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Debate Pundits: "Where Was Obama?"

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October 3, 2012

CNN poll has Romney winning round, 67%-25%; Poll: blacks watch TV news more than whites, Hispanics; conservatives hype 5-year-old Obama speech; George Will: Voters don't want to fire a black man; CNN's "Latino in America" back with look at voters (10/3/12)

Updated Oct. 4

CNN Poll Has Romney Winning Round, 67%-25%

Poll: Blacks Watch TV News More Than Whites, Hispanics

Conservatives Hype 5-Year-Old Obama Speech


George Will: Voters Don't Want to Fire a Black Man

CNN's "Latino in America" Back With Look at Voters

Short Takes

Poll: Blacks Watch TV News More Than Whites, Hispanics

A greater percentage of black consumers watches television news than do whites or Hispanics, according to a study of news consumption trends by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press.

Sixty-nine percent of blacks said they received their news the previous day from television, compared with 56 percent of whites and 43 percent of Hispanics.

Forty-one percent of blacks said they watched the nightly network news regularly, and 50 percent watched cable news channels, compared with 26 percent of whites for the nightly news and 34 percent for cable news, and 21 percent of Hispanics for the nightly news and 27 percent for cable news.

African Americans have traditionally spent more time in front of the television than others.

The survey said Hispanics consumed news less than whites or blacks. When asked how they had received their news the day before, 33 percent responded "no news yesterday." Fourteen percent of whites and 15 percent of blacks responded "no news yesterday." No comparison with previous years was immediately available.

Overall, "The transformation of the nation's news landscape has already taken a heavy toll on print news sources, particularly print newspapers [PDF]," the center said in a report Thursday. "But there are now signs that television news — which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the internet — also is increasingly vulnerable, as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers.

"Online and digital news consumption, meanwhile, continues to increase, with many more people now getting news on cell phones, tablets or other mobile platforms. And perhaps the most dramatic change in the news environment has been the rise of social networking sites. The percentage of Americans saying they saw news or news headlines on a social networking site yesterday has doubled — from 9% to 19% — since 2010. Among adults younger than age 30, as many saw news on a social networking site the previous day (33%) as saw any television news (34%), with just 13% having read a newspaper either in print or digital form."

The Pew Research Center provided Journal-isms with a breakout of blacks and Hispanics this week. Some 3,003 people were in the sample; 281 were black and 300 were Hispanic.

Conservatives Hype 5-Year-Old Obama Speech

"One night before the first presidential debate, conservatives Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson hyped footage of a five-year-old speech by then-Sen. Barack Obama, widely covered at the time, in which the presidential candidate suggested the George W. Bush administration was discriminating against the victims of Hurricane Katrina," Dylan Byers reported Wednesday for Politico.

"But when footage finally aired on Hannity's Fox News program and on Carlson's Daily Caller website at 9 p.m., following hours of anticipation spurred by Drudge's promise of controversy and Hannity's promise of a 'bombshell', it fell flat.

" 'What's the "So what" of this video? I don’t think it's going to really go anywhere,' Republican Rep. Allen West said on Fox News.

" 'I don't think this particular speech is definitive,' said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, though he added that it was at least a 'reminder' of Obama's 'pattern of dishonesty.'

"If the footage failed to impress, it may be because Sen. Obama's remarks were widely covered — by Carlson, by Fox News, and by the mainstream media — when they were made on June 5, 2007. . . ."

George Will: Voters Don't Want to Fire a Black Man

"Washington Post columnist George Will has a novel explanation for why President Barack Obama continues to lead challenger Mitt Romney in the polls: it's because Obama is black," Joy-Ann Reid wrote Tuesday for the Grio.

"Seriously, that's Will's reasoning.

"The idea is this: the country, its economy, and the Obama administration are in 'shambles,' to quote Will. Unemployment is at 8 percent. Durable goods orders are down! And who among us doesn't hinge our vote on the metric of durable goods? Tesla Motors isn't doing well — TESLA! — despite a major cash infusion from the Department of Energy, and as we all know, as goes Tesla, so goes the nation. Therefore, Romney should be mopping the floor with Obama.

"So why isn't Mitt ahead in the polls? Will's explanation starts with his Frank Robinsonfavorite metaphor: baseball…

" 'A significant date in the nation's civil rights progress involved an African American baseball player named Robinson, but not Jackie. The date was Oct. 3, 1974, when Frank Robinson, one the greatest players in history, was hired by the Cleveland Indians as the major leagues' first black manager. But an even more important milestone of progress occurred June 19, 1977, when the Indians fired him. That was colorblind equality.

" 'Managers get fired all the time. The fact that the Indians felt free to fire Robinson — who went on to have a distinguished career managing four other teams — showed that another racial barrier had fallen: Henceforth, African Americans, too, could enjoy the God-given right to be scapegoats for impatient team owners or incompetent team executives.'

"And how is Barack Obama like Jackie Robinson? I think you can guess. . . "

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., left, is among those interviewed in the next "Latino in America" episode. Kihuen had hoped to be Nevada's first-ever Latino U.S. congressman. He dropped out of the race in February. (Video)

CNN's "Latino in America" Back With Look at Voters

CNN's "Latino in America" series returns on Sunday as Soledad O'Brien, CNN anchor and special correspondent, "reports on how Democrats and Republicans are reaching out to the swing voter demographic of Latinos, with a lens on the pivotal state of Nevada, a state with both the fastest-growing Latino community in the nation, and a state that has voted for the last 24 of the last 25 U.S. presidents," CNN announces.

Asked what message there would be for fellow journalists, O'Brien told Journal-isms by telephone on Wednesday, "We take a very nuanced approach to this important population. I was surprised by the degree that both parties have serious challenges. Latinos are feeling very unheard. Some of it is immigration and some is the message carried out in the GOP primaries."

O'Brien, daughter of a white Australian father and a black Cuban mother, was named "Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2010. NABJ called her "the impetus of CNN's acclaimed 'In America' franchise, which began with CNN's "Black In America" in 2008." Later the series looked at "Latino in America" and "Gay in America."

In March, CNN laid off dozens of employees in its two documentary units, including the "In America" unit. But it promised the "In America" series would continue. The last "Latino in America" aired aired Sept. 25, 2011.

"Latino in America: Courting Their Vote" debuts on CNN/U.S. on Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and PT, repeating Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and PT on CNN/U.S.

Kimberly Arp-Babbit is the senior producer. Cameo George, Robert Howell, Tina Matherson, Elizabeth Nunez and Dave Timko are the producers.  Jennifer Hyde is the managing editor and Bud Bultman and Geraldine Moriba executive produced the documentary for CNN. Howell and Timko are no longer with CNN.

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