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Posted by on Apr 26, 2010 in Politics | 0 comments

A Case Study In 21st Century Political Spin and Hot-Button Pushing

If historians and journalism professors in years from now want a little time capsule example of 21st century political spin and hot-button pushing SAVE THIS POST. Here’s a classic example of a solid piece of for-the-record journalism reporting on The Politico and how it resurfaces as A SCREAMING HEADLINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at the top of the Drudge Report, which often sets the tone for conservative radio and cable talk shows, the assumptions upon which some reporters ask questions and media must-do-today story idea sheets.

First, there’s this piece on The Politico with the headline: Obama seeks to ‘reconnect…young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women’ for 2010. Here’s the first part of it which contains a video of Barack Obama:

The Democratic National Committee this morning released this clip of the president rallying the troops, if rather coolly, for 2010. Obama’s express goal: “reconnecting” with the voters who voted for the first time in 2008, but who may not plan to vote in the lower-profile Congressional elections this year.

Obama speaks with unusual demographic frankness about his coalition in his appeal to “young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again.”

The Politico notes that turning out these surge voters is something of great importance to the Dems in the mid-term elections.

Fair enough. This post is further confirmation of something many on this site and a zillion other political blogs and mainstream reporters have noted: in order for the Democrats to win they need to get out the vote by getting out people who voted for the Dems last time and won the election.

And the Drudge Report headline?

It links to the SAME Politico piece as we did here. Nothing new is added on another page. But here is its headline IN SCREAMING LETTERS (sorry we cannot reproduce the size here):
OBAMA PLAYS RACE CARD: RALLIES BLACKS, LATINOS FOR ’10 UPSET

Excuse me but:

1. Did I miss something in the Politico piece? Where did it suggest he is planning to play a “race card”? Or is trying to get Hispanic, Black, young voters racist or sexist? If a party or candidate holds a rally trying to get those voters they are playing the race card? If the Republicans in coming months feel they may have lost ground with Hispanic voters on the new immigration law and move to try to mend fences is that “playing the race card?” “Playing the race card” has had an entirely different meaning than how it is implied here. But that’s how the bar is lowered on our political discourse: meanings are changed (or jettisoned) for political expediency. When George W. Bush spoke in Spanish to Latino voter was he “playing the race card?”

And could it be that if someone charges someone who is black or Hispanic is playing the race card when the person is not “playing the race card” that the accuser is, in fact, himself playing the race card?

2. Where is there ANYTHING in that Politico piece — which is short (go to the link and read it yourself and compare) that says or gives solid evidence of what that other headline says?

3. Obama’s comments on the video are hardly new, inflammatory or even that interesting. They are a medley of his past comments. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ. So where is “the race card’ being played on the video?

In case you don’t want to go to the link here is the video so you can watch it here and judge for yourself.

This is typical of how politics works: everything must be frame in terms of the most red-meat, hot-button terms to rouse up the faithful. Even if in terms of what is being ranted about it’s a bunch of THIS.

In the end, the rallies could involve someone playing a “race card.” But the Politico report that’s linked by DR does not say what that headline says at all.

It’s pure, partisan button-pushing — which will translate (just you watch) into blog posts, indignant talk radio hosts, cable hosts asking about plans to play the “race card.” Who cares if it’s accurate or not? It’s a great chance to get indignant and arouse hatreds about an opponent. It’s (these days) as American as apple pie.