The media narrative is familiar: Republicans are racist and don’t care about the pursuit of racial equality or its history in the United States. In advance of the march in Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a violent episode which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, scores of Americans, including a great many politicians of both parties made the journey south. You won’t gather that fact from mainstream reporting of the march, which only prominently featured Democrats. At Legal Insurrection Kemberlee Kaye sets the record straight on just how many Republicans were present.
The cover of the New York Times featured a photo of the march which, predictably, showed President Obama and family center-stage. His presence was so prominent at the march and in the photo one would think that he marched in 1965 as well. Who did the Times leave out of the photo? Former Republican President George W. Bush and his wife, former first Lady, Laura Bush. One would think that the presence of two Presidents at the march would have been newsworthy (and that the Bush couple would have been given a more prominent place among the marchers, for that matter), but the Times, predictably disagreed.
While Mediate makes clear that the photo wasn’t altered in any way to remove the family, a wider angle could have easily been used to show the former President, whose attendance at the rally is newsworthy. The Bush couple rarely make public appearances, especially not arm-in-arm with the current President and his family.
After a summer of racial tension, the presence of both Presidents could have gone a long way in repairing some of the damage made in Ferguson and in New York City. The country is moving past the deaths, trying to learn from them, and looking to the past for guidance. That could have been a narrative after the Selma march. Alas, the New York Times along with the rest of the mainstream media used the event as an opportunity to do what they do best: promote President Obama as a messiah-like figure, despite the fact that he is one of the most racially (and politically) divisive presidents in American history.
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