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Press Favored Obama Throughout Campaign 1601

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the kudos-for-owning-up-to-it dept.
narcberry writes "After complaints of one-sided reporting, the Washington Post checked their own articles and agreed. Obama was clearly favored, throughout his campaign, in terms of more favorable articles, less criticism, better page real-estate, more pictures, and total disregard for problems such as his drug use. 'Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics. The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that. McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, three months before Obama won his. From June 4 to Election Day, the tally was Obama, 626 stories, and McCain, 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain, 144 times; 41 stories featured both.'"
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Press Favored Obama Throughout Campaign

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  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:32AM (#25702587)

    I'm glad someone is finally stating the obvious.

    • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrNaz (730548) * on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:48AM (#25702801) Homepage

      Not only that, perhaps we can now realize that exercising free speech actually *does* have consequences and hence cannot be treated as an inert exercise of one's freedom.

      Perhaps as a civilization this sort of thing may help us grow up and realize that the right of free speech comes with the duty to exercise it responsibly. More generally, all rights come with a corresponding duty.

      The question is, however, do we as a people have the collective intelligence and insight to pick up the socio-political subtleties of this sort of thing?

      • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hardhead_7 (987030) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:54AM (#25702867)
        First, in my experience only MSNBC has a liberal bias. Second, so? Obama was hitting themes that struck a chord with Americans. People want healthcare, and responsible end to the war in Iraq, etc. McCain/Palin, on the other hand, basically accused him of being a terrorist. If there's more positive going on with Obama, there will be more positive stories. That's not bias, that's just basic common sense. What I thought was stupid were the ridiculous "false equivalence" stories where they'd critize both candidates for "going negative" when Obama was talking about the fact that McCain would tax healthcare (ie, telling the truth) and McCain was accusing him of palling around with terrorists (ie, a lie).
        • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:14AM (#25703165)

          I find it comical anyone could deny bias occored, and when proven wrong its then justified by claiming Obama was more positive.

          The point is being missed here: when the press is in the tank for a candidate and is not fair and balanced, everyone loses.

          anyone claiming it didn't happen are shooting yourselves in the foot by justifying what happened with the press, because at the end of the day the press will turn on Obama, it always does to the standing president, and when they do its going to be comical watching everyone freak out at the "unfairness". i'll be the guy with the popcorn laughing...

          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:40AM (#25703565)
            we in Italy love to say we have impartial press, having laws mandating equal time share on media between candidates, and fines to whom doesn't comply. Guess what? It's not the time, is the tone. It's not who get's coverage, it is who control the outcome of the press. Our "beloved" mr. President controls 75% of the press and 75% of the tv, using some spectrum illegaly (search it yourself - the history of Rete 4)

            and no I'm not making it up: 3 channels are owned by his son, while the public tv has given hope of being impartial and has been divided among major parties.

            It's thousands times better to have genuine biased press (in both ways) than to have our illusion of freedom in speech.
            • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Gizzmonic (412910) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:16PM (#25705423) Homepage Journal

              Someone mod this guy insightful. "Unbiased" news cannot be gathered and disseminated by humans. Even the very choice of what to cover and what not to cover is highly biased.

              It's better to have a variety of voices with their own, well-known slants than to have a single, "unbiased" voice with a hidden agenda. We need people on the left writing stories about racism and exploitive labor practices, and people on the right writing about gun laws and political correctness. And we all need delicious gummi bears. We need to stay up late, pounding handful after gooey handful into our mouths, until all of us, as a nation, have diabetes.

              • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:56PM (#25707409) Homepage Journal

                The problem here is that the major news media outlets assert the claim to "balanced and fair" news coverage, and add the veneer of being a 3rd party when covering political issues.

                The truth is far different from this, and that is the real issue.

                I don't object to something like "Worker's World Daily" or some other magazine that proudly proclaims its political bias. Or talk radio shows like Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern. At least you know where those guys are coming from and have clearly stated agendas for what they are discussing.

                CBS Evening News with Katie Coric pretends to be "balanced" in its coverage of events for each candidate, but did nearly nothing about the "breaking news" of Obama's suggestion to kill the American coal industry or his association with Bill Ayers. Yet they dove (and continue to dive into) the trivial issue of Sarah Palin's clothing... ignoring that Hillary Clinton spent even more on the clothing she wore during her campaign this past year (or had it donated by various famous designers).

