Day By Day

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Cheerleaders

One of the side benefits of this year's interminable election fight is that media bias has at last been acknowledged by... the mainstream media. When it was just Republicans [ugh] who were being victimized there was no acknowledgment of the bias, but now that two liberal icons are duking it out, reporters and editors [at least some of them] are having to face up to their bigotry.

John Harris and Jim Vandehei, writing in the Politico are appalled at the "distressingly inappropriate" behavior of their colleagues.

The shower of indignation [heaped] on Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos over the last few days is the clearest evidence yet that the Clintonites are fundamentally correct in their complaint that [Hillary!] has been flying throughout this campaign into a headwind of media favoritism for Obama.

Last fall, when NBC’s Tim Russert hazed Clinton with a bunch of similar questions — a mix of fair and impertinent — he got lots of gripes from Clinton supporters.

But there was nothing like the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC’s performance as journalistically unsound.

The response was itself a warning about a huge challenge for reporters in the 2008 cycle: preserving professional detachment in a race that will likely feature two nominees, Obama and John McCain, who so far have been beneficiaries of media cheerleading.


[T]here was nothing [in the debate] to justify Tom Shales’s hyperbolic review (“shoddy, despicable performances” by Gibson and Stephanopoulos) in The Washington Post or Greg Mitchell’s in Editor & Publisher (“perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years”). Others, like Time’s Michael Grunwald, likewise weighed in against ABC.

In fact, the balance of political questions (15) to policy questions (13) was more substantive than other debates this year that prompted no deluge of protests. The difference is that this time there were more hard questions for Obama than for Clinton.
The bias goes farther. Harris writes:

As one who has assigned journalists to cover Obama at both Politico and The Washington Post, I have witnessed the phenomenon several times. Some reporters come back and need to go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama’s political skill.
Read the whole thing here.

Now at last they are beginning to understand what Republicans have been complaining about for decades. Will it make any difference in coverage? I doubt it. Once the nomination is settled the MSM will turn on the Republican candidate with glee. Big Mac will no never again be a media darling.