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Australian street names representing the future and the past, via Jeff

By Jeff

Republicans are wringing their hands at how the press has been fawning over Barack Obama. He can do no wrong. John McCain even had a recent clever campaign ad about how effusive the press has been even quoting NBC’s Lee Cowan saying that “It’s almost hard to remain objective, because it’s infectious.” I’ve been taught that right and proper explanations to questions are most impactful when they are broken into three categories, but I’m going to give a bonus forth as to why Barack Obama has been getting so much more press over the last few months than are typical of Presidential candidates.

Barack Obama is doing and saying things that are uncommon for Presidential candidates. He’s given a huge speech about race relations in America that wasn’t really a campaign speech, but just an overreaching aspirational speech about America similar to Reagan’s famous “Shining City Upon A Hill” speech. When a candidate presents himself or herself in a manner which is drastically different than what has been done in the past, it’s obviously going to get coverage. Typical Presidential candidates don’t get 70,000 people (http://www.amny.com/news/politics/am-obama0519-gallery,0,2451493.photogallery) to show up at a speech in Oregon. A trip through Europe for a Presidential candidate is incredibly groundbreaking. Obama is deserving of the extra coverage he is getting since his candidacy is meaningfully different than those before him. Now, all of that extra press need not be the glowing sycophancy it has been, but his actions deserve being covered.

The press isn’t trying to be impartial; they are trying to get ratings. And the American populace, in large, loathes President Bush, and in turn anyone who is aligned with President Bush. The press is going to put on what people will watch, and anything that plays up Barack Obama and demonizes George Bush plays in Peoria. All these fawning puff pieces focusing on Obama’s superficial and non-specific speeches about “hope” and “change” end up portraying the Bush years in contrast as hopeless darkness from which Obama can rescue us.

(continued) The 24-hour news cycle means the press needs to “create” news. It’s a big planet, but we still don’t need 4 competing networks with 24 hours of news. Especially, give the fact that American news is 98% about the goings-on in America, there isn’t enough tangible news to fill the day. So the press has had to cover superficial stuff like talking to a candidate’s children, watching them work out, and other tripe. Also, the press has had to “editorialize” the news. They throw a topic out, and have four talking heads debate the topic (except Olbermann who will never have anyone on who disagrees with him). The topics are always loaded however - along the lines of “Is George Bush the worst president ever?” Where they are accepting the premise that he’s been a horrible president and the only discussion is if truly the worst, or merely one of the worst.

The press isn’t impartial, they are overwhelmingly liberal. I know that many people may disagree with this and point to the fact that large media conglomerates own them, and therefore if their bosses are Republicans, that it will impact their coverage. Well, the same media companies run Hollywood too, yet the vast majority who work there is left-leaning, much like the press corps. FOX is certainly a Republican mouthpiece, but Ted Turner is as liberal as Rupert Murdoch is conservative. The three major networks are also filled with left-leaning “impartial moderators”: Stephanopolous, Matthews, and the late Tim Russert all came from Democratic Party backgrounds. The press fawns over Obama because they can’t wait to vote for him. He’s an excellent speaker, has a compelling personality, and most importantly, he is nothing close to George W. Bush.

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