Obama’s racist speech to racist group literally transcribed: that’s a liKKKin!

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One of the most subtle ways print reporters show bias is inconsistency in how sources quotes are handled. It’s common practice to “clean up” a quote for publication. No one needs to know all of the pauses and “hrms” that accompanied someone’s words. “Gonna” becomes “going to” and “wanna” becomes “want to.”

But what do you do if someone mispronounces a word or “drops a g” when they talk about “runnin’ for office”? Sometimes you’re not even sure if, say, the g was dropped. So you just include it. Other times the dropped ‘g” is so obvious and for such dramatic effect that it would be more unethical to include it than leave it out. But most of the time, the question is much muddier and hard to decide.

I remember noting during the 2008 campaign that Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were both likely to “drop a g” while on the campaign trail. Both are effective campaigners who know that speaking like a typical person endears you to an audience. Live audiences tend to be much more receptive to such linguistic maneuvers than print readers are, though.

When their words were written up, only Palin’s were transcribed as she spoke them. Reporters typically cleaned up Obama’s words for publication. Is this disparity the end of the world? Certainly not, but it’s worth considering as you read your newspaper and notice which individuals get the Palin treatment and which individuals get the Obama treatment.

Except now Obama got the Palin treatment and some folks aren’t happy. When President Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus last weekend, he gave a very effective speech that included myriad “dropped g’s.” The Associated Press transcribed it accurately and caught flak from MSNBC…



  1. John A
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |

    The Associated Press transcribed it accurately and caught flak from MSNBC

    Now, that’s funny!

  2. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 9:02 am |

    No friggin’ idea what they’re talkin’ about.

  3. Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:51 am |

  4. Windy Wilson
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:57 am |

    Where’s my pocket-sized violin?

  5. SondraK, TEA Party zombie
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:59 am |


  6. MCPO
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    Karen Hunter is NOT a journalist. She is a paid operative of the DNC.

  7. SondraK, TEA Party zombie
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    Yea, but…
    Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Confessions of a Video Vixen, On the Down Low, and Wendy’s Got the Heat. She is also an assistant professor in the Film & Media Department at Hunter College.
    A former sports and news reporter, Karen Hunter served on the editorial board of the Daily News for four years, where she was a member of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize- and Polk-winning teams. She has also co-authored the bestselling I Make My Own Rules, the autobiography of L.L. Cool J. With Queen Latifah, she co-wrote Ladies First, a memoir/self-empowerment book for women that made the New York Times extended bestsellers list. She has collaborated with Mason Betha, formerly the rapper Mase, and is the co-author of Al on America with Rev. Al Sharpton…

  8. MCPO
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    Like I said. . .

  9. Merovign
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm |

    What is the difference between a “journalist” and an operative of the DNC?

  10. J.T.
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm |

    Putting on my tinfoil hat for a moment, what if the good (but confused) people of Florida were partly right, and actually made the 1st sighting of a new, more moderate hate group?

    OK, dislike group – because, a hate group with sprinkles?


    Call it the Ice Cream Klan, or ICK for short.

  11. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    The Klan with a cone at both ends.
    As a matter of fact, why not the Kone Kone Kone? (caution: spew alert)

    Oh, and Stilton?
    [insert lusty guffaw, here]

    Wait, why didn’t they think the guy was just French (@ :12sec)?