Media Defeats McCain?

The election of Barack Obama was certainly historic, and the great attraction of that historic moment led to more history: an Obama-smitten news media that completely avoided their responsibility to test the nominee with hard questions. It made the gooey 1992 Clinton campaign look like a fistfight by comparison.

Obama faced none of the withering scrutiny applied to even the Republican vice presidential candidate. Instead, he was treated to a nearly constant string of encomiums and tributes to his transformational candidacy, while nearly every possible pitfall of political embarrassment or inconvenience has been omitted or dismissed.

The investigative resources of the networks – who combed over Wasilla, Alaska looking for earmarks and pregnancy tests – showed a complete disinterest in traveling to Hawaii or the South Side of Chicago to cast a skeptical eye on any part of Obama’s own preferred campaign narrative.

The big question now: If the media couldn’t scrutinize the man before he was elected, why would they feel the drive to do so afterwards? They won’t. They worked for his election. They will now work for his administration. Past is prologue.

Take the last few Obama fawn-a-thons before the election as examples of things to come. Just one week after NBC’s Brian Williams put up his dukes with John McCain and Sarah Palin, demanding to know if they would keep the pledge to avoid the anti-American harangues of Obama’s long-time minister Jeremiah Wright, he had Obama on the set. The contrast was crystal clear as he asked Obama about how the poor man can’t walk down the street in Honolulu mourning the approaching death of his grandmother.

“According to the press pool traveling with you, you asked to just take a walk and be alone,” he oozed sympathetically. “Guess it’s part of the contract you make when you run in such an extended campaign, but, the human in you, and the husband and father and grandson, must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can’t go for a walk like that?”

CBS anchor Katie Couric, last seen ripping into Palin, also used her last pre-election interview to ask about Obama’s personal feelings, about whether he was a “nervous wreck” about the vote, and “If things go your way on Tuesday and you become this nation’s first African-American President, what will that mean to you personally?”

Couric was tough during that interview – but on the Republicans. She focused Obama on Republicans daring to press the Reverend Wright issue: “The Pennsylvania Republican Party is starting to run an ad in that state which features your former minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, saying quote, ‘God damn America.’ Do you think they would have run that ad without the approval of the McCain campaign?”

Even in the last days of this race, saying “God damn America” was far less reprehensible to the media than replaying it.

Both anchors thought they were being tough by asking the drape-measuring question regarding how Democrats might overreach if they hold all the levers of power in Washington, but both phrased it in a tone which said “Please reassure voters that this is not a real cause for concern.” Williams asked for “assurance” for the American people, and Couric wanted Obama to “assuage” public fears.

The burden of scrutinizing and questioning the new Democratic ruling machine in Washington is already being shrugged off by the Obama press. Once again, it’s going to fall on Fox News Channel and alternative media outlets from radio to the Internet to try and hold Obama accountable. No wonder the Democrats are making noise about crushing anti-Obama dissent on the airwaves with a revised version of the old “Fairness Doctrine.”

In the primary elections, it became clear when it was over that Obama’s win of just one-tenth of a percentage point of the 35 million votes cast that the media’s pro-Obama bias created that

narrow margin of victory. The general election result wasn’t that close, and the punishing circumstances of vigorous Bush hatred and the collapse of economic confidence possibly were just too much for the GOP nominee to overcome.

But try and imagine how different this campaign would have looked if the media’s momentum manufacturers favored McCain with all the unashamed ardor and aggression that they brought in support of Obama. Deep down, the media agree with Evan Thomas that their bias can add five or ten points to a Democrat’s vote total, and they eagerly demonstrated that they were ready to shred their own credibility as allegedly objective referees to achieve that victorious result.

