Dropping G’s from President’s Speech Brings Reporter Under Fire

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Associated Press Reporter Mark Smith has faced criticism for the way he transcribed President Obama’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus. When quoting a part of Obama’s speech, Smith noted the dropped G’s in the commander and chief’s dialect: “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’.

Smith’s transcription was counter to the AP Style book’s instructions, but I think it was fair. I really have no problem with the transcription. I have more of a problem with the President’s change in dialect when addressing different people.

The Congressional Black Caucus voiced their disapproval with President Obama’s economic policies and their affects on African-American people numerous times. According to census data, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has increased under the Obama administration. The CBC made it their mission to voice their concerns with these figures and petition the president for change. The highly critiqued speech was supposed to serve as a call to action to the Congressional Black Caucus to join the president in his mission rather than rival against him as they had been doing for months.

Obama seemed to use what some would call a southern accent when giving the discourse. This is intriguing since he is not from the south; he’s from Hawaii. I’ve noticed that whenever the president is speaking with a mostly black audience, he changes the way in which he speaks. Other president’s have done this in the past, but it comes off as insulting to me. I’d rather see a high ranking figure be themselves to communicate a message than try to use a poor imitation of “ebonics”. If anything, Mark Smith’s transcription brings this glaring problem to light.

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