Monday, November 19, 2012

Race-Baiting in the NYT

Re: "In Wyoming, Conservatives Feeling Left Behind," New York Times, Nov. 19, 2012.

What is the purpose of this story? It is not often I read an article in the New York Times, or any newspaper for that matter, and ask that question but nonetheless... I mean why was reporter Jack Healy assigned it? What are the text-book "news values" (timeliness, proximity, impact, bizarre/unusual) it conveys?

Here's what I got from the article: Two weeks after the presidential election, racist, white red-necks from a deeply conservative southern state can't get over the fact that a black man is still president. That's the entire story in a nutshell. I was pretty "baffled" after George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, but no national newspapers ran to my town to interview me about it.

Which begs another curious question: Why would the "liberal" NY Times run a story like this at all? I mean isn't the Times a Communist paper? Indeed, Healy paints a rather sympathetic picture of these racist dinosaurs, err, I mean "Republicans."

For that matter, the story is not particularly "balanced" in the typical objective journalism tradition. Healy talks to five Wyoming residents who clearly are unhappy with the election results. Traditional "objective" reporting (I use quotation marks because, of course, there is no such thing) would suggest he then "balance" those five out with another batch who are supportive of Obama. But Healy does no such thing. The picture he paints of Wyoming is one exclusively populated by "self-reliant," white conservatives.

The story's one saving grace is its acknowledgment that Wyoming, like most "red states" collects more federal money than it contributes--which makes the comments of those interviewed about Obama supporters being "parasites" smack of hypocrisy. As FAIR's Jim Naureckas writes, "the story is roughly one part reality to 12 parts self-congratulatory race-baiting."

I would have to concur.


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