Mainstream Media Tougher On Obama Than McBush

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Jul 27, 2008.


    From the Los Angeles Times

    In study, evidence of liberal-bias bias
    Cable talking heads accuse broadcast networks of liberal bias -- but a think tank finds that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Barack Obama than on John McCain in recent weeks.


    July 27, 2008

    Haters of the mainstream media reheated a bit of conventional wisdom last week.

    Barack Obama, they said, was getting a free ride from those insufferable liberals.

    Such pronouncements, sorry to say, tend to be wrong since they describe a monolithic media that no longer exists. Information today cascades from countless outlets and channels, from the Huffington Post to to CBS News and beyond.

    But now there's additional evidence that casts doubt on the bias claims aimed -- with particular venom -- at three broadcast networks.

    The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

    You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

    During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

    Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

    Conservatives have been snarling about the grotesque disparity revealed by another study, the online Tyndall Report, which showed Obama receiving more than twice as much network air time as McCain in the last month and a half. Obama got 166 minutes of coverage in the seven weeks after the end of the primary season, compared with 67 minutes for McCain, according to longtime network-news observer Andrew Tyndall.

    I wrote last week that the networks should do more to better balance the air time. But I also suggested that much of the attention to Obama was far from glowing.

    That earned a spasm of e-mails that described me as irrational, unpatriotic and . . . somehow . . . French.

    But the center's director, RobertLichter, who has won conservative hearts with several of his previous studies, told me the facts were the facts.

    "This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage," he said.

    Here's a bit more on the research, so you'll understand how the communications professor and his researchers arrived at their conclusions.

    The center reviews and "codes" statements on the evening news as positive or negative toward the candidates. For example, when NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said in June that Obama "has problems" with white men and suburban women, the media center deemed that a negative.

    The positive and negative remarks about each candidate are then totaled to calculate the percentages that cut for and against them.

    Visual images and other more subjective cues are not assessed. But the tracking applies a measure of analytical rigor to a field rife with seat-of-the-pants fulminations.

    The media center's most recent batch of data covers nightly newscasts beginning June 8, the day after Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination, ushering in the start of the general-election campaign. The data ran through Monday, as Obama began his overseas trip.

    Most on-air statements during that time could not be classified as positive or negative, Lichter said. The study found, on average, less than two opinion statements per night on the candidates on all three networks combined -- not exactly embracing or pummeling Obama or McCain. But when a point of view did emerge, it tended to tilt against Obama.

    That was a reversal of the trend during the primaries, when the same researchers found that 64% of statements about Obama -- new to the political spotlight -- were positive, but just 43% of statements about McCain were positive.

    Such reversals are nothing new in national politics, as reporters tend to warm up to newcomers, then turn increasingly critical when such candidates emerge as front-runners.

    It might be tempting to discount the latest findings by Lichter's researchers. But this guy is anything but a liberal toady.

    In 2006, conservative cable showmen Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly had Lichter, a onetime Fox News contributor, on their programs. They heralded his findings in the congressional midterm election: that the networks were giving far more positive coverage to the Democrats.

    More proof of the liberal domination of the media, Beck and O'Reilly declared.

    Now the same researchers have found something less palatable to those conspiracy theorists.

    But don't expect cable talking heads to end their trashing of the networks.

    Repeated assertions that the networks are in the tank for Democrats represent not only an article of faith on Fox, but a crucial piece of branding. On Thursday night, O'Reilly and his trusty lieutenant Bernard Goldberg worked themselves into righteous indignation -- again -- about the liberal bias they knew was lurking.

    Goldberg seemed gleeful beyond measure in saying that "they're fiddling while their ratings are burning."

    O'Reilly assured viewers that "the folks" -- whom he claims to treasure far more than effete network executives do -- "understand what's happening."

    By the way, Lichter's group also surveys the first half-hour of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Fox News' answer to the network evening news shows.

    The review found that, since the start of the general-election campaign, "Special Report" offered more opinions on the two candidates than all three networks combined.

    No surprise there. Previous research has shown Fox News to be opinion-heavy.

    "Special Report" was tougher than the networks on Obama -- with 79% of the statements about the Democrat negative, compared with 61% negative on McCain.

    There's plenty of room for questioning the networks' performance and watching closely for symptoms of Obamamania.

    But could we at least remain focused on what ABC, NBC and CBS actually put on the air, rather than illusions that their critics create to puff themselves up?
  2. Who gives a damn who they are tougher on?

    They give Obama 5 times the exposure! Hell, all of them sent network stars to travel with the guy!

    As I type, Obama is live on CNN for an interview with a group of reporters in a round table thing. They are doing nothing with McCain.
  3. Update on CNN thing.

    Had to turn it off. Couldn't take it anymore. Typical politician BS.

    Yep, they are asking him tough questions. Problem is, he won't answer any of them!