                If you are going to endorse a candidate... at least announce the fact and let your viewers/listeners/readers know about that fact before they get the news from you. The major news outlets don't do this, in spite of their rather blatant and obvious bias.

                • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Fourier404 (1129107) on Monday November 10, 2008 @02:13PM (#25707699)
                  I don't get it, first you guys complain that Obama came out of nowhere and we don't know anything about him, but then you complain that the media is biased and spending more time on Obama than McCain. You're never happy are you?
          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by UltraAyla (828879) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:42AM (#25703599) Homepage

            I find it comical anyone could deny bias occurred, and when proven wrong its then justified by claiming Obama was more positive...The point is being missed here:...

            I find it comical that you actually missed the point. Whenever something like this happens, it's a great time to ask why the press would be biased like this. There are news outlets with known liberal biases (MSNBC) and conservative biases (Fox), but for the most part, they all fall somewhere around the center and try to keep it there. We should then ask - what causes a respected news outlet like the post to run more articles for one candidate - I don't think it was a conscious decision, especially with the relatively small margins of difference between them.

            I think GP hit it on the head. The newspapers will write articles that sell - one campaign's rhetoric was negative, and one was positive. In this campaign, positive was what sold. Why then, is it so surprising to hear that one news outlet featured him in more articles? It's not.

            • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by theaveng (1243528) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:51AM (#25703765)

              I think we should let the free market provide "balance". If the Washington Post prints Obama-loving articles, than you counterbalance that with your own paper which prints McCain-loving articles. You then leave it to the People to decide, for themselves, where the truth lies. Not some authoritarian censor.

              As for television, I've found all the outlets to be socialist biased (they assume only government can provide a solution). I have yet to find any television channels that espouses using the People, exercising their own freedom of choice, as a solution to problems (a bottom-up solution).

              • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by hedwards (940851) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:30PM (#25705683)

                That's not appropriate for news organizations. There is an inherent bias of some sort, but any quality news outlet works hard to eliminate it and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.

                Having two extremist views on opposite sides does not constitute fair or balanced. It simply means that you've got two nutters that are arguing.

                It's a lot like having nut jobs that argue for ID and agains evolution does not make it a controversy. It means that you've got nutters out there that don't want to learn new things.

                No nation is well served when that sort of tit for tat news reporting is considered acceptable. And that's ultimately why Fox is such a crappy news source. It is indeed the worst offender, not that there aren't others, but the channel has historically lacked an appropriate wall between the editorials and the actual news. And there's a lack of fact checking and disinterest in eliminating stories that are clearly overtly biased.

            • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:02AM (#25703959)

              although by the standards of much of europe almost all american news stations are right wing.

              • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:44AM (#25704777) Homepage Journal

                And by North Korea standards every news station in the world is extremely liberal. It's all about perspective. Why do people keep dragging out this rhetoric. This is American politics and American mainstream media. Everyone knows by now how right wing the politics are compared to Europe. Does that really mean anything?

            • by ErkDemon (1202789) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:26PM (#25706823) Homepage
              Remember that day when Obama was visiting Germany and addressing huge German crowds (reminiscent of JFK's Berlin visit), and McCain was visiting a smallish shop in the US? And McCain's people were upset that Obama's day was getting far more news coverage than theirs?
              It wasn't an issue of "balance", the Obama visit was simply the bigger story.

              And generally, Obama was a far bigger story than McCain. I mean, "My God, our next president may well be an elderly white man who married into money! Who'd have ever thought that such a thing could happen!" honestly doesn't make for such an interesting news discussion.

              If journalists were discussing the potential significance of someone with Obama's background becoming president, it was difficult not to be positive. It was difficult to think of as much positive material relating to the idea of someone with McCain's background becoming president.

              So Obama's campaign won a lot of positive news coverage by providing news stories that were difficult not to cover positively.

              Where the situations were reversed was with the choice of VP. Biden was a hellishly boring VP candidate, and consequently didn't get much coverage. Old white guy with worthy credentials and a lot of tedious experience. Snore. Nothing to see, move along.
              McCain OTOH deliberately chose an "exiting" VP candidate, and consequently got huge amounts of media coverage off the back of it.

