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"He wanted to find another way to reach a segment of the population, minority business owners as well as African American professionals," Dingle says. He says the magazine first put the Illinois Democrat on its cover in 2004 and "quite admittedly, we did lean toward Barack Obama" during the presidential campaign, but now it plans to hold the administration accountable.

Obama also spoke to Maryland-based radio host Warren Ballantine, who told the president he was "excited" about the stimulus bill and added: "You are honestly, in my opinion, one of the greatest pieces of black history."

Ballantine says that such interviews are a way for Obama to connect with "the grass roots" and that as a host, he brings "an everyday perspective. A lot of my counterparts in the media who are Caucasian are rich, and they're not in the streets. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity are multimillionaires. I'm a former union worker. I don't make that kind of money."

The risk for Obama would be if he were caught saying something different to the ethnic media than to other news organizations. He went to great lengths, after all, not to run as a minority candidate.

Emanuel says Hispanic outlets cover much of the same ground as other media organizations. "Obviously they have a higher interest in certain issues," he says. "But Hispanics are as interested in the economy as the rest of the country is."

Every administration does some outreach to minority outlets. But by talking to Black Enterprise well before the New York Times, which last week got its first sit-down interview since Election Day, Obama is shaking up the existing media order. Just as he took a question from the Huffington Post -- but not from the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune or Wall Street Journal -- at his first news conference, the president is broadening the circle of access to include more sympathetic outlets.

The challenge for minority journalists is not to slip into the role of cheerleader. If Telemundo is leading a campaign to register more Hispanics in the 2010 Census, viewers may wonder about the objectivity of its news reports on the subject. But most of the interviews so far with the president have been handled with professionalism.

The Telemundo interview did contain one revelation when Obama was asked how much Spanish he speaks.

"Un poquito," he replied -- a little. In fact, Obama admitted, it took him 15 takes to cut a Spanish ad during the campaign.

Failing Grade

It was an eye-popping comment, stripped across the top of the Washington Times front page Friday.

"If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C.," Sen. Jim DeMint was quoted as saying, "chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating."

But the South Carolina Republican, who is fighting to preserve the city's school voucher program, didn't quite say that. Instead, his aides say, he was describing what a mother had told him she feared would happen if the congressionally mandated program allowing some students to attend private schools expired.

"He specifically said in the press conference that this is what parents are telling us," says spokesman Wesley Denton. "That was not reported in the Times. He does not believe these children are doomed to bad outcomes." After DeMint's office complained, the Times removed the story from its Web site and published a correction yesterday.

Executive Editor John Solomon says the paper has apologized to DeMint. He says DeMint's lead quote -- the one that generated the big headline -- "was inaccurately captured by the reporter. The words that were omitted brought important context to the senator's comments and the entire story, and as a result we disserved our readers."

Footnote: The Times plans to announce today that its new editorial page editor is Richard Miniter, a former editorialist for the Wall Street Journal Europe who has been a Hudson Institute fellow. Miniter wrote during the campaign about the "visceral hatred of Sarah Palin flowing from so many in the commentariat," and his books include "Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror."

Obama Adulation Watch

"I think I am developing a crush on America's first lady. Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He's good, but she's utterly fascinating. . . . Her arms are becoming the stuff of legend.

". . . Okay, I admit it. When it comes to the first lady, I'm smitten." -- CNN's Jack Cafferty.

Kurtz hosts CNN's weekly media program, "Reliable Sources."


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