only walk away, but dedicate some of the $39 billion towards making the lives of those at Pine Ridge just a little bit better. If they don't, I wouldn't underestimate the power of one New York Times reporter's ability to move the public on this issue."


Luiz F. Edmond letter, New York Times: Alcohol and the Reservation: Anheuser-Busch’s View

A Priceless Bond

"With her child's birth, an adoptee discovers a priceless bond," reads the headline over a Mother's Day story posted Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. "Abandoned in Korea and arriving in the U.S. at 2 not knowing how to hug, a mother who had feared that detachment was part of her nature takes joy in her infant son." Times staff writer Corina Knoll wrote the first-person story. (Credit: Christina House for the Los Angeles Times)


John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: My best asset: A mother who gave reason to hope

Short Takes

In New York, "The Daily News has shut down its weekly Spanish-language publication, Hora Hispana, just a little over a year after relaunching it, Capital has learned," Joe Pompeo wrote Friday for capitalnewyork.com. "Maite Junco, a longtime News journalist who oversaw Hora Hispana and edited the paper's monthly 'Viva' section (as well as running the Latino vertical of nydailynews.com) has been let go, as have Hora Hispana editor Rodolfo Quebleen and sales rep Jose Santiago."


Zoe Saldana is the female star of the highest grossing movie of all time  (James Cameron's "Avatar"), and the female lead in J.J. Abrams' popular "Star Trek" franchise, Lee Hernandez wrote Friday for HuffPost LatinoVoices. "With that kind of resume, you would think actress Zoe Saldana could grace the cover of any magazine in the world. 'There are a lot of magazines that are still sort of…that only cater to a certain demographic and only put certain people on their covers,' she added. 'And that's fine — I never lose hope that one day certain big magazines can broaden their exposure of what is an American face,' added the half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican actress."

". . . despite countless hours of heated debate, shockingly little is known about the origins of the growing Latino presence in the U.S.," reads the blurb. "The new documentary 'Harvest of Empire' examines the direct correlation between long-standing U.S. intervention in Latin America and today’s immigration crisis. Adapted from the landmark book written by award-winning journalist Juan González of Democracy Now!, the film by Wendy Thompson and Eduardo López in conjunction with director Peter Getzels and editor Catherine Shields of Getzels Gordon Productions details the social conditions and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latino families to flee their homelands, triggering an unprecedented migration that is transforming America’s cultural and economic landscape." The film was to have been shown Wednesday at Hostos Community College in New York and is scheduled for the Brookings Institution in Washington on Tuesday.


"Writer-director Robert Rodriguez recently returned to his Alma Mater, the University of Texas at Austin, for a casual conversation moderated by his former professor Charles Ramirez Berg," Richard Horgan wrote Friday for FishbowlLA. "One of the central topics of discussion was El Rey, the national cable channel that Rodriguez will unleash in 2014 with help from Comcast. He has been traveling the country to promote the in-the-works outlet, which is designed to give Latino filmmakers a much needed public airwaves boost."

Quoting from Dan Rather's new book "Rather Outspoken," Justin Moyer wrote for the Washington Post, "CBS's focus on desegregation in the 1960s earned the network the nickname 'Colored Broadcasting System' and put Rather at the center of a historic movement. 'Dr. King and I were cordial, but we maintained a carefully defined separation,' he writes. 'I was closer to Medgar Evers, and our relationship was much less formal than the one I maintained with Dr. King. I considered Medgar a friend."


New York Post sports columnist Phil Mushnick, who was criticized last week for a hyphenated reference to a well-known racial epithet, made a mistake he had not considered, media writer Eric Deggans wrote Thursday for the National Sports Journalism Center: ". . . Thinking that someone has to be racist to say something racially insulting or rooted in prejudice."

"CBS News has added Manuel Bojorquez as a correspondent for the network, based out of Dallas, Texas, and M. Sanjayan as a science and environmental contributor," Alex Weprin reported Friday for TVNewser. "Bojorquez comes to CBS News from ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta, where he has been a reporter since 2006. . . . Sanjayan is lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy, where his fields of study focus on human well-being and conservation, wildlife ecology and environmental education."


The International Press Institute "welcomed the decision by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to work toward the repeal of criminal defamation laws in her country, which came amid other recent positive developments with respect to libel laws around the world," Steven Ellis and Naomi Hunt wrote Friday for the institute.

"The International Center for Journalists will offer two online courses in English and Spanish on covering marketing concepts such as how to plan for retirement, understanding your [401(k)], stock and bond markets, mutual funds and private and public companies, among others," TalkingBizNews reported this week. "These courses will be available to U.S. journalists who report in minority communities. . . . At the end of the online courses, three participants will receive a McGraw-Hill Personal Finance Award and cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500."


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.

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