              Unfortunately for the McCain camp, there was a lot more to say about Palin that was potentially negative than potentially positive, and even a lot of republicans winced at the idea of "President Palin", because the person honestly didn't seem to know enough to be considered presidential material. And Palin seemed to love the attention - the McCain people couldn't complain that news people were putting undue emphasis on Palin, because that's why McCain chose Palin - to get headlines and try to stir up some excitement. But other than McCain himself, it was difficult to find anyone in the Republican Party with any experience who was prepared to stand in front of a camera and declare that they thought that Palin would actually be a competent President if anything should happen to McCain. So that then generated a further tendency for negative stories about the McCain campaign compared to the Obama campaign, and that in turn generated discussions about the relative judgement of the two candidates, since Obama was generally considered to have run an excellent campaign despite his relative inexperience, and since McCain seemed to have made at least one critical error, in his VP choice.

              If that was the situation, then reporters were obliged to report on it. They weren't obliged to try to impose a corrective bias onto the news in order to force an artificial 50:50 balance in airtime, if the available stories and information didn't justify that balance.

          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Chrisq (894406) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:22AM (#25704323)
            Does this mean that if Hitler stood as president you would have to have a fair proportion of press articles supporting anti-Semitism?
        • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:22AM (#25703291)
          Funny, I find MSNBC less biased than CNN. Perhaps conservatives and liberals perceive bias differently :-) But the slant I noticed on CNN was elegant and subtle. Not only were they unlikely to run a positive story on McCain, but if they did then all other stories on the main page would be negative. If the biz section had a downbeat story on the economy, then the political section would have a McCain story. If the Science section told of some breakthrough, they would run an Obama story in National or Politics. Stories also ran for very arbitrary periods of time... negative stories could stay on the page for weeks unchanged. Positive stories lasted half a day to two days. I think there was an intentional effort on CNN's part to paint the public mood as gloomy as possible, which helped Obama.

          Also although I agree that Obama's message did strike a chord and McCain's messages were largely negative, in all fairness McCain had lots of positive messages but they were flatly refused to be reported. The new outlets only mentioned his negative stuff. Obama had *lots* of attacks on McCain but he was getting a lot more coverage so it didnt appear as if thats all he was saying.
          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Fozzyuw (950608) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:45AM (#25703657)

            Also although I agree that Obama's message did strike a chord and McCain's messages were largely negative, in all fairness McCain had lots of positive messages but they were flatly refused to be reported.

            If we're doing things in all fairness, then I should also point out that there's a difference between "McCain/Obama" ads and ads run by "McCain/Obama" supporters.

            A lot of negative ads run against McCain/Obama were not directly from McCain/Obama but supporters of McCain/Obama.

            Then, of course, we need to talk about money. When one side spends 3/4 to 1 on ads (Obama to McCain), it gives them a lot better ability to change their ratio of positive/negative advertising.

            If, for example, McCain ran 10 negative ads and 10 positive ads and Obama runs 15 negative ads but 40 positive ads, Obama has actually run more negative ads but at a smaller ratio.

            Hehe, maybe that's why the major media outlets loved him? He gave them a ton of money in advertisement.

            • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:49AM (#25704879)

              Hehe, maybe that's why the major media outlets loved him? He gave them a ton of money in advertisement.

              That's not a joke, that's quite accurate. Have you ever noticed the full page video game ads in the same publications that give those games a 9.6 or so? Major advertisers can exert a lot of influence.

              McCain stayed within public financing limits. Obama exceeded them.

          • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:59AM (#25703893) Homepage Journal

            "Obama had *lots* of attacks on McCain "
            You mean like how McCain was a Bush clone?

            You are right in that bias is in the eye of the beholder.
            Many people feel Fox is fair and balanced just as many people feel the Washington Post is.
            The key is if the news service shares you bias then you see it as unbiased.
            To be honest every liberal should only get their news from Fox and every conservative should only get their news from NPR.
            I do feel that McCain got a bad deal. I think he would make a good president and this to be honest was his last chance at it.
            That being said I really do hope Obama is a good president I wish him all the luck in the world.

            • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Informative)

              by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:31AM (#25704485)

              To be honest every liberal should only get their news from Fox and every conservative should only get their news from NPR

              Ha ha not a bad idea. Obviously Im conservative, but I cant stand Fox, and they're my last choice for a news outlet. I read CNN mostly because its a good page layout, and provide links to more in-depth coverage thats less biased (Time/Money/SI Swimsuits/etc).

