Sunday, November 23, 2008

The media was pro-Obama? Reallllllly?

(President-elect Obama and Senator Clinton on the trail. Photo courtesy of the NY Times.)
So, it's been nearly three weeks since Barack Obama won the election. Everybody, including the media, is feeling some election withdrawal. Good thing we can still talk about it in different ways though, right? Our solution: analyzing the media's coverage of the candidates in a post-election world. Yay!

First, the Washington Post's ombudsman, Deborah Howell, concluded that the paper did in fact tilt towards Obama throughout the campaign. She wrote that "Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic." She also wrote that the Post did not vet Obama thoroughly, especially over his undergraduate years, his early political roots in Chicago and his relationship with slumlord Tony Rezko.

Now, Mark Halperin, of Time magazine, said on Friday at the Politico / USC conference on the election, that the media's coverage of the election was incredibly unfair. Halperin said, "It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

He went on to cite the New York Time's profiles of the two potential first ladies, as evidence of bias. He called the Cindy McCain story "vicious" while calling the Michelle Obama profile a "front-page endorsement of how great of a person [she] is."

Another panelist, New York magazine's John Heilemann, agreed with Halperin, in his assessment of the fairness of the coverage.

Halperin, in closing, said "I think it's incumbent upon people in our business to make sure that we're being fair. The daily output was the most disparate of any campaign I've ever covered, by far."

So, now that several prominent members of the media have come out and declared that the media failed us yet again, what's there to do about it?

We have another election coming up in 2 short years, not to mention 4 years of a new administration, with a country that's on the fritz. The media can get it right there for starters. And let's pray they do for our sake.

No comments: