A year-long study (from early 2009 through early 2010) of media coverage of African Americans found race did not play much of a role in the larger media discussion about Barack Obama’s first year as president. In full, race-related themes were present in 9% of all Obama administration news coverage. Nor did the media generally use his presence as a news hook or basis for examining the state of Black America during his first year in office. Instead, reports tended to be event driven. The two events that drew the most attention to Obama and race were Rep. Joe Wilson’s shout of “you lie” at a September presidential address and Sen. Harry Reid’s January 2010 apology about comments he made about Obama’s skin color in a book about the 2008 campaign. One other event, this one created by the media, was a catalyst for press coverage of race during the Obama administration: Glenn Beck pronounced in July 2009 that Obama “hates white people.” Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.