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Is Barack Obama Reviving The WPA? [Vinnie] | Main | Change.gov Misuses Domain Intended for Government Bodies Only for Partisan Political Purposes
November 22, 2008

Time's Mark Halperin: Pro-Obama Bias of Press Most Extreme in Modern History

All this was of course known (and intended) during the campaign. Now that the campaign has been safely won by the press, it's time for the media to begin admitting the obvious and pretending it was all just sort of a mistake which will be remedied in the future.

As the saying goes, it is easier to beg for forgiveness than to receive permission. They did what they, um, needed to do, but now they can pretend they'd have done things differently, if only they'd been aware of their errors as they were making them.

Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine's Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.

"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Halperin, who maintains Time's political site "The Page," cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.

"The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies," Halperin said. "The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn't talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that's ever been written about her."

The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was "like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is," according to Halperin.

The standard press apologetics are that 1) if you're winning you get better coverage, so the bias was "neutral" in the sense that McCain would have had the same bias if only he'd been winning and 2) Obama got better coverage only on the (again) "neutral" grounds he was "new," and of course McCain could have had the same biased coverage if only he'd been new.

Two words rebut both of these points utterly: Sarah Palin.

McCain was winning, quite nicely, for two weeks after he announced Palin as his VP. Who was, you know, new. The press did not respond by giving McCain and Palin positive press, but by indulging in a nasty feeding frenzy of dumpster-diving smear-peddling the likes of which we haven't before witnessed in the modern era.

If the bias was purely due to "neutral" non-political circumstances such as "being ahead in the polls" and the "newness" of a candidate, we should have expected to see McCain and Palin feted as the New Hotness Messiahs, replacing the press love for the Old and Busted Messiah Obama. Of course, no such alienation of affection took place among the press. They redoubled their efforts to elect Barack Obama.

Furthermore, of course, the supposedly-neutral bias in favor of the winner obscures the fact that Obama was winning precisely because the press refused to run negative stories about him. While we heard an awful lot about Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe, we heard nothing about the $300,000 discount that convicted political fixer and bagman Tony Rezko got for his good buddy Obama. The press trumpeted every misstatement by McCain and Palin while ignoring every gaffe by Obama and Biden. Etc.

They have no defense. To ladle additional lies upon a breathtaking record of dishonesty adds insult to injury.

Thanks to CJ.

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posted by Ace at 07:52 PM

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