A Demographic Shellacking?

Romney supporters react to the candidate's concession speech in Boston. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Romney supporters react to the candidate's concession speech in Boston. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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 FoxNewsLatino.com.


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."


Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Rep. Joe Walsh gets the boot

Tom Cohen, CNN: Obama takes key battlegrounds to win re-election

Wayne Dawkins, Politics In Color: Virginia came through again for Obama

David J. Dent, New York University: Triumph of Truth In Ohio

E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Obama's victory should settle a bitter argument


Ross Douthat, New York Times: The Obama Realignment

Charles D. Ellison, Uptown: Boom! — How Obama Sunk Romney's Battleship

David Folkenflik, NPR: Media Circus: Fox Struggles With Obama's Win

Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Race and Beyond: Final Lessons from the Campaign Trail (Nov. 6)


Emil Guillermo blog: Asian Americans were part of Obama Coalition in big numbers, but with some intra-ethnic differences, AALDEF exit poll shows

Susan Page, USA Today: Analysis: A nation moving further apart

Joy-Ann Reid, the Grio: Politico's definition of presidential mandate diminishes women, minorities


Greg Sargent, Washington Post: A big night for Democrats and liberals

Michael D. Shear, New York Times: Demographic Shift Brings New Worry for Republicans


DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: The Republicans' last hurrah (Nov. 5)

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.' "


"Angry Asian Man," angryasianman.com: historic election night for asian americans

Wayne Bennett, Field Negro: The last laugh.

Andrew Bentley, Quartz: Why it's more significant that America elected a black president for a second term


Lawrence D. Bobo, the Root: Obama's Win: An Inflection Point: Here's why the president's re-election is more important than his win in 2008

Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: Fox News Election Coverage: Questions Turn From President Obama's Victory To 2nd Term Mandate (VIDEO)


Gregory Clay, McClatchy-Tribune News Service: We may see more 'flexible' Obama during second term

Michael Cottman, Black America Web: Job Well Done, Mr. President

Mary C. Curtis, Creative Loafing Charlotte: Election 2012 Notebook: An old-school celebration of four more years


Joe Davidson, Washington Post: Federal employees know what to expect with Obama

Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Race, media and the 2012 election: What to do when the dog whistles fail


Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Three things I learned about political media from endless Obama/Romney election coverage

Vince Duffy, Radio Television Digital News Association: As Nation Moves Forward, Political Ads Disguised As News Need to Go!


Wil Haygood and DeNeen Brown, Washington Post: For many blacks, Obama's reelection cements his legacy

Andrew Hough, the Telegraph, London: Barack Obama wins US election: how newspapers recorded history


Charles Howard, HuffPost BlackVoices: The Psychological and Existential Experience of Seeing a Black President Win Reelection

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: How President Obama Can Now Govern

Nat Ives, Ad Age: Newspaper Endorsements: The Final Tally for Obama and Romney (Nov. 5)


Latina Lista: Overwhelming support of Obama gives rise to new questions for Latinos' political future

Richard Lawson, the Atlantic: Fox News Lost the Election Too, But Let's Not Gloat


Bryan Llenas, Fox News Latino: Obama Win Fueled by Latino Voter Muscle, FOX Exit Polls Show

Mark Hugo Lopez and Paul Taylor, Pew Hispanic Center: Latino Voters in the 2012 Election


David Montgomery, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.: Election: Noem dominates Varilek, and Charles Trimble, Indian Country Today: A political kiss of death from Lakota columnist

Ugonna Okpalaoka, the Grio: Election 2012: From Allen West to Mia Love - a bad night for black Republicans


Andrew O'Reilly, Fox News Latino: Obama Re-Election Thrusts Attention to Latin America

Jeremy W. Peters and Brian Stelter, New York Times: On Fox News, a Mistrust of Pro-Obama Numbers Lasts Late Into the Night


Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: No Consensus View on Election Outcome

Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center: For the Radical Right, Obama Victory Brings Fury and Fear


Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Latino: President Obama Earns Re-Election Approval From Latino Vote

Frank Sharry, HuffPost LatinoVoices: How the Immigration Debate Changed the Course of the 2012 Election (Nov. 5)


Margaret Sullivan, New York Times: Times Was Slower, but Sure, in Calling the Presidential Election

Georg Szalai, Hollywood Reporter: President Obama's Re-Election: How the News Media Around the Globe Covered It


TMZ: Stacey Dash: Epic 1,344 Word Rant About Election Depression

Alex Weprin, TVNewser: 66.8 Million People Watched Election In Primetime, Down From 2008


Juan Williams, Fox News Latino: Latinos Make American History, GOP Pays the Bill

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 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."

Short Takes

Slate editor David Plotz joked on Twitter Wednesday, "White guys, don't feel bad. We dominated democracy since Athens 508 BC. That's 2500 yrs! But what we will do now? Sports? World of Warcraft?" He also asked, "Who will be more forgotten by history: Mike Dukakis or Mitt Romney? On Monday, Slate told readers, "We asked Slate's staff and contributors to tell us whom they're voting for on Election Day and why." Plotz told Journal-isms the list was incomplete and that there is diversity among the staff.


Journal-isms asked Robert Vickers, a black journalist and political writer at the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., who wrote a column last week supporting Mitt Romney, for his post-election thoughts Wednesday. "I'm currently focused on election postmortems and haven't had time to reflect further," he said in an email. "But I don't foresee any changes to my assignment or my role at the newspaper." Rufus M. Friday, publisher of the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., an African American who endorsed Romney, did not reply to an emailed request for comment.

"Advertising directed to Hispanics often runs in Spanish-language media outlets, but in what Rolling Stone says is a first in its 45-year history, the magazine is about to feature Spanish ads in a special section," Andrew Adam Newman wrote Tuesday for the New York Times. "The Nov. 22 issue, with a cover featuring Daniel Craig (as James Bond), has a secondary cover on the back page, also featuring the Rolling Stone nameplate but with cover lines entirely in Spanish and featuring the performer Pitbull. . . . The issue, available on newsstands Friday, has articles written in English with interview sidebars in Spanish — and no translations."


A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Mark Basseley Youssef, the filmmaker behind 'Innocence of Muslims,' the anti-Islam film that sparked rioting across the globe, to a year behind bars after the man admitted to violating the terms of his release from an earlier conviction, Victoria Kim reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times.

"New York-based entertainment reporter Julie Chang will join Fox 11's 'Good Day L.A.' as the morning show's entertainment reporter and anchor," Greg Braxton reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times. ". . . Chang, who most recently worked for Fox-owned WNYW Fox 5, will also be the entertainment reporter for 'Fox 11 Morning News.' "


The Women's Media Center announced that its 2012 Women's Media Awards will honor Sarah Hoye, all platform journalist for CNN. Hoye is to receive the Carol Jenkins Emerging Journalist Award.

Pansy Tlakula, commissioner of the African Commission on Human Peoples' Rights, wants to see legal conditions implemented in Africa that allow journalists the freedom to do their jobs, Stanley Kwenda wrote Sunday for the Inter Press Service. By way of background, Gambia arrested Amadou Scattred Janneh and three others in June for printing and distributing T-shirts that called for an end to the dictatorship in the Gambia. Janneh, who is also a U.S. citizen, is the country's former minister of information and communications. He "had been charged with treason and jailed for life and was only released after U.S. civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson intervened," Kwenda wrote.


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.