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Monday, January 14, 2008


Race, gender, and politics

This morning on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman hosted a debate (or "conversation" if you prefer) between Gloria Steinem, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University and Obama supporter, on the subject of race and gender in politics. Apparently Steinem upset Harris-Lacewell with an op-ed in the New York Times in which she hypothesizes that Obama would never have achieved the success he has had he been a black woman. Despite the fact that the subject of "black women" came up repeatedly during the 40-minute or so debate, and despite the fact that the "Headlines" segment of the show had featured a quote from potential Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, Goodman never once asked Steinem or Harris-Lacewell about McKinney, nor did they mention her. Nor, by the way, did the discussion cover a single "issue" other than Clinton's vote in favor of the invasion of Iraq. The context of the discussion suggested that Steinem would probably support any female candidate ("female human being" in Steinem's rather bizarre language) running and Harris-Lacewell any black, which then begs the question of why Goodman didn't ask how they felt about the possibility of Condoleezza Rice running for President.

On the actual issues front, a different story. Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times featuring an article which led its web page with this headline: "Label the unions divided over Clinton and Obama." John Edwards has been endorsed by four national unions representing millions of workers: the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the United Steelworkers of America, the United Mine Workers of America and the Transport Workers Union. His name does not appear in the article. Just in case you were laboring under the misconception that the media's job was the report the news, rather than shape it.

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