The Alan Grayson Page

The Anthony Weiner Page

Guest Contributors


  • BN-Politics' administrators respect, but do not necessarily endorse, views expressed by our contributors. Our goal is to get the ideas out there. After that, they're on their own.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2007

Blog Catalog

  • Liberalism Political Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory



« In Illinois, Religious Legislator Blasts Atheist Activist | Main | Surge Still "Working": Five More U.S. Soldiers Die in Iraq »

April 08, 2008



As I've said before, Obama got a relative light touch from the Media before it became a two-way race. Since then, however, the media has been hard on him, particularly the more right-wing elements, which now mainly ignore Hillary and focus on Obama.

This is not an Obama vs. Hillary phenomenon. This is a Democrat vs. Republican phenomenon. Hillary bore the brunt of it because she was the presumptive nominee for a long time. Since then, Obama has been raked over the coals about Wright, about being a bad bowler, about whatever they can find. Meanwhile, McCain has done some phenomenally stupid or dishonest things, and they have faded from the light quite quickly.

I know I've mentioned him a lot lately, but Glenn Greenwald is all over this story. He actually just wrote a book about it. Here's a great recent story about this:
And here's a book excerpt, focussing on coverage of McCain:
Sometimes it seems like media bias is all Greenwald talks about any more, which is odd for a guy whose core issue is civil liberties. But I admire the way he continues to pile evidence on the top of the mountain he already has, repeatedly pointing out the way the media tilts the debate to make Republican talking points seem reasonable.

Complaining about bias in the Obama/Clinton race is treating the symptom, not the problem. People need to loudly and unceasingly complain about the real issue: that the MSM criticizes the Democratic leaders and packages them in unflattering ways, while they coddle the Republican leaders and buy into whatever image they are selling.

D. Cupples


However my tone seems in writing, I'm not upset. I really enjoy chatting with you! The all caps don't indicate shouting: Typepad doesn't allow me to italicize in the comments.

That said, I flatly disagree about timing. Obama started getting HELP from MSNBC on the night of the Iowa caucus (which is more than a "light touch").

True, right wing media have gone after Obama more than Hillary, but Fox et. al. aren't taken seriously as "fair and balanced."

It's the "moderate" and "liberal" media (what I call the MSM) that are my focus, because they're SUPPOSED to more objective than Fox and Limbaugh.

The MSM's failures and mis-steps (re Hillary/Obama) are partly why it HAS become Dem vs. Dem. I've written about that, too, and it's a shame. So have Taylor Marsh and No Quarter.

Yes, Obama got raked over re: Wright, but the MSM has NOT raked him over "about whatever they can find."

I know this, because I (and other bloggers) have found oodles of stuff in newspapers that most MSM ignored.

The national debate (and ordinary people's preceptions of Obama) would be different if the MSM hadn't largely ignored issues like O's taking legislative credit for stuff he hadn't really worked on, his behind-the-scenes ties to lobbyists (and the law firms at which they're partners), the oil-connected money, Goolsbee, Power....

Those issues don't deserve nightly play for a week, but ordinary voters who don't daily scour the Internet deserved to know about them. Mostly, they don't.

RE: "Complaining about bias in the Obama/Clinton": SOMETIMES, you seem to skim read my arguments -- or maybe you're countering someone else's point?

MY WHOLE POINT (as the title reflects) is that media bias is BIGGER than the presidential race. That's why I discussed pre-Iraq media.

MY WHOLE POINT is that it's about what the media's long-term role in our national discourse should be.

People who want media on which they can rely for solid info and a (more) complete picture of national and world events should NOT stand idly by while MSM actively or subtly campaigns for or against a candidate.

People who support media's blatant shaping of national discourse when it favors "their" candidate (e.g., pro-Obama) but get upset at the prospect that MSM will have a mood swing (e.g., go pro-McCain) AREN'T focusing on the big pic.

They're focusing on short-term results. That will surely lead to a see-saw relationship with the MSM.

That's why I said that bloggers concerned about the MSM's future role in campaigning for McCain (or other issues) should now blast those media outlets that have been campaigning for Obama.

It's about Media's blatant slanting of stories based on pundits', editors, or executives' personal biases or pecuniary interests.

It shouldn't be ok with anyone who wants more objective media for the MSM to campaign for ANY candidate.


I can't say I never think that my comments annoy or frustrate you, but I respect your opinion and I know you enjoy the discussion. As do I.


I would argue that Obama's oil money, lobbyist, and legislative credit issues have gotten limited play because it is just not that juicy. No point in re-hashing my various reasons why, but personally I don't see any of those as major stories. Moreover, they just aren't very visual. By contrast, segments blasting Obama for Wright or Clinton for Tuzla are highly visual and appeal to the lowest common denominator. Ditto for Goolsbee and Power, which DID get plenty of coverage. Power more than Goolsbee, not because it was more significant, but because it was jucier.


I really wish you were right that "the MSM" didn't include Fox News. But sadly, it does. Let's also not forget that CNN and MSNBC employ Lou Dobbs and Joe Scarborough, among many others like them. CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS also all routinely skew the debate by bringing on cheerleaders for the Bush administration to comment, and presenting wishy-washy "process critics" as their counterpoint, excluding from the debate those who object to Bush policies at their very root.
You're right that this is bigger than the presidential election. I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but you really should read this piece today by Greenwald:
(As long as we're discussing media bias, I'm going to keep dropping those links, because I think he is drastically ahead of the curve on this stuff. I really have no idea whether he likes Obama or Clinton more. He's a big picture guy.)

Simply put, this debate is about allowing people to see accurately what government they get when they vote one way or the other. It is about giving people the information we need for democracy to function as intended. Yes, those are high stakes, indeed.

When I spoke of complaining about bias in Obama/Clinton, I was responding to the second-to-last paragraph, where you suggest complaining about coverage of the primary. I think focussing on that really lets the MSM off the hook - they can defend individual issues. I think the proper approach here is to attack the MSM for the whole shebang - the entire system where they ignore real issues, ignore the rhetoric that shapes policy, and focus on tabloid coverage.

Attack them for reporting on all the stupid crap about both candidates, and spending almost no time on the policy speeches that both of them make. Blast them for mindlessly parroting the "straight-talking maverick" image of McCain while he lays the duplicitous rhetorical groundwork for America's next agressive war. Blast them for failing to include any commentary from progressive critics of the administration, with the arguable exception of Olbermann.

Take Olbermann - he's a good example of what is right AND what is wrong with the MSM. I know Olbermann is in the tank for Obama. Personally, I consider him to be an editorialist, as oppose to a journalist, and as such it's not surprising that he gives his personal opinion over the air. The issue with the MSM is not that they include comments from someone like Olbermann. The issue is:

1) Many of the stories that Olbermann is commenting on are barely covered, or not covered at all, by the rest of major network or cable news. Shouldn't there be some basic journalistic reporting on things like the duplicitous nature of the Republican stance on FISA, or the Yoo memos?

Right now, watching the news on TV is like reading a newspaper with no front page. You get good coverage of sports and entertainment, but you have to figure out the major stories from the editorials.

2) There's basically one loud progressive critic of the administration on major network or cable news. He happens to be an Obama supporter, but that's not the issue. The issue is that there is ONE. No wonder "The Daily Show" won an emmy... not much competition.

3) We have a couple guys who get to comment all the time who are in the tank for Obama, and a MOUNTAIN of talking heads who are in the tank for McCain/against any Democrat. This is how the general election will play out, too.

The comments to this entry are closed.