AP: US ‘A Nation That Enshrined Slavery in its Constitution’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on September 24, 2008

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Read the excerpt below (from Michael M. Bates' report posted at NewsBusters.org). Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

…The Associated Press story “Poll: Racial Misgivings of Whites an Obama Issue”  [stated]:

… Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.

Did the United States, as the piece contends, enshrine slavery in its Constitution?

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, “enshrine” means “to enclose in or as if in a shrine” or “to preserve or cherish as sacred.”  Over at thesaurus.com, synonyms for the word are “cherish, consecrate, idolize, sanctify.”

In a 2002 Heritage Foundation article, Dr. Matthew Spaulding writes:

John Adams opposed slavery his entire life as a “foul contagion in the human character” and “an evil of colossal magnitude.” James Madison called it “the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.”

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That doesn’t sound as though slavery were cherished or santified by at least some of the Founding Fathers.  Rather, it was acknowledged as an evil, an issue that needed to be avoided to ensure the building of a nation.

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Frederick Douglass, in an 1852 speech, intoned:

Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

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Read the complete post with references at NewsBusters.org.

Questions

1.  Do you think that the Associated Press’ assertion that the U.S. is “a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution” is a biased statement?  Explain your answer.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  Opinion question. Answers vary.