Barack Obama handed the media a huge challenge this morning. How will media cover his speech — how will a simplifying, sound-bite, conventional-wisdom-loving media deal with his speech, his sermon, on race and understanding and America?
Go listen to his whole speech (not yet on the web). It’s full of the complex dynamic that is America and its history. He starts with his view of the Constitution as a living document, one that was signed with slavery and the slave trade still legal but that had the hope embedded in it of liberty and justice for all. A flawed document from a flawed and human country that had within it the way to transcend those flaws.
That alone is a challenge for the media to deal with — let alone the audience.
His sermon looked at himself, his minister, his campaign and his country and his hopes and his country’s hopes and flaws — as an unfolding story, a story in motion. Pinning his views down in a sound bite is like catching a butterfly and pinning it to a board. It’s no longer alive and flying. This is partly why the spoken word is such a powerful way to connect human to human.
Let’s see what the media does with this — to me — uplifting and educational and brave speech.
— Benidt college grants kind