The Angst-Ridden Assassination Angle

| 3/7/2008 5:41:43 PM

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

3/16/2008 10:26:58 PM

I want to be provocative here. Some people on this board are wondering out loud why there seems to be more attention given to the possibility of Obama being assassinated instead of Clinton. The reason, I believe, is because this country has a very recent history of public murder and torture of black men for sport. I think it was a couple decades ago. A lot of those people are still alive, and their ideologies, though tempered survive as well. Throughout all of human history, I would have to give it to women for enduring constant discrimination across cultural, racial, and ethnic divides. However, at this particular point in this nation and time the black man is in more danger of bodily harm. Now, is America more ready for a black man or a white woman for the presidency? That is a completely different question.

3/12/2008 6:06:16 AM

I have a weird theory about assassination. I think that sometimes people are assassinated not because someone hates them but because someone loves them and knows they cannot have them in their lives.

3/11/2008 6:55:37 PM

I think there is a real possibility that both Democratic candidates face a real threat especially if one actually makes it to the White House-anyone who doesn't believe it lives in some kind of a bubble. Prejudice and misogyny are alive and well in the USA. I think one of the reasons we cringe when we hear journalists bring it up because we are aware of the possibility. The US loves to deny it’s racism and sexism even as we swim in it.

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