How The Media All But Elected Barack Obama
The power of the Main Stream Media (“MSM”), the Internet and cable TV notwithstanding, remains paramount. Over the last 3 years, that power has been on gaudy display. While there were a number of factors that led to Obama’s victory, including Republican deficiencies, the power of the Media all but handed Obama a victory when it should have heralded his doom.
Here are just some of major highlights of the many ways that the Media did just that:
Setting the Table/Talking the Economy Down.
Media bias against the Bush Administration has long been rampant. The MSM has been talking down the Bush economy, literally, throughout his entire term. In fact, “When Bill Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, inflation was three percent and economic growth was 2.2 percent.” In October of 2004, the Bush “unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, inflation was 2.7 percent, and economists’ consensus forecast for economic growth [was] 3.7 percent.’ However, a study “found that while the national media mainly cheered the Clinton economy in 1996 (85 percent positive), reporters have mostly jeered the Bush economy in 2004 (77 percent negative).”
The 2007/2008 cycle was no different. At the beginning of 2008, FoxNews’ Neil Cavuto pointed out in an AP article that stated: Americans are being subjected to, and I quote “economic water torture.” Ben Stein, in response, stated that “the media has been selling us on fear and recession for months maybe years now. . . I think if we have a recession, if we have a serious recession, a great deal will lie at the media’s feet.”
Indeed, the use of the word recession dominated Media speaking throughout 2007 – even during the 3rd quarter of 2007 when growth was a staggering 4.9%. There was so much talk about a recession (technically 2 quarters of economic contraction – which as of the date of this article still has not occurred) that in 2007 a majority of Americans believed the economy to be bad even though that same majority thought their own economic conditions to be favorable – of course that’s not possible except in people’s perception – a perception the MSM created.
Indeed, so many years of such negative talk about the Bush economy actually had a negative effect (driving down consumer confidence) just as years of your boss telling you you’re no good would have on you. In this case, the public believed the Bush economy was bad and that set the table for demands for change well before the economy actually went bad.
In the fall of 2007, Obama and John Edwards were a tag team bashing the front runner Hillary Clinton. Their strategy was to cut Hillary down to size and then climb over her. At the same time, the MSM was privy to a story about the John Edwards affair/love child. They sat on it. They did not investigate it to any great degree and did not say a peep. Keep in mind that Gary Hart had to get out of the race in 1988 over an affair outed by the Media. No such Media effort this time. No. No. They wanted this election to much.
The New York Times, on the other hand, published a ludicrous story about an alleged John McCain affair – a story devoid of real facts. McCain yes – Democrats no.
If the MSM had outed Edwards in November/December of 2007, then Hillary would have had one less opponent, the story would have taken up at least a week, Obama would have been out of the news and Hillary may well have won. Don’t believe me? Ask Hillary.
Overlooking Fannie Mae
The housing crisis was an outgrowth of a bad federal program that distorted the housing market. The program was started under Democrat Jimmy Carter and put on steroids under Bill Clinton. It was promoted by the Democrat run Fannie Mae. The Democrats blocked reform by McCain and others in 2005 and Fannie Mae contributed heavily to Obama and the other Democrats who blocked reform.
Prior to 2008, that was considered corruption and a scandal worth running a Party out of Congress. After all, the Foley scandal was evidence of Republican corruption and worthy of countless stories down the stretch. That was one guy’s terrible acts that were projected onto an entire Party.
This time, however, it was a scandal that cost the country trillions and an entire party got a free pass from the MSM and worse yet, convinced America that it was a Republican scandal. That alone should have been cause for the Democrats to lose control of Congress, instead it was used against Republicans by Obama and his Media.
Sarah Palin has the highest approval rating of any Governor in the nation. She earned it by fighting corruption and making government work. Contrast that with the Fannie Mae saga. Yet, the MSM treated here like a pariah unlike any politician in history. The Media went after her daughter’s story with all the class of the Enquirer (the mag that outed Edwards – the far bigger story the MSM ignored in favor of a candidate’s daughter – hitherto untread ground) and drove Palin’s national approval ratings into the ground.
Contrast that with the Joe Biden coverage. Biden, of course, makes more gaffes than any 20 politicians – yet he was given a free pass as Joe being Joe.
Jumping on Joe the Plumber.
So there he was, minding his own business when he was approached and asked a question. So what is more important, the question of a Presidential candidate? Or the background of person who is 1 in 250,000 million that are interested in the candidates? The Media thought the latter and we knew more of Joe the Plumber in 3 days than we did Obama. And just what do you think the MSM will do to Obama’s detractors after the election?
Praising and Protecting Obama
The Media ran more stories about Obama, they ran better stories about Obama and they avoided serious questions about Obama.
As for the stories they avoided to protect him, there are simply too many examples that fall under this category- but I shall give it the ole’ college try:
Why didn’t the Media investigate and highlight:
1. Obama’s overseas internet fundraising which was wildly illegal?
2. Who funded Obama’s stay at Harvard?
3. What Obama was doing at Columbia in the early 80s;
4. The full extent of the Bill Ayers relationship;
5. Why Obama employed ex-Farrahkan employees;
6. Why the SF Chronicle didn’t trumpet Obama’s coal remarks;
7. Why the LA Times withheld the Khalidi tape;
8. Whether anyone else was at Rev. Wright’s church during those 20 years, heard his hatred and watched Obama hear it as well;
9. Why did Obama’s school transcripts from Indonesia designate him a Muslim?
10. Where Obama was really born;
11. Whether Obama really wrote his own books – which are not written in his manner of speaking whatsoever;
12. Why Obama said Wright’s sermons were too spicy which led Obama to cancel Wrights appearance at the opening to his campaign; and
13. Why Obama gave Wright $23,500 in 2006.
Keep in mind that Trent Lott was hounded out of leadership because he made one offhanded comment about Strom Thurmond’s presidential run (“the nation would have been better off if you won”) at a birthday party for his friend who was 100 years old. They said the comment was racially insensitive (even though Thurmond gave up his segregationist views and even though Robert Byrd can stay in the Senate after being in the KKK) and ran stories until Republicans succumbed and Lott was gone. Obama, on the other hand, could fund a racist and the Media could look the other way.
Beyond that, why didn’t the Media ask Obama countless policy questions such as:
1. How 95% of people can get an income tax cut when only 54% of people pay income taxes? or
2. Exactly what budget cuts you claim to have set out to offset your $1 trillion in new spending?
Rather than ask him those obvious questions, or any one of countless others such as Obama’s true Palestinian leanings, the Media glorified Obama like no other candidate in American History – actually covering stories using the word ‘Messiah.’
The MSM designated 2008 the Year of the Democrat early in 2007. There was no question in their minds that a Democrat was going to be President. That narrative remained the storyline throughout 2008 and then morphed into claims that the race was over a month in advance because the turnout for Obama would be huge. Actually, voter turnout was not higher than 2004. They didn’t need facts, however, and instead – they began running stories of Obama’s transition team and his cabinet in October. Inevitability was their mantra.
Consider, if you will, the totality of all of those issues above. In the past, candidates were felled with a single arrow. The Media, however, has sheilded Obama from countless arrows and built him up into a myth before he has accomplished a single thing of import. They well knew what they were doing. The net effect of all of the above was the desired effect – making a Democrat the presumptive winner – long before the voters had the audacity to chime in.
If Republicans are to win again at the nation level, they need to understand that the Media has that much power and worse yet, they are willing to use it shamelessly. In sum, long before 2012, Republicans better start working on an entirely new way of reaching voters.