Newly-declared Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden granted an interview with The New York Observer to generate publicity to boost his announcement. Biden got the publicity--his gaffe was Story of the Day--but not the boost. In an attempt to praise his rival Barack Obama as a "mainstream" African-American who was "clean" and "bright" and "articulate," he implied that those traits were generally rare in that ethnic group and that Obama's black predecessors on the campaign trail had lacked those qualities. NBC made Biden's blunder its lead.

NBC's David Gregory reminded us that this was not the first time the loquacious Irish-American had lapsed into stereotypes: he was recorded last year on C-SPAN equating 7-11 and Dunkin' Donuts stores with Indian-Americans. As for Obama, he told a senator that he was "not taking the remarks personally," ABC's Jake Tapper reported. But why should he? Biden was complimenting him. The slur, such as it was, was against Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Carole Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton that they were non-mainstream, dirty and dull. Obama came to their defense: "No one would call them inarticulate."

CBS' Gloria Borger worried that such misstatements will dominate coverage of Campaign 2008. "I am afraid we are of course in the day of YouTube. Every movement of every candidate is going to be chronicled for better and for worse. This time we have plenty of candidates and there is unlimited space for them to talk on the Internet."

The only trouble with this theory is that Biden said what he said while talking with a newspaper, printed on dead trees. "It was old media that got him in trouble," stated NBC's Gregory.


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.