Politics Always a Hot Topic Online

You've been lighting up our blog, "News and Views," with reaction to this week's political headlines. News and Notes Web producer Geoffrey Bennett guides Farai Chideya through the feedback.

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I'm Farai Chideya and this is NEWS & NOTES.

You have been lighting up our blog, News & Views, with reaction to this week's political headlines. Geoffrey Bennett is our show's Web producer and your guide to the blogosphere. Hey, Geoff.


CHIDEYA: So Election '08 is always a hot topic on News & Views, what are people talking about this week?

BENNETT: Well, this week our readers had a lot to say about the issue of race being injected into the presidential campaign. Clinton and Obama have since called a truce. But at the height of their back and forth, here's what few people had to say in our blog.

Christopher Morrisson(ph) wrote: The Clinton people began to get nervous about winning, so they picked up this issue of race because they thought it would work.

A person named Jeff(ph) wrote: The dispute between the two campaigns is nothing more than the core of the Democratic Party displaying the dysfunction of their identity politics.

And Tracy(ph) wrote: Black people need to stop being so sensitive. Not every statement made is a personal attack.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BENNETT: This is just a sampling of what people had to say.

CHIDEYA: Oh, yeah. And Ron Paul, on the GOP side, comment got people talking. What's that?

BENNETT: You know whenever we post about Ron Paul, it's always the top post of the week. I think his supporters really - have an impressive presence online. But here's the issue, the New Republic magazine discovered racist and homophobic rants on some newsletters attributed to Ron Paul that were released in the '80s and '90s.

Now his campaign manager has since said the candidate assumes moral responsibility. Though he said he didn't read or approve the material before it was published.

So on our blog, Joseph Papange(ph) wrote: You mean to tell me you didn't see the letter for almost 20 years and your name was used for the newsletter? What does that say about your leadership style? About Ron Paul.

And Stephen Bradford(ph) said it was nothing but a blatant smear campaign that's being brought against the man who obviously strikes fear into some people.

CHIDEYA: Well, look, this is an interesting one: entertainers and steroids. Isn't that supposed to be something that athletes do? What's going on there?

BENNETT: Apparently, the thinking is that these celebrities are taking the steroids for their anti-aging purposes. Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean and Tyler Perry were named in a performance-enhancing drug probe by New York state district attorney. Now the authorities say they have uncovered no evidence that these celebrities violated any drug laws. Mary J. Blige released a statement saying that she was no way involved. But on our blog someone using the alias Hater(ph) posted: So that's how Mary stays looking so young.

And a reader named Jay(ph) wrote in to say he's not believing the hype and he said it's a distraction to keep people from focusing on the war. Well, I don't know about that, but we'll keep an eye on the story regardless.

And the other big entertainment story this week was Oprah Winfrey getting her own TV network called the, appropriately enough, OWN.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHIDEYA: We also have some big news here on the show. We are going to South Carolina for the primary. We're going to be broadcasting from South Carolina. Some folks are calling this the black primary.


CHIDEYA: And we want to hear from you if you live in South Carolina. How can folks from the state get in touch with us?

BENNETT: We posted a - there's a post in our blog about that. So anybody who lives in South Carolina, anyone who's going to South Carolina to cover the primary there, you can get in touch with us and we might even have them on the show.

CHIDEYA: All right. Well, Geoff, thanks a lot.

BENNETT: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES and he joined me in our studios at NPR West.

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