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Was the media fair during Herman Cain's Florida visit?

PenheadCrowley Political Report has joined Columbia Journalism Review in its effort to monitor media coverage during the 2012 campaign.

Today, CPR wrote about the media's reporting on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's visit to Florida.

Was it fair? Did the coverage say something about the media?

We look at Cain being questioned about the "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy toward Cubans, his question about speaking "Cuban,"  and how the media reacted.

An excerpt:

Eleven seconds. That’s how long the exchange lasted between Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo during a campaign swing through South Florida last week.

During a multi-city visit that took Cain to a senior center in Sweetwater, Miami’s Little Havana, Coral Springs, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, the most newsworthy moment, judging by the resulting press coverage, occurred in those 11 seconds.

While in Sweetwater walking toward the senior center, Caputo, his video camera aimed at Cain, said to the candidate, “I want to ask you about, do you mind, about Cuba, about your Cuba policy, what you think about the wet-foot, dry-foot policy?”

Cain, looking and sounding puzzled, answered, “The wet-foot, dry-foot policy?”


...while the Florida media did a good job of  capturing the entirety of Cain’s Florida trip, media outside the state often took the easy way out: grabbing the tidbit about speaking “Cuban” and/or the “wet-foot, dry-foot” exchanges, both of which served to confirm the (again, not unfounded) media narrative that Candidate Cain does not have a good grasp of things foreign policy. That became the story —We’ve confirmed our hunch, again! Our work here is done. The episode may have revealed something about Cain, but the way it was covered revealed as much about the media.

Please read the complete Columbia Journalism Report here.

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Art by Patrick Crowley


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