              If you want unbiased though you need to go to BBC I think. I cant look at the BBC RSS feed without thinking either US news is incompetent or purposely burying world news. Either excuse is disturbing.

            • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by dnoyeb (547705) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:35AM (#25704591) Homepage Journal

              I disagree with the NPR crack. I do agree that in the circle of my conservative friends, cracking on NPR as liberal is a common theme. But I listen to NPR and they work very hard to be non-biased. You rarely detect it in their stories or how they conduct their interviews. Sometimes you do though like Terry Gross blunder of an interview with Mrs. Cheney.

              I, however, am a Liberal. I fully recognize the MSNBC bias and admit it as much as I recognize the Fox bias. Both networks have some good shows, and some clowns. Just because I am liberal does not mean I don't see a biased show for what it is. I wonder though if conservatives can tell the same.

              I used to think McCain would make a good president but not anymore. He ran a bad campaign. If you cant run a campaign and drive your people, your not looking good to be running the executive. McCain of 2000/2004 would have made a good president. McCain before he sold his soul to the Bush team.

          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by houghi (78078) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:22AM (#25704317)

            Perhaps they had less positive stories about McCain, because there WERE less positive stories. Just because there is a story about one thing does not mean that there must be a story about another thing.

          • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Arkham (10779) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:13PM (#25705351)

            Not only were they unlikely to run a positive story on McCain, but if they did then all other stories on the main page would be negative. If the biz section had a downbeat story on the economy, then the political section would have a McCain story. If the Science section told of some breakthrough, they would run an Obama story in National or Politics.

            I worked for CNN.com about 7 years ago. I don't know if it's still this way, but the placement of stories was not done by any political partisans back then -- it was done by story rank. With as many stories as CNN runs and has in their database, all pages were generated from a template that would iterate through and put in the top "n" stories based on the template definition. The top science story or business story appearing on the same page as the top political story and having the tone be positive or negative would be purely coincidental.

            Then again, this was several years ago, but I have no reason to believe it would have changed since then.

      • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theaveng (1243528) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:42AM (#25703603)

        >>>realize that the right of free speech comes with the duty to exercise it responsibly.

        Translation: You can only say what "the authorities" allow you to say. In that case it's no longer FREE speech. It's slave speech (where your mouth is no longer your own, but is controlled by somebody else). Anybody who attempts to take away my right to say or print whatever I feel like saying will answer for it to the fullest measure. "From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson.

        If you want balance, you do it through freedom and liberty, not control. If the Washington Post prints Obama-loving articles, than you counterbalance that with your own paper which prints McCain-loving articles. You then leave it to the People to decide, for themselves, where the truth lies. Not some authoritarian censor.

        • You're overlooking one critical aspect of responsibility: it's not an external decision imposed on you. It's an internal decision you impose on yourself.

          Yes, the First Amendment gives you the right to say almost anything you care to. Falsely yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is an example of something the First Amendment does not give you the right to do. The example of the Westboro Baptist Church, on the other hand, is something that is protected under First Amendment rights.

          Where does responsibility meet the First Amendment? In the first case, by not spreading false and potentially harmful information. In the second case... there's no act of responsibility behind that particular organization's communications.

    • Re:Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Monday November 10, 2008 @01:47PM (#25707251) Homepage Journal

      Note, however, that more favorable coverage is not the same thing as bias. For example, in covering the debate between advocates of intelligent design and advocates of evolution, "balanced" coverage -- coverage that is not favorable to one side or the other -- is biased, because intelligent design is not science. This is not to deny that bias might have existed in election coverage, but that isn't the only source of disparity between the treatments of the candidates.

      One important source in this case was the quality of the campaigns. Obama ran a superb campaign. It was organized, disciplined and consistently on-message. McCain's campaign was none of these things. They kept searching for a new message, then circling back to ones that weren't working, like the Ayers issue. They could have raised Ayers again if momentum was swinging their way, but it wasn't; it was just an issue that hadn't stuck that they they were stuck on because they didn't know how to swing the election back their way. This lack of focus created a vacuum into which negative coverage expanded.

