The Anti-Obama Media Tilt Begins
In elections over the past twenty years or so, the media has rather noticeably leaned to the right. It forgives the right-wing candidate egregious faults and fallacies, and focuses disproportionately on those of the left-wing candidate.
In 2000, Gore’s Internet quote (which he never made) and his alleged “lies” (such as precisely which of many forest fires he had visited the scenes of with exactly which people) were hyped up as indicative of Gore’s “problem with the truth,” but far more serious issues and lies on the Bush side, including his drunk driving conviction, his record on education in Texas, his past with drugs, and much more, were given short shrift. Most of the tilt, however, was in smaller things–the kinds of photos the press chose to use, the polls they chose to quote, the specific stories they paid attention to. It added up.
This propensity showed up in 2004 as well (one small example: attention was given to the Swift-boaters, but not to Bush’s clearly faked security alerts), but flared significantly in 2008. McCain was allowed to duck and quickly forget all kinds of lies, flip-flops, and scandals, while Obama was criticized in the media for stuff that was far more tame, or even not true.
Case in point: On offshore drilling, McCain did a complete 180 within days, but the media more or less left him alone for that. Obama, meanwhile, was charged as being a flip-flopper when he did not change his policy or goals, but said he might accept a compromise with Congress on the issue. Earlier, McCain had even violated campaign finance laws but was given a bye from the media–while the press sounded huge alarms when Obama made the completely legal move of foregoing public financing of his campaign.
Think of it this way: what if Obama were the Republican and McCain were the Democrat? What if the Republicans had a youthful, charismatic, African-American candidate who was a great orator, and the Democrats were running a septuagenarian fuddy-duddy with a weird laugh and a so-so-speaking style? What if the Republican was outspending the Democrat four-to-one in advertising? What if the Republican was the one with consistent policies and the Democrat had flip-flopped on almost every issue? What if the Republican promised bigger tax cuts to the middle class, and the Democrat’s proposals were the ones promising to explode the deficit more? What if the Republican had a solid if not-so-exciting running mate while the Democrat chose a lightweight, far-left whacko? What if the Republican had a solid campaign organization running a competent 50-state policy while the Democrat’s campaign was in disarray? What if the Republican was standing tall while the Democrat was lying left and right and running a pathetic smear campaign?
Take all that, and then add the idea that the election comes after an 8-year Democratic presidency mired in war, corruption, and policy disaster ending with the biggest economic downturn in generations, and the Democrat was running on essentially the same policies as his predecessor?
I mean, seriously: are you freaking kidding me? The Republican would be ahead by huge margins. A landslide would be confidently predicted. There would simply be no question.
As I then pointed out, there were no end to the times you saw McCain do something stupid or repellent, and could say, “if Obama had done that, he’d be toast.” The media didn’t really care. They had their narrative, and were sticking to it. Yes, they do want an election to be more of a horse race than a blow-out–though when put to the test, I have no trouble believing they’d be OK with the Republican having a comfortable lead, and would not bother tilting back the other way to make it closer.
Well, it was bound to start sometime for 2012, and it has now. The Washington Post and ABC released a poll which showed Romney ahead of Obama, 49% to 46%–within the margin of error. Romney ahead, they declare; Obama has “lost his bounce,” the headlines shout. Do a Google News search, and about 500 stories come up.
Quinnipiac releases a poll which shows Obama ahead by six points, 47% to 41%, but only a few dozen sources in Google News carry it. The most prominent is the L.A. Times. Guess how they cover it? The headline: “Mitt Romney more competitive with Obama in poll, but religion remains a sticking point.” That’s the headline. “Mitt Romney More Competitive with Obama,” and the reason he’s not doing better is because of religious bigotry.
Worse, despite being an article about the Quinnipiac poll, it doesn’t mention that Obama leads Romney by 6 points until the tenth paragraph. Almost as an afterthought or something. People reading the article might even come away with the impression that Romney was ahead, especially if they stopped reading about half-way.
Yeah, no tilting here.
This is just the beginning. Be prepared for a long road cluttered with crap like this.