Media Fairness??

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Henry Neufeld, in a post commenting on my Election Post Mortem  questioned the reliability of measuring press fairness based on the ratio of stories, and went on to say, that

Debating the fairness of the various outlets is an appropriate exercise in order to try to change the market share of the various outlets, but not in order to pretend that it is the fault of the media that one candidate loses or wins.

Concerning the ratio issue, while there is some validity in the Neufeld’s comment as a general rule, I do not believe that any such differences can account for for such a wide disparity in coverage as demonstrated in the Pew Research Report, or confirmed in analysis by the Washington Post of their own election coverage. In addition, as I pointed out in my post, this was not just an issue of numbers but also reflected in the type of stories covered.

For example it is just a fact that when Iraq was going badly, it received daily coverage, and when it turned around and improved coverage drop to practically nothing. Or compare the coverage of the bubble burst with that of the housing meltdown. In another example, I find it inconceivable that if Freddie and Fannie had been Republican programs, whose executives were former members of the Bush administration, that Bush and Republicans had pushed the legislation to encourage (force) the banks to make these loans, that there had been repeated examples over the last 10 years of Democrats warning of impending problems, and Republicans stonewalling any attempts at changes, that the press would ignored such details has they have ignored the reverse for the democrats. 

So the press coverage has been very bias to the most of dishonesty and I believe that this did play a huge and I believe determinative role. Granted it probably had little effect on the well informed on either side, but it had a huge affect on the large number of votes who do not follow the news closely. After all in a Poll conducted just after the election 28% had never heard of Harry Reid.

Here is a question for those who don’t think the press determined the outcome.  If people had understood that the current financial crisis was caused by Democratic programs, and that in 2005 (among many other times), Republicans including McCain warned of the coming problems and tried to pass legislation that would have adverted much of the current mess, but were blocked by a party line votes by Democratic including Obama, do you really think McCain would have lost the lead he held at the time?

Then there is the whole Chicago machine issue.  Obama grew up politically in the machine, and when he had an option, he sided with the machine. What impact did the machine have on him?  Neufeld says he knew about Rezko and didn’t care? How much did he know?  We know he was convicted and He is supposedly talking prosecutors.  We know he had close ties to Obama from early in his political career and most recently was involved in the purchase of Obama house under questionable circumstances.  Here is a question the press could have asked?  Will Obama fire Kirkpatrick upon taking office and put a more friendly prosecutor in his place? Is Obama at risk of prosecution? We really don’t know because this aspect of Obama life received very little coverage.

Maybe Obama rose to power in the middle of one of the most corrupt machines in the country and yet was somehow untainted by it.  We know he used thug tactics to knock opponents off the ballot so as to run effectively unopposed in his early elections. But what are Obama’ actually ties to the machine? We do not really know because the press never quite got over the tingle in their legs to find out.

Frankly the press simply did not do its job and now we have a big unknown going into the Presidency.  Will he govern as a far left radical?  As a Chicago thug?  As a center-Left leader? Broad outlines are not detailed policies, and it is not even clear what the broad outline for Obama were. We don’t really know, and that is demonstrated by all the guessing at the moment.  I have my guesses, but even after watching him as closely as I did, I can only guess.  I doubt most of the people who main concern were hope and change have any real idea.

As for the stories on his friends and pastor that Neufeld claims would have caused most people to turn off, I am not so sure, but it does depend on how they are presented.  I believe many of them are relevant for several reasons.  Most importantly, they reflect on Obama’s honesty.   Is it really reasonable to believe that Obama sat in his church for 20 years, was so motivated by a sermon that  discussed “white greed” that he mentioned it in his book and used it for the title, and yet had no idea what his Pastor was teaching? 

In all these questionable relations Obama has show a repeated pattern of lies. First denying an knowledge or relationship and then only admitting details when they can no longer be refuted. And he has been allowed to get away with it. Given the press coverage, most people probably do think Ayers was simply a person in his neighborhood, and have no idea of how close and deep those ties were. To get some grasp of the difference, just image the press coverage and uproar if a Republican candidate was show to have such ties to an unrepentant abortion clinic bomber.

Second, one of the most important things a President does is fill the government with 3000 appointed positions. I think the people he has chosen to associate himself with in the past are at least a legitimate indication of the types of people he may appoint. Granted Ayes is not now going to be appointed, but frankly had it not been for the coverage, my guess is that he would have been appointed to something.  Not a high visibility position, but how many of the 3000 really get any press coverage?

Obama is the most liberal candidate ever to be elected into office, far to the left of the American people. While I can somewhat understand the questions about Palin’s lack of experience, she still has more executive experience and more of a record of actual accomplishments than Obama. Yet is a sign of the press bias that these question were seriously raised against Palin running for Vice President, and ignored for Obama running for President.  Sure she made some gaffs, all candidates do. At times Biden made several per week. But Obama’s and Biden’s gaffs were ignored, while Palin’s and McCain’s were news stories.

In short the press in this election were little more that an arm of the DNC.

Nov 14th, 2008

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