The 50 Cent Effect


That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

James Poniewozik of Time delves into the reasons for the media’s hyper coverage of the Obama family.

“After Obama won, there was talk of a “Huxtable effect”–the idea that pop-cultural portrayals of African Americans from The Cosby Show to 24’s David Palmer readied white America for a black President. But maybe there’s an opposite factor at work here too–the 50 Cent effect. The impact of the Obamas comes partly from the unspoken contrast to a decades-old media archive of images of black people as problems or threats, from news to cop shows to hip-hop. Broken families, perp walks, AKs and Cristal.”

More on “Milk”: USA Today looks at the ties between the new movie and the Prop 8 debate.

Sanb Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom starts to suggest that the movie should have come out before the election, to help defeat the proposition. “But maybe it’s good it’s out now,” he says. “‘Milk’ is such a hopeful movie, and people need to believe again.”

Rob Epstein, director of the doc “The Times of Harvey Milk,” writes on Huffington Post: “Although there are many parallels to be made between Proposition 6 (1978) and Proposition 8 (2008) there are also many differences. Unlike Proposition 8, Proposition 6 had a name, a face, and a personality as its figurehead in the person of State Senator John Briggs. Briggs came across as a seemingly opportunistic and somewhat ineffectual politician, but regardless of his baboonery, the issue that he and his supporters tapped into — “gay teachers” — was volatile enough to find large-scale support among the electorate. Only one month before the election it looked as if it would be a very close vote, with the majority of California voters in favor of its passage.

“On the other side, we had Harvey Milk as our figurehead, a “community organizer” who understood the value and importance of a well-coordinated grass-roots campaign. As a coordinated master plan, Harvey debated Briggs in high school gyms and on TV and radio, while an army of well-trained volunteers went about “canvassing” door-to-door, speaking with people on the streets and in the shopping centers about the potential consequences of the “anti-gay” Briggs Initiative. Eventually, enough voters were convinced that the measure was both unnecessary and a possible violation of constitutional rights. Proposition 6 went down by a resounding 59 to 42 percent. “

Obama Bias: Time’s Mark Halperin said at a USC post-election panel on Friday that the media’s coverage of the election was “the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.” As an example, he cited the New York Times profiles of Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama in the waning days of the campaign. “The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn’t talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that’s ever been written about her.” The story of Michelle Obama, by contrast, was like a “front-page endorsement.” The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Barabak had a different take, and New York’s John Heileman, who is co-authoring a book on the 2008 race with Halperin, said, “The biggest bias in the press is toward effectiveness.” Politico’s take on the event here.

Happy Birthday Hilary: Via Haddad Media comes this 50th birthday video for Hilary Rosen, with a message from the “other Hillary” and  a certain vice presidential contender.

Happy Birthday from Haddad Media on Vimeo.

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  1. Jessica says:

    I think the media coverage on this election was really biased but excitement isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People were really thrilled not to have to look at another old white man that they have nothing in common with standing next to his picture perfect stepford wife. Suddenly they had someone to kind of look up to (even though they are the most politically correct family ever) they had a little something the people could relate to. Now that the election is over, people need to not lie back and say great, the right thing happened, every thing’s better now but continue to realize that not everyone voted for him. Attitudes everywhere have shifted but not necessarily changed. I recently got to see a press screening of Cadillac Records coming out Dec 5th and the social parallels are pretty hard to ignore. Besides the star-studded cast and the absolutely beautifully restored Caddy’s, the movie is about the media and the American people acknowledging black culture in a way it never had before. Yes, attitudes in 1950’s Chicago were different, but talk to anyone working for Halliburton an they’ve got some pretty bitten racist jokes to tell.

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