      McCain himself couldn't stick to the script, and had to cut off press access, which is bad for a candidate who based his career on accessibility. Palin's lack of polish really undermined McCain's strongest issue in this election: even Obama supporters have to admit it would be better if he had a full term in the Senate under his belt.

      This was a Democratic year; to overcome that, McCain's campaign needed to put together a message that resonated, and slowly dig itself out of the hole over the course of weeks. Obama showed how to do this. He started in a hole against Hilary Clinton, and his campaign demonstrated the staying power to wear down her lead over months and months.

      McCain isn't like that; he's mercurial, given to dramatic gestures and sudden improvisations. That might work in an even year, but not this year. None of the big things he did that were supposed to sway the election, such as selecting Palin or "suspending" his campaign, had staying power to carry him through to election day.

      This election was most emphatically not McCain's to lose. It was Obama's, and the McCain campaign simply failed to seize the initiative. Obama was vulnerable, but McCain's campaign was simply not able to put those vulnerabilities into focus. The press did not snatch victory from McCain's grasp; he just never put himself in a position to grasp victory. His poor press coverage simply reflected this. A well run campaign, say Bush's 2000 campaign, determines what the press is covering and how it is covering it.

  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:33AM (#25702609)
    ...the voters. Isn't it natural that the winning candidate will appeal to the journalists more aswell, than the losing one? Especially in a historic election as this one.
  • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#25702623) Journal
    1) Go to Daily Kos or a similar site and retrieve a vanity post from 2004 whining about Bush stealing the election
    2) Replace Bush with Obama, and post to FreeRepublic
    3) Drink a shot everytime someone replies positively
    4) Die of alcohol poisoning

    Irony laden fun for the whole family.
  • Not really biased (Score:5, Insightful)

    by visualight (468005) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#25702629) Homepage

    I don't see this as evidence of bias on the part of reporters, I see it at evidence of the Democratic Primary running as long as it did.

    Also, the Republican campaign(s) threw a lot of mud which of course prompted coverage. If Mccain hadn't put Obama in the news so much, he wouldn't have been in the new so much. If the accusations had more merit the resulting coverage wouldn't have been as positive as it was.

    • Insightful (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:46AM (#25702783) Homepage
      I'd say you've pretty much nailed it with that comment. A lot of the coverage of Obama was prompted by attacks that he was "pallin' around with terrorists" and whatnot. The press investigated, found that the concerns were baseless, and the result was what ammounts to a positive story for Obama. Then, of course, McCain keeps up the attacks and the press writes what ammounts to a negative story about how McCain is slinging mud on the campaign trail. It's not really that the press was biased (though I will give you that the media does tend to have a leftist tilt), so much as that they covered what was happening on the election trail. How was anyone supposed to spin the facts as a positive story for McCain? Obama, on the other hand, didn't give the press much chance to cover McCain. His attacks were far fewer, and according to most fact checkers nearly every one of them had merit.
  • I wouldn't know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CustomDesigned (250089) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:36AM (#25702645) Homepage Journal

    I ditched the TV 20 years ago, and the newspaper 5 years ago. I don't understand why anyone listens to the "main stream media" anymore. My in-laws think everything they see on TV "news" is Gospel, however.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:36AM (#25702651)

    Obama ran a better campaign?

    Better campaigns get better press coverage. I know that sounds crazy, but generally people doing a good job get better reviews then people doing a bad job.

    Of course, in the eyes of the idiocracy that is the modern Republican party, doing a good job is evil, and reporting on it is bias.

  • by arkham6 (24514) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:37AM (#25702667)
    The goal of the media to sell advertising and papers. They do this by 'sexing' up the news as much as possible to make people want to read it. If it bleeds, it leads as they say. Why read boring stories about real substance when you can read Exciting! Stories! About Stars!

    So its no surprise Obama had more favorabe coverage. He was by far the 'sexier' candidate.

    (Tho Palin was hotter)
  • Palin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:37AM (#25702669)

    Do the numbers factor in Sarah Palin at all? I'm too lazy to sign up for the Post.

    She was in the news quite a bit, at least a HECK of a lot more than Biden. I'm not saying her press was "good" but there was a lot of it.

    Comparing Obama+Biden vs McCain+Palin probably results in closer numbers.

    Besides, are we really surprised? Obama running as the Democrat nominee was history in the making. Of course he would get more press.

