Utne Blogs > Media

The Angst-Ridden Assassination Angle

by Staff


Tags: Barack Obama, assassination, election coverage,

There’s really no way to tiptoe around when writing about the possibility-of-assassination hype surrounding Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. As a journalist, you either take the plunge into sewage-clogged waters and brace yourself for silly claims about feeding the imagination of racist psychos, or you don’t.

Adam Reilly, in a recent article in the Phoenix, tries to play both sides by justifying writing about the (ridiculous) media coverage the issue has received with the (even more ridiculous) media coverage concerning how said coverage might actually increase the odds of said possibility. Besides being dizzyingly circuitous, the argument is patently lacking in something Stephen Colbert claims America has in spades: balls. Is the subject really so taboo?

Only if you think the reality of racist nut jobs with a propensity for lethal violence should be swept under the rug. Of course he’s a target, in some reactionary’s wet dream, if not in reality. And that’s worth covering. What isn’t worth covering is why some people think it shouldn’t be covered, pseudoscientific ideas concerning how covering it would affect the odds of it happening, or anything else having to do with meta-analyzing the topic.

And here’s a new rule: When discussing how worried we all are about an attempt on Senator Obama’s life, there’s no need to point out how terrible a thing it is to reflect on. We already know. And chances are, if somebody doesn’t think the assassination of our first truly viable black presidential candidate would be an enormous national tragedy, then call the Secret Service, because that’s probably the guy everyone’s worried about.

Morgan Winters