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CBS' Mark Knoller doesn't seem to get the difference between a Romney and an Obama birther joke.
Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Orlando, Florida yesterday, and encountered a 7-year-old boy from Hawaii. CBS reporter Mark Knoller Tweeted the exchange:
"You were born in Hawaii?" You have a birth certificate?” - Pres Obama joking with a 7-year boy he met during stop yesterday in Orlando.
So far, so good. It's basic reporting. I smiled at the exchange, because it was funny. But Knoller couldn't leave it at that, because a bit later, h Tweeted:
Imagine the uproar if Mitt Romney said that to a child from Hawaii. Romney drew fire last month for quipping about his birth certificate.
Why do people not get this concept? I'm especially appalled that a reporter doesn't seem to understand the concept of context, given that it's so important to the conduct of his work.
If the subject (victim?) of a smear makes a joke, it can be funny. If someone else makes the same sort of joke, especially to try to score politically, it's most certainly not funny. The "joke" would then be seen with 2 completely different contexts.
If Sandra Fluke refers to herself as a slut in a self-deprecating manner, it can be funny. When Rush Limbaugh calls her that, he's a misogynist. Two different contexts.
If a black man calls himself one of a myriad racial epithets, it has one context, and if a white man calls someone else that, it has a whole other context in about 99.99999% of cases.
When President Obama talks about the birthers, the context is to make them look ridiculous. When Willard Romney does it, it sends a dog whistle to his base, and he actually tries to gain political points with it.
Different context, different meaning. This shouldn't be difficult for a seasoned reporter to understand. Context is your business. Isn't it?