  • Overseas coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by name*censored* (884880) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:38AM (#25702679)

    I can't speak for other countries, but that was certainly the case here in Australia - Obama was being discussed as if he were already president, and McCain was rarely mentioned (the Americans being interviewed had to keep reminding the Australian reporters that McCain even existed). Perhaps it has something to do with the excitement of the possibility of the first black president, or perhaps the political alignment of Australia made us favour Obama, who knows?

  • Favouring... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SystematicPsycho (456042) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:42AM (#25702735)

    Bush had a good run in the media especially in making "the case" in the war against Iraq. He got a nice handshake from the mainstream media then, but when the shoe is on the other foot it's like the end of the world. Besides, the Republicans got so unpopular after two Bush terms it would be hard enough ramming the same trash down people's throats again.

  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@praecantator. c o m> on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:46AM (#25702789) Homepage

    ..."Reality has a strong liberal bias."

    My take on this is that Obama's candidacy and success were in fact more newsworthy than McCain's. Obama changed the game in a lot of ways, both in terms of who he is and how he ran. McCain was more of a known quantity to begin with, and ran a fairly ordinary race. In fact, the most remarkable thing about McCain's campaign (apart from the stunt-casting VP pick, which generated plenty of news)was that it was so painfully typical, where McCain used to do things more his own way.

    In short, if McCain had made more news, he might have gotten more headlines. Instead, he was mostly yesterday's news.

  • World Domination (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anorlunda (311253) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:50AM (#25702823) Homepage

    On NPR's Talk Of The Nation show last week, they had callers from all over the world give reactions to Obama's victory. I was shocked to hear Palestinians, Iranians and everyone be so totally knowledgeable about US internal politics. They talked about the Christian Right, neocons, and more. They sounded just like American media junkie citizens.

    Then it dawned on me. Thanks to satellite TV, now the whole world can watch US TV news. They are influenced by media coverage just like US residents are.

    Then I tried to think of cases in recent decades where world opinion differed significantly from the US media's dominant spin. I can't think of a single one.

    Maybe I'm not conspiratorial enough in my thinking. Have we allowed a self-appointed unregulated, unaccountable group of elites to take control of world opinion and thus overshadow the power of people and governments?

    Is democracy a viable form of government if voter opinions are so readily influenced and shaped by the media?

    Suddenly, I'm no longer so sure that absolute freedom of the press is such a good idea any more.

    • Re:World Domination (Score:5, Informative)

      by famebait (450028) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:12AM (#25703135)

      Then it dawned on me. Thanks to satellite TV, now the whole world can watch US TV news.

      Satellite makes it easier, but it's been a basically like this for way longer than that, and teh reasons run much deeper:

      The point is that as the only superpower (or until recently one of two and everyone's ally unless you were already run by the soviets), what America does _matters_. Directly. To just about everyone. So if you know what's good for you, you better get wise about what it's doing.

      Also, most countries are smaller and not spoilt with this kind of power themselves, they know that most of what "is happening" takes place outside your country, so even regular folks takes a certain interest in international affairs even beyond the superpowers, wheras in the US you don't really need to care much about what happens out side it, and are even encouraged to think that all that 'foreign stuff' is mainly irrelevant compared to what goes on in the US.

      I'm European, but have lived in the US for a short while, and visited several times since, and I must say the dearth of international news (beyond whatever wars you guys are involved in at any given time) is simply shocking. The rest of us simply cannot afford to be that ignorant.

    • Re:World Domination (Score:5, Informative)

      by famebait (450028) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:20AM (#25703263)

      Oh, and one more thing:

      "Then I tried to think of cases in recent decades where world opinion differed significantly from the US media's dominant spin. I can't think of a single one."

      Umm, there was this tiny little thing called Iraq, where basically noone agreed with you, or believed your claims of evidence. That might not be the impression you got from your domestic media, though.

      International opinion was also much quicker to oppose the Vietnam war than the domestic majority.

      We all laughed our asses off at how it is possible to let a president's fling almost overthrow the country.

      I think you might find also find that international opinion on your christian right and neocons is far less accepting than in the US.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:56AM (#25702891) Journal

    While listening to NPR, I was struck by how one-sided the coverage was. The pinnacle of the disparity had to be when, during a segment on McCain, barely mentioned McCain's but they stated Obama's positions in detail.

