CAN BLACK JOURNALISTS COVER OBAMA?

Aug 9, 2008 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

This question is certainly interesting from a journalistic perspective, but at the same time the question seems invalid. Jeff Winbush, a freelance journalist, writes that he is a black man first and a journalist last, and so he supports Obama first rather than maintaining complete objectivity as a journalist. But there are two arguments that I propose that makes this question obsolete.

First, as Winbush notes in his article, a journalist can never be completely objective, which applies to white journalists covering white politicians as well. Some black journalists support Obama, and their support may show in their writing. But just as many white journalists support McCain and other presidential candidates in the past, yet the question of their objectivity, especially along the lines of race, is never brought into question.

The second argument is that not all black journalists or black citizens support Obama. African Americans do not simply align their presidential convictions on race alone, just as all women didn’t automatically support Hilary Clinton because she was a woman. During political races, many factors for one person’s decision come into play, not least of which is one’s political ideals. All African Americans are not democrats and are not, therefore, automatically Obama supporters.

The question of whether black journalists can cover Obama is a fairly ridiculous concept, especially when asked so broadly. Journalists’ integrity she be evaluated on an individual basis only, not by race, gender, religion, etc.

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Entry filed under: journalism, race. Tags: , , , .

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