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News Outlets Tackle Obama's N-Word

News outlets seemed not to quite know what to do Monday with President Obama's use of the N-word during an interview in Pasadena, Calif., for a Marc Maron "WTF" podcast.

"Racism, we are not cured of it; and it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say n****r in public," Obama told Maron, saying that is not the measure of whether racism does or does not exist.

CNN's online report of the interview used the audio clip with no bleeps, but the concurrent onscreen text of the audio used asterisks instead.

Fox News, by contrast, used the word in quotes in the text of its online story about the interview, but anchor Bill Hemmer, in quoting the president, used "N-word" instead. 

The Huffington Post bleeped the audio in AP's video of the podcast, but used the word in the text of its accompanying story.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about some pushback on social media and elsewhere on Obama's use of the term. Earnest said the president does not regret using the word and his reason for using it was clear.

"The president made clear it is not possible to judge the nation's progress on race relations based solely on an evaluation of its manners," Earnest said.

Among the critics was a conservative African American commentator on Fox, Deneen Borelli, who branded the president the “Rapper in Chief,” saying he had dragged in “gutter speak” and lowered the stature of the office.

Race relations have been forced violently back onto the front (and home) pages of news outlets around the country after the racism-fueled mass murder of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., June 17.

The president, who was in California to talk with a conference of mayors, attend fundraisers and conduct other business, will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of victim Rev. Clementa Pinckney on Friday.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.