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  • I am an Indo-Canadian and have watched the American Presidential Election race with keen interest. I strongly dispute your observations on the role of the media in support of Barack Obama. As a Roman Catholic I would definitely not have voted for him only because of his Pro-Abortion stance and other major issues:
    You know them as “the five non-negotiables” that no Catholic can support, endorse, or condone …
    • Abortion

    • Euthanasia

    • Homosexual “marriage”

    • Embryonic stem cell research

    • Human cloning

    The Elite, war-mongering, wealth seeking and greed of the Republican Party has been overwhelmingly defeated by 364 to 136 Electoral Votes! America under George Bush and the Republican Party has long lost the respect, regard and admiration of the Whole World. More importantly America has lost the moral & ethical values of their Forefathers. The lack of Diplomatic initiatives and deceit with regard to the Weapons of Mass Destruction of the present Government led the Country into an unnecessary and most costly war with the loss of thousands of American and Iraqi lives!
    A great majority of Americans have finally woken up to a New Era of Change and came out to register in large numbers and also turned out to vote for Barak Obama. This is in spite of the negative hate campaign conducted by Sarah Palin, John McCain and the Republican Party in the press, media and robo-phone calls. (Most unintelligent VP with extremely poor knowledge of world affairs)

    All the wealth and might of the Republican Party could not thwart the will of the great American People. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time!

    Your Research Group should accept defeat of the Republican Party gracefully.

  • jgillen

    Patrick, your next to last comment expresses the outcome of this election succinctly;
    Yes you can fool the majority of the people and easily.

    Spend a lot of money ( far more than the Republicans), have your own personal propaganda machine (used to be call the “free press”) and promise to solve all our problems with wave of his mighty hand ( sign for more taxes and deficit spending). While the George Bush and company have made a lot of mistakes, the moral and ethical values of the country have never been at greater risk than with this new administration.

  • yblegen

    It’s ironic that you wrote this article today. Speaking with a friend of mine about the outcome of the election, she said that she never before saw such media bias for one particular candidate.

    Although it has always existed, for a very large number of reporters are very liberal democrats, the media, as a whole, has really injured themselves. For who can believe what they say? Many if not most of my friends are going to other sources to find out the facts. That is why I tune in to CE every morning.

  • c-kingsley

    Patrick, I was drinking milk when I read your line “All the wealth and might of the Republican Party could not thwart the will of the great American People,” and the milk came shooting out of my nose! Obama out-spent the republican campaign by 4 to 1, and you’re talking about the might of the Republican party?

    No, John McCain wasn’t a great example of what the Republican party even pretends to stand for. But you can’t deny the point of this article, that the media bias in this election was blatant and unabashed.

  • Goatee1

    Patrick – Thank you for mentioning the five non-negotiables. It’s good to hear that this message is getting through to people!

    However, on your comments about the electoral college, a couple of informational items. First, the electoral vote was actually 364 to 162. However, the popular vote was 53% to 46% or so – showing that it would take only about 3 or 4% of the people to change their vote to reverse the results! Our country is still very split, similar to previous elections. The electoral vote can be skewed because of certain “swing” states with large electoral votes.

  • Sorry about the stats – Obama won by 364 to 163 Electoral votes (courtesy CNN) The 11 Electoral votes of Missouri remains to be decided.
    Obama won the Popular vote by 7% more than any American President in USA history!
    Obama an unknown Politician not of the White Elite Class who have dominated American Politics for Generations, you might refer to him as an “underdog”, got his money from the millions of working class Americans who have long been overlooked by Wall Street and the Politicians in Washington.
    His Intelligence, Vision, Leadership qualities earned him the respect of the the New Generation of Americans and quite naturally the Press & the Media.
    America will never be the same again! America has once again earned the respect and goodwill of the Entire World. Americans should be justifiabily proud!

  • Bruce Roeder

    Democracy is the practice of running the circus from inside the monkey cage. We get the government we deserve in as much as we get what we vote for.

    7% is no record. Ronald Reagan got more than 10% of the popular vote than Walter Mondale. And his was not the most lopsided victory in USA history.

    Senator Obama is a product of the Demotratic Party in Chaicago. I can’t find any instances of his crossing his party and idsagreing on principle. Ever. His selection of notoriously partisan and vindictive Rahm Emmanuel as his White House Chief of Staff makes Carl Rove look like a Boy Scout.

    While it is a remarkable statement to the strength and openness of the American democracy, it must be recognized that many Americans voted for Obama because of the color of his skin.

    If it is wrong to vote AGAINST a person because of the color of their skin (and, of course it is) then isn’t it wrong to vote FOR a person because of the color of their skin? Of course it is.

    Be that as it may, I pray for our President-elect, that God may guide his decisions and protect him from doing wrong.