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“I’m on your side.” (on the reporting of)

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existentialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-06-09 09:28 PM
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“I’m on your side.” (on the reporting of)
“I’m on your side.” (on the reporting of)

Today the banner headline on the Mitchell Daily Republic was “Obama tells tribes ‘I’m on your side.’”

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader also carried a headline “’I’m on your side,’ Obama tells tribes.

This is not generally, in these parts, language intended to present Barack Obama in a favorable light to most South Dakotans. Indeed, the Mitchell Daily Republic is a horrid right wing rag, and while the Argus Leader is a little better, it too has a clear Republican and conservative bias.

The language might help endear Obama to local Indians, but they are a minority—about 9% statewide. By focusing the matter as a matter of taking sides Obama has handed a talking point to those among the locals who view Indians and Indian sovereignty as a threat.

I remember once being interviewed by some eastern liberals who asked me what it would take to get white South Dakotans and Indian South Dakotans to work together. My response was that it would take a perceived common interest, and that the common interest was there but that they (whites and Indians alike) for the most part just couldn’t perceive it.

This language of taking sides is, in my view, no helpful. Then again, Obama didn’t carry South Dakota, isn’t likely to carry South Dakota in 2012, and doesn’t need it. So maybe he knows what he’s doing. Maybe, and “Far be it from me to try to teach a master politician to suck eggs.”

For what it’s worth, the Yankton Press and Dakotan put the Ft. Hood shooting as its top headline, and, in a small box on the front page put a smaller headline: “Obama Meets With Indian Leaders” and then gave the quote as: “I get it. I’m on your side.” This is more balanced and more helpful reporting.
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