The AP plays it fair with, “Obama Confronts Racial Division,”:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Barack Obama confronted the nation’s racial divide head-on Tuesday, tackling both black grievance and white resentment in a bold effort to quiet a campaign uproar over race and his former pastor’s incendiary statements.

Standing before a row of eight American flags near the building where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Obama urged the nation to break “a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.'”

“The anger is real,” he said. “It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.”

The AP also has this balanced editorial, “Analysis: Obama Grabs Race Issue”:

Like any full-blown discussion of the sensitive topic, Obama’s speech carries risks. Some whites may feel he did not do enough to distance himself from a fiery Chicago preacher who has depicted the United States as a racist society. The speech also could unleash wider discussions of race in the campaign rather than reduce its role as a “distraction” from more important issues, a term Obama used several times.

But a recent series of unsettling events convinced the Illinois senator that a full-bore address was needed, and now. They include a trend of white Democrats voting more heavily for Clinton while blacks vote overwhelmingly for him; the resignation of a major Clinton supporter who made racially contentious remarks; and, above all, intense media focus on the most inflammatory statements of Obama’s longtime minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Reuters raises the most important points first with, “Obama Rebukes Preacher, Urges Race Healing”:

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized his preacher’s racially charged sermons but said he could not disown him in a speech urging Americans to move past their “racial stalemate.”

Obama sought to quell a political firestorm ignited when news outlets called attention to sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which the Illinois senator attended for two decades.

“We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism,” he said. “Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.'”

It’s interesting to see that, by and large, the news services seem much more balanced than the cable news outlets. But isn’t that to be expected? The cable news networks fancy themselves as equal opportunity provocateurs, so their coverage will most likely always lean more towards sensationalism.

Also, note how Reuters notes Obama’s new line, “Not this time.” I hope he’s right, but here are three words most of us are thinking in response to that: “We shall see.”

More as it develops…

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