I got an email last night (they are coming in droves now) telling me what the media refuses to report about Barack Obama. It was such a relief to know that there are emailers out there doing the job the media refuses to do!
Why I remember when George W. Bush ran, he got no coverage. All that nefarious stuff that Al Gore did and said as a public servant was completely overlooked as they prized his every move. Meanwhile, Bush was overshadowed, ignored and made fun of for his DUI's and his alcoholic past. The press was unrelenting in expecting us to see what a dangerous executive he'd make. That's why Bush lost! The liberal media was against him, totally. I mean, Al Gore owned the media that year. They loved him! That's why he's been our president for eight years. Right?
Wait, what? Bush won? Twice?
That can't be right. How did a conservative squeak out a victory in the hostile media environment that shredded his character and never cut him a break while fawning over Al Gore and John Kerry?
Oh yeah. Maybe it really is voters who elect presidents and the media that reports on campaigns.
This whole line of reasoning (that the media is liberal and hostile to conservatives) is absurd, of course. The media follows the story. Oh sure, the various networks give it their spin. Fox News and MSNBC will treat the stories differently. Rush Limbaugh and NPR don't usually share the same interpretations of events. But the news media is all about news cycles and grabbing headlines. They are about advancing whatever will hold the viewers' attention. They want ratings!
The idea that somehow a Republican like McCain can't get a break in the news cycle and is being attacked while Obama gets a pass is utterly laughable! Let's review a bit shall we? Obama, during the primary season, was viciously attacked for things his pastor said in three sermons out of 20 years of preaching. Those clips and the media's incessant need to interpret for America what that might mean about Obama took well over a month!
Every possible tag that has been applied to Obama has been repeated without filter since he began his campaign. At one point, Fox News used the term "terrorist" together with Obama's name over 50% of the time. Even Obama's "fist bump" with Michelle after he won the nomination was referred to as a "terrorist fist jab."
That's how the media gives Obama a pass?
Now they want to label him a Communist or a Socialist. Yeah, there goes that media again. Applying terms of endearment to their favorite candidate: socialist Obama.
Meanwhile, let's look at McCain. After Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech at the DNC, less than 24 hours later, McCain stole the news cycle with his mavericky selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. She made him the most interesting candidate for over a month. The press accommodated the McCain campaign's outrageous need to protect Palin from interviews, press conferences and ordinary, routine interaction with the media, not even challenging that strange behavior, but giving them the benefit of the doubt for weeks.
McCain's heroism has been celebrated any time he is mentioned. A deep reverence for his service to our country has made some on the left think the media refuses to criticize McCain. McCain was expected to be a gentleman in his campaign, and long after he gave up "sticking to the issues" and instead went for character attacks, most of his coverage still treated him as a fully respectable candidate.
For nearly 20 years now, rightwing talk radio and Fox News have given a voice to the once silent conservative platform. Those powerful media tools have been critical in dispensing the talking points of the right, of balancing what was likely a left-leaning media prior. George Bush would not have won two terms if the media were exclusively liberal and hostile to all things conservative.
So it's pointless to throw up an 11th hour critique of the media as the last ditch effort to derail Obama's likely win next week. Obama is ahead for several reasons, not the least of which is that Bush has been an unmitigated disaster in the White House.
The ideal conservative candidate, the born again Christian, the man sent by God to lead our nation in the wake of the sinful and liberal Bill Clinton, the one who understood true conservatism and could both energize the stagnating economy and protect us from our enemies... this man who WON TWICE and represented the ideals of Republicans (even in spite of their constant complaints that the media is hostile and liberal) has proven to be the worst president in history.
Hmmm. That might be why Obama looks like a real change... an opportunity to do something - anything - else and see how that works out.
Obama is not the media's darling any more than Bush was. He is America's choice because right now, who he is, what he says, and how he presents his ideas is winning the news cycles.
President Elect Obama - you might want to practice saying it. It's looking pretty good for him right now. (And if you are voting for him, go do it today! Get that vote banked in Ohio.)