Monday, January 28, 2008

Media and Liberal Biases Displayed?

MLK III and Caroline Kennedy: Why the Different Treatment? (Sirotablog)

"I was watching CNN on Saturday and the broadcast was broken into by a "breaking news" graphic letting the world know that Caroline Kennedy was going to write an op-ed saying nice things about Barack Obama. This "breaking news" was then repeated for the rest of the evening, and was echoed throughout the rest of the media.

That's all fine, but here's what's troubling: Other than brief mentions in print newspapers, why was there no news at all when Martin Luther King III released a letter praising John Edwards campaign?

Now, you can say it's because King didn't "officially" endorse Edwards and Kennedy "officially" endorsed Obama, but I'd say that's a huge stretch in explaining the difference in coverage. King's letter was about as strongly supportive as I've seen a surrogate be, and in begging Edwards to stay in the race, it both indicted the other candidates and was certainly newsworthy within the ongoing storyline of "should Edwards stay in or drop out?"

So again - why the difference? It is a really important question about the inherent biases in our media debate - biases that are both race- and class-based. It is news when the offspring of powerful whites signal it is acceptable to vote for a black candidate, but not news when the offspring of America's foremost black civil rights leader signals support for a white candidate. At the even deeper level of economic class, the media respects wealth and Establishment power, and so it is "breaking news" when a the daughter of John F. Kennedy - the icon of the Kennedy clan - says nice things about a candidate, but not news when the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. - the head of a movement of poor and disenfranchised people - says nice things about a candidate..."

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