    Case in point, they just asked him about error in judgment with the Rev Wright thing, etc. Wouldn't answer it. Instead turned it to Mac's error in judgment with voting for the war. He does this EVERY time. And he calls himself a different type of politician. BULLSHIT. This guy will say anything to get elected.

    Mac may damn well be senile as hell, but at least he sticks to his views whether or not they are popular. Everyone thought it was political suicide when he supported the surge. He never wavered. Totally flipped on drilling for oil, but there was a reason for it. I actually respect that if it makes sense.

    Still, I wish some third party dude had a chance. This whole election is the worst choice yet in my 28 year voting experience.
  4. Mccain goaded Obama to travel abroad. mccain being a foreign born american has more interest in affairs abroad than whats going on here in the USA.
    President Bush wants to give $50 billion for aids help in africa,,is it to much to ask for this money to be spent in the good ol USA? Lets rebuild the levees that are aging up n down the mississippi,,,or a hundred other things we need here..
  6. wahala


    How Obama became acting president

    Published: July 27, 2008

    IT almost seems like a gag worthy of “Borat”: A smooth-talking rookie senator with an exotic name passes himself off as the incumbent American president to credulous foreigners. But to dismiss Barack Obama’s magical mystery tour through old Europe and two war zones as a media-made fairy tale would be to underestimate the ingenious politics of the moment. History was on the march well before Mr. Obama boarded his plane, and his trip was perfectly timed to reap the whirlwind.

    He never would have been treated as a president-in-waiting by heads of state or network talking heads if all he offered were charisma, slick rhetoric and stunning visuals. What drew them instead was the raw power Mr. Obama has amassed: the power to start shaping events and the power to move markets, including TV ratings. (Even “Access Hollywood” mustered a 20 percent audience jump by hosting the Obama family.) Power begets more power, absolutely.

    The growing Obama clout derives not from national polls, where his lead is modest. Nor is it a gift from the press, which still gives free passes to its old bus mate John McCain. It was laughable to watch journalists stamp their feet last week to try to push Mr. Obama into saying he was “wrong” about the surge. More than five years and 4,100 American fatalities later, they’re still not demanding that Mr. McCain admit he was wrong when he assured us that our adventure in Iraq would be fast, produce little American “bloodletting” and “be paid for by the Iraqis.”

    Never mind. This election remains about the present and the future, where Iraq’s $10 billion a month drain on American pocketbooks and military readiness is just one moving part in a matrix of national crises stretching from the gas pump to Pakistan. That’s the high-rolling political casino where Mr. Obama amassed the chips he cashed in last week. The “change” that he can at times wield like a glib marketing gimmick is increasingly becoming a substantive reality — sometimes through Mr. Obama’s instigation, sometimes by luck. Obama-branded change is snowballing, whether it’s change you happen to believe in or not.

    Looking back now, we can see that the fortnight preceding the candidate’s flight to Kuwait was like a sequence in an old movie where wind blows away calendar pages to announce an epochal plot turn. First, on July 7, the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, dissed Bush dogma by raising the prospect of a withdrawal timetable for our troops. Then, on July 15, Mr. McCain suddenly noticed that more Americans are dying in Afghanistan than Iraq and called for more American forces to be sent there. It was a long-overdue recognition of the obvious that he could no longer avoid: both Robert Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had already called for more American troops to battle the resurgent Taliban, echoing the policy proposed by Mr. Obama a year ago.

    On July 17 we learned that President Bush, who had labeled direct talks with Iran “appeasement,” would send the No. 3 official in the State Department to multilateral nuclear talks with Iran. Lest anyone doubt that the White House had moved away from the rigid stand endorsed by Mr. McCain and toward Mr. Obama’s, a former Rumsfeld apparatchik weighed in on The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page: “Now Bush Is Appeasing Iran.”

    Within 24 hours, the White House did another U-turn, endorsing an Iraq withdrawal timetable as long as it was labeled a “general time horizon.” In a flash, as Mr. Obama touched down in Kuwait, Mr. Maliki approvingly cited the Democratic candidate by name while laying out a troop-withdrawal calendar of his own that, like Mr. Obama’s, would wind down in 2010. On Tuesday, the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced a major drawdown of his nation’s troops by early 2009.

    But it’s not merely the foreign policy consensus that is shifting Obama-ward. The Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has now joined another high-profile McCain supporter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in knocking the McCain nostrum that America can drill its way out of its energy crisis. Mr. Pickens, who financed the Swift-boat campaign smearing John Kerry in 2004, was thought to be a sugar daddy for similar assaults against the Democrats this year. Instead, he is underwriting nonpartisan ads promoting wind power and speaks of how he would welcome Al Gore as energy czar if there’s an Obama administration.

