Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Election a "Demographic Shellacking"

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Results Point to Lesson on News Media Diversity

Gingrich, Will, Limbaugh, Morris All Predicted Wrong

Columnist Helen Ubinas Joining Philly Daily News

Short Takes

President Obama hugs his campaign manager, Jim Messina, during an unannounced st

Results Point to Lesson on News Media Diversity

More than an hour before the networks declared Tuesday night that President Obama had been reelected, Chuck Todd delivered a message on MSNBC that should resonate through the news media.

"The story of this election is the story of demographics," Todd said. Speaking of the Republicans, he said, "They are getting clobbered with nonwhite voters."

After Obama delivered his victory speech, Todd was even more blunt, saying, "This was a demographic shellacking that took place tonight."

On CNN, David Gergen, part of a panel of pundits, was equally unequivocal: "It's so dangerous to [have one party] represent people leaving the stage and another for people coming onto the stage."

Advocates for diversity in the news media have been delivering these messages for years. One could substitute "news product" for "party" and see the parallel.

Census figures put the combined population of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans at 37 percent and growing, a far cry from the 12.3 percent counted in the 2012 newsroom census from the American Society of News Editors.

That ASNE survey also said total newsroom employment at daily newspapers declined by 2.4 percent, while the loss in positions held by journalists of color was 5.7 percent. This, while ASNE has a goal of matching by 2025 the percentage of journalists of color with the percentage of blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans in the general populace.

"Obama prevailed among the two minority groups that supported him in large numbers in 2008: Latinos and African Americans," Emily Schultheis wrote for Politico, reporting on the exit polls.

"Ninety-three percent of African-American voters backed Obama, while just 6 percent . . . backed Romney. Turnout among the demographic remained steady at 13 percent of the overall electorate." The reference was to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"Obama's support increased with Hispanic voters: he won 69 percent of the demographic, compared with 29 percent for Romney. That 40-point deficit is slightly higher than his 36-point victory among Hispanic voters in 2008. [Others had the Hispanic total at 71 percent or 75 percent.]

"And the president saw higher backing among Asian voters, who sided with him by a 49-point margin, 74 percent to 25 percent. The margin was 27 points in 2008."

The racial divide was clear on the cable news networks that have chosen their constituencies. When their cameras panned Romney supporters, they showed a nearly all-white crowd. When they went to Obama headquarters in Chicago, the crowd suddenly exuded diversity. [Except for the media room, Michael H. Cottman of Black America Web reports. On Wednesday, he messaged Journal-isms, "Few of us in the media room at McCormick Place last night," referencing black journalists. ". . . You had to search for us."]

Meanwhile, in the studio, "As the evening had progressed for Fox and it became clear that Romney, the clear favorite of most of its audience, would find it hard to win, commentators like Sarah Palin and Peggy Noonan looked stricken," David Bauder reported for the Associated Press.

Fox, the network of choice at Romney's election-night ballroom event, according to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, also showed ". . . the bizarre spectacle of Fox News Channel analyst Karl Rove, a major fundraiser for Republican Mitt Romney, publicly questioning his network's declaration that President Barack Obama had been re-elected," Bauder reported. Michael Clemente, Fox News Channel executive vice president of news editorial, later said that far from an embarrassment, the incident proved Rove's value to the network as more than an analyst.

Fox host Bill O'Reilly said, "Obama wins because it's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama," according to mediaite.

On CNN, by contrast, analyst Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, was questioning the media's pre-election descriptions of an "enthusiasm gap."

"The enthusiasm gap was a myth. There was a backlash against the backlash," Jones said, noting the long lines at the polls, particularly among African Americans.

Jones' fellow panelist, CNN contributor Ana Navarro, the national Hispanic co-chair of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, warned ruefully, "If we don't do better with Hispanics, we'll be out of the White House forever."

Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, had written similarly in a election eve piece for NBCLatino, "The road to the White House is through El Barrio." Balta was part of the election night coverage on

Yet as Chris Matthews noted on MSNBC, Romney's primary-campaign statement that some who in the country illegally should "self-deport" was no slip of the tongue.

Still, on CNN, even Republican commentators noted that despite the GOP defeat, there is no guarantee that the party is willing to change.

Discussing Obama, Joel Kotkin wrote for the Daily Beast, ". . . despite his poetic, inclusive victory speech — this alliance of people of color could create a potential tragedy for our democracy. This is not because of the final result, but because it suggests that, unless there is some massive change in GOP politics, we may see a re-hardening of politics along racial lines."

Let's hope this is one area where the parallel with the news business ends.

As Obama said of voters in his victory speech, "We're not as cynical as the pundits believe."

Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and 2012 GOP presidential primary candidate,

Gingrich, Will, Limbaugh, Morris All Predicted Wrong

"With Florida still out we have yet to crown a winner of our election pundit predictions contest, but we have dubbed a lot of people wrong losers in the race to be the predictive champion," Rebecca Greenfield wrote Wednesday for the Atlantic.

"Now that we've outed them as poor tea leaf readers, it's time for the justification phase of pundit predictions. While some of our political talking heads are bashful, admitting that they were plain wrong, not all of these pundits want to accept the truth. Guys, take it from [Mitt] Romney, a noble concession speech is the way to go in these situations. . . . "

Greenfield names former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the Washington Examiner's Michael Barone, Ross Douthat of the New York Times, Dick Morris of the Hill, Republican strategist Karl Rove of Fox News, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America added radio hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, columnist George Will, the conservative website Newsmax and Larry Kudlow, anchor of CNBC's primetime program "The Kudlow Report."

"What was different this time was the spectacle of a whole slate of Obama-hating conservatives who claimed that despite very clear polling evidence to the contrary, that Mitt Romney would win the election in a 'landslide,' " Boehlert wrote. "Not only would the Republican defeat Obama, but he'd also do it sweeping, historic fashion."

Michael Calderone added on the Huffington Post, "Fox News contributor Dick Morris, who two days ago predicted a 'landslide' win for Mitt Romney, argued Wednesday morning on 'Fox & Friends' that President Barack Obama doesn't have a clear mandate to govern, even with a resounding electoral victory.

"Morris wasn't shy about offering his 2 cents on the election's outcome, despite being off by more than 100 electoral votes, along with conservative pundits Michael Barone and George Will. Morris even went a step further by saying that it's now time to 'stand up against this socialist agenda and stop [Obama] from fundamentally changing the United States.' "

Columnist Helen Ubinas Joining Philly Daily News

"I'm quite pleased to report that Helen Ubinas, a veteran columnist and national award winner, will be joining us next month as a city columnist," Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, wrote to staff members on Monday.

Helen Ubinas"Helen wrote a twice-weekly, heavily reported column at the Hartford Courant for about 10 years, covering topics ranging from the corrupt administration of Hartford's former mayor to the horrific home-invasion murders that stunned Connecticut. She is an avid blogger, and some of us are already connected to her via Twitter. In fact, she was the first Connecticut reporter to live-tweet developments from high-profile cases.

"Before becoming a full-fledged columnist, she wrote a weekly column off of the city desk and was a key player in covering city news. She was a member of the paper's team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for the amazing work done when a Connecticut lottery worker killed four supervisors and then turned the gun on himself. She has also won numerous awards from local and national organizations, including the Scripps Howard Foundation and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

"Helen, who grew up in the Bronx, is a graduate of Boston University, has a master's in American studies from Trinity College, and was a Knight Fellow at Stanford."

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Obama's winning hand: white electorate

According to all of the pundit, the absence of the white vote would doom Obama in his bid for a second term. Yet reality as always trumps fiction and disinformation. The white electorate in our post- racial era stepped up for Obama. Yep, you read it right. White voters refused to be disarmed by the peer pressure of tradition and historical whiteness. The white electorate were the tipping point. Their willingness and reasoned selection of merit over fiction won the day. I am now dreaming of a White Christmas.

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