The politics of memory: contesting the "Convention Night" version of this historic day
Amazeen, Michelle A.
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Citation (published version)Michelle A Amazeen. 2014. "The politics of memory: contesting the "Convention Night" version of this historic day." Media Culture & Society, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp. 679 - 690 (12).
To the degree that the American press corps serves as the creator of the first draft of history, it is in a privileged position of shaping not only what we remember but also how we remember it. This article presents a case study of a political advertisement that aired during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The mainstream media’s uncritical consideration of the ad invoking Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory in representing Barack Obama’s achievements suggests not only an uncontested version of racial achievements in America but also the power granted to political ads in narrating a naturalized version of memory. As political advertising increasingly drives news coverage in the U.S., the journalistic failure to scrutinize a political message beyond its face value illustrated by this case becomes all the more alarming and is indicative of a concerning disservice to the public interest.