    The Obama stampede is forcing Mr. McCain to surrender on other domestic fronts. After the Democrat ran ads in 14 states berating chief executives who are “making more in 10 minutes” than many workers do in a year, a newly populist Mr. McCain began railing against “corporate greed” — much as he also followed Mr. Obama’s example and belatedly endorsed a homeowners’ bailout he had at first opposed. Given that Mr. McCain has already used a refitted, hand-me-down Obama campaign slogan (“A Leader You Can Believe In”), it can’t be long before he takes up fist bumps. They’ve become the rage among young (nonterrorist) American businessmen, according to USA Today.

    “We have one president at a time,” Mr. Obama is careful to say. True, but the sitting president, a lame duck despised by voters and shunned by his own party’s candidates, now has all the gravitas of Mr. Cellophane in “Chicago.” The opening for a successor arrived prematurely, and the vacuum had been waiting to be filled. What was most striking about the Obama speech in Berlin was not anything he said so much as the alternative reality it fostered: many American children have never before seen huge crowds turn out abroad to wave American flags instead of burn them.

    Mr. McCain could also have stepped into the leadership gap left by Mr. Bush’s de facto abdication. His inability to even make a stab at doing so is troubling. While drama-queen commentators on television last week were busy building up false suspense about the Obama trip — will he make a world-class gaffe? will he have too large an audience in Germany? — few focused on the alarms that Mr. McCain’s behavior at home raise about his fitness to be president.

    Once again the candidate was making factual errors about the only subject he cares about, imagining an Iraq-Pakistan border and garbling the chronology of the Anbar Awakening. Once again he displayed a tantrum-prone temperament ill-suited to a high-pressure 21st-century presidency. His grim-faced crusade to brand his opponent as a traitor who wants to “lose a war” isn’t even a competent impersonation of Joe McCarthy. Mr. McCain comes off instead like the ineffectual Mr. Wilson, the retired neighbor perpetually busting a gasket at the antics of pesky little Dennis the Menace.

    The week’s most revealing incident occurred on Wednesday when the new, supposedly improved McCain campaign management finalized its grand plan to counter Mr. Obama’s Berlin speech with a “Mission Accomplished”-like helicopter landing on an oil rig off Louisiana’s coast. The announcement was posted on even as any American with a television could see that Hurricane Dolly was imminent. Needless to say, this bit of theater was almost immediately “postponed” but not before raising the question of whether a McCain administration would be just as hapless in anticipating the next Katrina as the Bush-Brownie storm watch.

    When not plotting such stunts, the McCain campaign whines about its lack of press attention like a lover jilted for a younger guy. The McCain camp should be careful what it wishes for. As its relentless goading of Mr. Obama to visit Iraq only ratcheted up anticipation for the Democrat’s triumphant trip, so its insistent demand for joint town-hall meetings with Mr. Obama and for more televised chronicling of Mr. McCain’s wanderings could be self-inflicted disasters in the making.

    Mr. McCain may be most comfortable at town-hall meetings before largely friendly crowds, but his performance under pressure at this year’s G.O.P. primary debates was erratic. His sound-bite-deep knowledge of the country’s No. 1 issue, the economy, is a Gerald Ford train wreck waiting to happen in any matchup with Mr. Obama that requires focused, time-limited answers rather than rambling.

    During Mr. McCain’s last two tours of the Middle East — conducted without the invasive scrutiny of network anchors — the only news he generated was his confusion of Sunni with Shia and his embarrassing stroll through a “safe” Baghdad market with helicopter cover. He should thank his stars that few TV viewers saw that he was even less at home when walking through a chaotic Pennsylvania supermarket last week. He inveighed against the price of milk while reading from a note card and felt the pain of a shopper planted by the local Republican Party.

    The election remains Mr. Obama’s to lose, and he could lose it, whether through unexpected events, his own vanity or a vice-presidential misfire. But what we’ve learned this month is that America, our allies and most likely the next Congress are moving toward Mr. Obama’s post-Iraq vision of the future, whether he reaches the White House or not. That’s some small comfort as we contemplate the strange alternative offered by the Republicans: a candidate so oblivious to our nation’s big challenges ahead that he is doubling down in his campaign against both Mr. Maliki and Mr. Obama to be elected commander in chief of the surge.
    More Articles in Opinion »
    Past Coverage

    * THE WAY WE LIVE NOW; Promises to Keep (July 13, 2008)
    * THE WAY WE LIVE NOW; Redemption Politics (July 6, 2008)
    * THE NATION; The Executive Power Awaiting the Next President (June 22, 2008)
    * POLITICAL MEMO; Comments Cast Shadow On Last Laps In Primaries (May 25, 2008)
  7. Lucrum


    Horse Shit.

    You don't have to be a rocket scientist (or a political scientist) to know that the media in sucking Obama's pecker every single day and twice on Sunday. If the media had their nose any further up Obama's ass he'd be choking on it.

    Who's in that "think" tank anyway? Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin?