No doubt there were some well-meaning consumers of news who labored under the naïve illusion that the mainstream media would become just a wee bit more objective in its coverage of Barack Obama once their anointed one won the White House.
Not a chance. If anything, the coverage has grown even more celebratory and worshipful. Here in New York City, the two tabloids seem to be in competition as to which can shoehorn into any given issue the greater number of flattering photos and gee-whiz mentions of the president-elect and his family.
The Daily News endorsed Obama and has always been in the tank for the Illinois senator, but the Post, which endorsed John McCain, is in the midst of its own unique version of Obamamania, even gifting readers with a full color, two-page spread poster of a glowing Obama on which was inscribed the words “President Barack Obama” – premature, to be sure, as he’s no such thing for another nine weeks yet, but Rupert Murdoch seems to be desperately attempting to make up for backing the wrong horse.
The Media Research Center (mediaresearch.org) has compiled some of the more embarrassingly egregious examples of the media’s intoxication with Obama in the days immediately before and after the election, several of which follow, along with something of a mea culpa from Time magazine’s Mark Halperin.
● “Media Bias Largely Unseen in U.S. Presidential Race” – Headline over November 6 Reuters dispatch claiming no liberal tilt in favor of Barack Obama.
● MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “You know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that – ” Host Joe Scarborough: “Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist.” Matthews: “Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country…. This country needs a successful presidency more than anything right now.” – MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” November 6.
● “It was Hollywood. It was romance. It was realism. The technical quality of it, the production values were perfect, the way they timed going to live, the biographical material. But most important, the connection with the average person in the economic turmoil we face right now I thought was fabulous…. Everything was just right…. You’d have to be a tough customer not to be touched by it.” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews moments after his network aired the half-hour Obama infomercial, October 29.
● “Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope…. Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.” – Time’s Nancy Gibbs, November 17 cover story.
● “As the nation prepares for President-elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can’t help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy…. The similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful vigor to the White House, including, young children…. Kennedy had more than his share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it’s their wives who might be the real superstars.” – CBS’s Harry Smith on “The Early Show,” November 7.
● “Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico…. We’d take an educated guess – nothing so scientific as a Pew study – that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election…. [But] of the factors driving coverage of this election…ideological favoritism ranks virtually nil.” – Politico co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei in their October 28 column, “Why McCain is getting hosed in the press.”
● SNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “The media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think…. Is the media just in love with history here, Mark, do you think?”…
Time’s Mark Halperin: “I think mistakes have been made and people will regret it…. If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful president, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn’t done the right way.”
– MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” October 28.