  • by originalhack (142366) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:57AM (#25702911)
    I agree with Bill Maher. Not every story has two sides. We don't expect every negative story about axe murderers to be balanced by a positive story about axe murderers.

    Why, then, are we expecting that the bizarre campaign of a man who is a shadow of who he was running with an uninformed hatemonger and which wants to continue

    • the massive shift of economic benefits to the super-rich,
    • corrupt government with the further invasion of government-sponsored religion into our personal lives,
    • and cowboy diplomacy

    would get as much positive press as a smooth campaign by two qualified candidates running on a platform of

    • equitable economic policy,
    • ethical government that leaves people free to make their own religious choices
    • the return of the USA to the community of nations

    Sometimes the reason the story is positive is because the subject is positive.

  • by Targon (17348) on Monday November 10, 2008 @09:59AM (#25702953)

    If you have watched the campaigns of both McCain and Obama, there is also a clear difference in what has been said on both sides. It was even more clear for the month leading up to the election.

    The Obama campaign has spent the most time saying what Barack Obama felt were the solutions to the problems, and talking about the problems out there. There was very little McCain/Palin bashing from the campaign. It may have been the press coverage, but I didn't see the Obama camp really stirring up anti-McCain feelings with fairly few advertisements saying why people should not vote for McCain.

    On the other hand, EVERY rally that McCain and Palin were at showed no solutions, just reasons why they said not to vote for Obama. This shows why McCain lost, because he didn't show he was focused on why people should vote for him.

    So, in the press, why should they cover, "Republican candidate bashes Obama but says nothing about how to deal with the issues" day in and day out? If McCain was more presidential BEFORE his concession speech, he would have done better.

    Also, when a candidate ONLY focuses on his/her "base", it makes anyone not in that group feel that there is no reason to support that person. If people in the press have a normal bias toward a more moderate to liberal candidate, then those who are focused on ONLY targeting the conservative people, it just makes for there being no real news if that conservative candidate doesn't say anything new.

    Did McCain EVER talk about having real solutions, or just how people should be afraid of having Obama as president?

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:13AM (#25703159) Homepage Journal

    The young, photogenic, would-be first black President gets more attention than the puffy old white guy? Say it ain't so, America, say it ain't so!

    Of course, this is also easily explained by the fact that reality has a liberal bias.

  • Quality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alomex (148003) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:20AM (#25703251) Homepage

    Obama makes a major speech on race, lauded by all sides, which is dully reported by the media. Did Obama dominate the headlines for a week round that, under a positive light? You betcha.

    McCain "rushes" to Washington, suspends his campaign and accomplishes exactly nothing, which is dully reported under a negative light? of course!

    This isn't media bias. It is candidates getting their just desserts.

    Media bias would be if McCain had given a historic speech, defining his candidacy away from Bush, Rove and the religious right and it didn't get reported. But that, my friends, never happened.

  • Drug use?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by philgross (23409) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:22AM (#25703299) Homepage
    Are you referring to the drug use he had himself described in detail in his best-selling book [trendrr.com]? The drug use which, when the NYT investigated back in February [nytimes.com], interviewing his peers of the time, he turned out to have probably exaggerated?

    Oh, and when asked about his drug use back in October 2006 said "Of course I inhaled. That was the point" [blogspot.com]. On video [politics.com].

    No, I have no idea why the media would not want to spend reporting resources and column inches covering this repeatedly.

    And would you agree that Obama has been far more open about his illegal substance abuse than certain other presidents [wikipedia.org]?

  • by Tacubaruba (553520) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:25AM (#25704369)
    If the Democrats had nominated an old guy who'd been around forever and the Republicans had nominated someone fresh and dynamic whose candidacy was historic, the coverage disparity would have been the other way around. It's a mistake to say this is evidence of media liberal bias. Obama was simply more newsworthy and interesting.
  • Umm.. slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lawaetf1 (613291) on Monday November 10, 2008 @12:05PM (#25705197)

    Funny how nobody has stopped to ask... but WTF is this story doing on Slashdot? If I wanted useless partisan bickering over a news story (about news stories) I would go to Yahoo's message boards.

    Oh wait, even they figured out that hosting an open forum on the Internet about politics is like giving angry monkeys a bucket of poop. That's why there's no more comments section on articles.

    "News for nerds." Let's stick with that.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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