Thursday, March 5, 2009

Less 'Dog-Whistle' Journalism More Reporting

Coates caught something I missed in a Politico article I got a pretty good chuckle out of. Anyone that's followed this blog over the last couple months knows about my misgivings towards Politico.

TNC money quote from Politico:
On matters of racial identity, many observers in the African-American community say he benefits from what's known as "dog-whistle politics."His language, mannerisms and symbols resonate deeply with his black supporters, even as the references largely sail over the heads of white audiences.
See, this last line flew over my head. I just laughed at the premise of the article. The examples of "dog-whistle" politics they used never sailed over my head. If anything, Politico left out the best example of Obama's comfort with Millenial slang. This hip-hop vernacular was never more apparent during the primaries when Obama dusted the dirt off his shoulders. The larger question of joining the white audience as one isn't fair or accurate. Older white voters may miss much of this, but many of us Millenials know exactly what Obama means when he says, “Nah, we straight.”

The problem with Politico is they have two audiences. Inside the D.C political journalism sphere and Drudge. It's possible that neither audience may catch on to Obama's phrasing. The older, conservative audience on the Drudge already believe they are America and most importantly, they are white America. D.C journalists also believe their voice and worldview are the only ones that matter. I'm disappointed with the journalist who wrote the piece. Nia-Malika Henderson is one of the only African-American journalists at Politico. As such, I'd expect a less myopic article. She had the opportunity to explain Obama's vernacular was not obvious to an older white audience, but this only proves how language has changed this decade and Obama's connection to this evolution can help explain his appeal to Millenials and black supporters.
Now playing: Animal Collective - In The Flowers

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