In the past several months, NewsBusters has been regularly revealing the race-baiting by the Clinton campaign while asking why media weren't doing a better a job of reporting it.
At the same time, we've been wondering whether such issues will be similarly ignored if Barack Obama won the nomination, or if race and racism would be used to help him defeat John McCain.
On Sunday, an article in New York's Newsday gave a somewhat predictable preview of how media will cover this matter much differently than they did during the primaries by actually admitting in print that Republicans "face more scrutiny on race than Democrats" (emphasis added throughout):
Now that Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination, Republican John McCain faces the unprecedented, and tricky, task of building a campaign against the first black presidential candidate of a major party in a general election campaign.
A key test may come in how McCain and groups supporting him treat Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., and his incendiary comments as a campaign issue, something the Obama and McCain campaigns have skirmished over.
Hmmm. So, if McCain brings up Wright, he's a racist? Wow.
Newsday then presented as a cautionary example for McCain the 2006 Massachusetts governor's race:
Trailing Democrat Deval Patrick, like Obama, a charismatic African-American with less political experience than his opponent, [white Republican woman Kerry] Healey ran television ads about Patrick's legal and financial help to a black convicted rapist and a cop-killer.
One ad, featuring a woman walking in an ominous dimly lit parking garage, appeared to work at first, Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos said, narrowing Patrick's lead. "They got the emotional response they needed initially," he said.
But after critics, including the state Democratic chairman, ripped the ad as "race baiting" and "fear mongering," Paleologos said it backfired on her. "That was the tipping point for her own personal demise," Paleologos said.
Healey, the underdog, lost by 20 points.
To further give you the idea of just what McCain is up against, read this:
Pollsters say that any time someone who is not white runs for a major office in America, race at the very least is a subtext to the contest. [...]
Sensitivity to race is so great that an ad or statement that some think is OK can be branded as offensive by commentators and the media, shifting the political dynamic.
Wow. Yet, as was evident during the primaries, there's a media double standard here:
Add to that the fact that because Republicans have fought the civil-rights establishment and nationally get few black votes, they face more scrutiny on race than Democrats.
Healey's media adviser, Stuart Stevens, insists that no Republican would say what Hillary Clinton said about Obama being unable to win white working-class votes.
Wow! Well, there it is: Republicans face more scrutiny on race than Democrats.