Posted by: ethurman | July 13, 2009

Media Justice for Sotomayor

This article is from the Huffington Post and discusses the fairness and accuracy of media coverage of Judge Sotomayor.  This website shows the video mentioned in the article and seen in this post.  Although we have primarily discussed partisan bias in the media, I think it is also important to consider gender bias.  What do people think about about how Sotomayor’s coverage compares to that of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton?  Granted this video focuses on the most negative comments about Sotomayor, it still shows how strong personal attacks can be.  Although Palin was heavily criticised for being unprepared and even unintelligent, the attacks on Sotomayor seem more personal and far more serious.   Also, if you consider the attacks from a racial standpoint, it is interesting to compare Obama’s coverage to Sotomayor’s.  As our readings remind us, Obama was and is a media favorite.  I think that it is quite relevant and significant that an African-American was able to win the hearts of the media with such ease.  Is there a difference in how Obama and Sotomayor address and discuss their race that leads them to be treated differently by the media?  Is there a certain way that minorities (or women) must act in order to be accepted by the press?

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Responses

  1. I agree the media’s coverage of Sotomayor has been overwhelmingly negative, and judging by the video you posted, embarrassingly racist.

    Some of the things that pundits have said of Sotomayor (granted, coming from outrageous talking heads like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Coulter), would never have been shrugged off as mere “opinion” if they’d said the same about Obama being black. I think the media has failed in a number of regards here: they’ve let down America by giving airtime to racists and they’ve focused on the racist dialogue rather than fairly, but harshly scrutinizing Sotomayor’s qualifications and past. They did the same with Palin, but have just added Hispanic stereotypes to the sexist mix of jokes and jibes.

    The biggest difference between the coverage of Sotomayor and that of Obama, Palin and (Hillary) Clinton is the fact that Sotomayor is not a politician. She is a judge, and shouldn’t have to play this game the same way those who have signed on for politics do.

    Just as we shouldn’t use the N-word just because we have a black friend, a black Commander in Chief doesn’t give us free reign to drag other elasticities through the mud. I think these few articles (though dated) give some insight to the racism still rampant in D.C. and the United States.

    Politicians: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/08/12/when_diversity_is_only_skin_deep/

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-segel/2005/09/26/does-media-promote-racism

    A course for clueless journalists?: http://www.newsu.org/courses/course_detail.aspx?id=nwsu_coveringRaceWebinar08


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