Monday, August 11, 2008

What?!?!... AP reporter calls George Bush "the Republican incumbent" in this election

Did you know the Associated Press has a national "race and ethnicity reporter"? Neither did I. But if this column by Mallary Tenore is any clue, the AP race and ethnicity reporter needs to stop worrying about race and become acquainted with the American electoral system. Check out Jesse Washington's interview with Poynter's Mallary Tenore:

Mallary Tenore: The Pew Research Center recently came out with a study that says the coverage of religion in the primary campaigns rivaled that of race and gender combined. What surprises you, if anything, about this finding?

Washington: I'm not very surprised, because the (Rev. Jeremiah) Wright flap was Obama's first serious problem, so of course it got big play. And Christian conservatives are among the dominant forces in a Republican primary. Race seems poised to play a bigger role now, because Obama's main weakness in the primary seemed to be among working-class white voters, who often are the swing vote. Judging by the history of past elections, when you have an unpopular Republican incumbent, a troubled economy and a problematic war, the Democrats would easily win the White House.

Where to start? Jesse Washington may be an expert on racial diversity but he is clueless on this election. First, there is no "Republican incumbent" on the ballot this November because George Bush isn't running. Second, what is the "history of past elections" that shows the Dems should easily win when there is a Republican incumbent and a problematic war? Surely not 1972; even though the Vietnam war was not popular, Republican Richard Nixon crushed the Democrat opponent, George McGovern. And surely not 2004; the Iraq war was not popular then, but John Kerry lost. Can this genius reporter tell us what election year he is talking about? No, because he just made it up.
Can't wait for penetrating election analysis from this AP goofball.


Alan said...

I'm all for pointing out the failings of the Sacramento Bee - but you might want to look more closely at what Washington says. He says there is an unpopular Republican incumbent - which there is. But he does NOT say that there is an unpopular Republican incumbent on the ballot. Doesn't even imply it. You just made up the "on the ballot" part of the sentence. Although "past elections" do not support his comment about an unpopular Republican incumbent, a troubled economy and a problematic war making it easier for the Democrats to win the White House, Washington doesn't deserve criticism for something he didn't say.

Kevin Gregory said...

Alan - Since George Bush isn't running for reelection, how exactly is he an incumbent in this election??

Alan said...

An incumbent is simply the current officeholder. An incumbent may or may not run for re-election. I am pretty sure Washington had the correct meaning of incumbent in mind when he made his comment.

Kevin Gregory said...

Alan - usually the word "incumbent" is used when the current officeholder is running for reelection. You may be right in the hypertechnical sense.

Alan said...

No - I am right in the actual definition of the word sense. The only reason incumbent is usually used when the current officeholder is running for re-election is because in any given election, most of the candidates are currently in the office for which they are running. But, contrary to your opinion, the word incumbent says nothing about whether the officeholder is running or not. To get that point across you would have to actually say "the incumbent is running for re-election." My point is that you made a big deal about Washington's gaffe - when the gaffe was yours.