Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Race Fatigue? Try Blogger Fatigue. I Love CNN But ...

Despite the talk about citizen journalists and blogging pundits taking over mainstream media and giving big networks and newspapers a run for the money, I think only an idiot would claim citizen journalism has already become David whipping Goliath. If anything, mainstream media has co-opted citizen journalism to make itself stronger.

Case in point, CNN today has a article about Obama as "angry black man," and how the president was double-bound by people who wanted to see him get angry over the oilpocalypse. (You may have noticed the people on the Gulf Coast who were uncomfortable with the president saying "ass," expressing his anger that people want to see. The timid or moralistic changed the word to "butt" or "behind" when quoting him.)

The CNN feature credits one of its iReporters, a black guy (EWillies1961 aka Egberto Willies), for bringing this subject to their attention and the subsequent 3,000-plus comments and nearly 9,000 shares on Facebook that drove traffic to the site. I confess, Egberto did a good job, and video is generally more compelling than the written word these days.

The problem for me is the iReporter said nothing new. He just said it in a hot venue and so got more attention. I'm fairly sure I was one of the first people to write publicly about the complications of Obama showing visible anger over this oil spill. But I doubt I was "the first." On May 29, I wrote:
The federal government has an agency to help clean up after natural disasters like hurricanes. It does not have an agency with the technology BP has to clean up an oil spill. I'm not sure what the people expect the president to do other than yell and maybe start sanctioning BP financially in some way. If he were to start yelling, however, Fox News would no doubt play that as Obama is unraveling or perhaps play its ever handy Look!-another-overly-emotional-black-person card.
Then on June 3, I commented on a CNN opinion piece by Gloria Borger and said:
Seems like we're on a similar wavelength. As Borger continues, she says we want to see Obama angry, but a man full of rage is not who we elected.

Indeed, I said in May that if Obama had shown intense passion when this crisis began, Republicans would have simply painted him as the angry or emotional black man.
I guess I'm just frustrated. Here I am, the Rodney Dangerfield of blogging, perhaps: I get no respect.

Also, people don't link back and give credit the way they did in the early days of blogging. Plus, I feel that ever since Google went to its algorithm that pushes most-recently-published on topics, good posts get buried by new posts that may not be as good.

Furthermore, Google search is favoring big media and big blogs. When you use Google's blogsearch, for instance, you'll see it's the mega blogs and even mainstream media stories, which are not blog posts, that pop up earlier. I put in a topic a few days ago and the first things to come up were MSM articles from the AP, the Christian Science Monitor, and Politico. That didn't mean small blogs were ignoring that topic. And if it's not the big hitters burying you, it's the spam and aggregator sites.

Anyway, as a blogger who often writes about race, I've heard before what CNN's piece is saying today, that "Even discussing 'angry black man' stereotype provokes anger." Its article asserts that people are fatigued on race. Sometimes I get fatigued as well talking about the subject, but I disagree with those who say it's the discussion of race that divides us. Sometimes they even go so far as to call the people who identify racism "racists" for sharing the information.

These people seem to think America can be color blind. I agree with research that indicates if America were color blind, we'd see even more racism because being blind to race is about denial, not honesty, not love. But I won't rehash that topic.

I will say, though, that I love this professor's commentary, which you can listen to in the video above.
The venom in readers' reactions didn't surprise William Jelani Cobb, author of "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress." He calls Obama "America's Mandela," but says even inspirational political figures can't erase the nation's ugly racial past.

"He's a president, he's not an antidote," Cobb said.
"President not an antidote," excellent.

At the moment my greater fatigue comes from being a blogger. With the great push on marketing and branding, it's become hard just to say what you think and get read because you've said something worth reading. I'm tired and I believe blogging comes down to who has the most money and best networking or marketing skills. That is what's started to push blogging, not who has something meaningful to say.

Mainstream media has figured out how to use social media, and it's kicking our ordinary people's behind as we are in a Catch 22. The newspapers may be shutting down in hard print, but they aren't going away completely. I'm glad they're around because I like newspapers, but I don't aspire to go write for one anymore since nobody's paying journalists the way they used to, and that was never all that much.

MSM has the money and people to provide story details to which we will naturally link, but since MSM only quotes the big blogs, if even them, we little bloggers get no love in return unless we go join a network through its iReport or U-speak-out type venture. But I choke on the idea of providing free content to mega-media outlets, and then I get indigestion. They've got money and pension plans. I don't. Pass the Tums.

1 comment:

msladyDeborah said...

I think that Obama's over all demeanor is a mystery to people period. I listen to the BBC at night and he is a hot topic on their airwaves. A lot of time is spent trying to figure him out and how he ticks.

As far as the MSM is concerned, they still have an advantage over the citizen journalist just by virtue of their access capabilities. We won't mention the money and other benefits.

After I read Dreams From My Father my views of him changed. I think that this particular book reveals a lot more of how his head trip works than The Audacity of Hope. I also think that he is going to be himself no matter what the press is for him to step out of that zone.

I personally don't need anger as a sign he is dealing with the issues at hand. I like grace under fire. It produces a lot more than he gets credit for achieving.

One of the greatest lessons that his presidency is generating is the fact that no one really knew what to expect from a POTUS of color. That is so obvious. I find it inteesting that people want him to hurry up and fix this particular problem but that is not realistic.

And as for you personally my sista/friend-all things come in due time and due season.