Did Obama defeat McCain OR did the Media defeat McCain?

@speakeasy (4215)
United States
November 11, 2008 7:58am CST
I am not talking about the PAID advertising run by both candidates and their followers here. If you followed the polls during the past election, the race was close and both candidates ended up in the lead at different times. But, something that I and many others noticed was the disparity in the coverage between the media/"news" coverage of the two campaigns. The media seemed to be "in love with" Obama. There were weeks when we barely heard a word about MCain and yet we were inundated with daily reports on Obama and his family. When Obama made mistakes or changed his views on topics, this was glossed over. He would say one thing on tape and it would be reported and sometimes just an hour or two later, he would say something ON TAPE that was almost dead opposite; but, no one ever criticized him for this. Many other candidates have been crucified by the press for just this type of action. When Palin was appointed as McCain's running mate - press from all over the country went to her home town and did their best to try to dig up dirt on her and her family (AND even MADE UP accusations and charges that were later proved FALSE) to show that she was not "fit" for the position. When Obama (also a relative unknown) started running for President - did ANY press go to Hawaii, Chicago, Indonesia or Kenya to even ATTEMPT to did up any "dirt" on him - not that I can find any records about. The few who went to those places did not even ask any of the same type of questions that they asked about McCain and Palin. IF, the press had not given such glaring differences in the coverage of the two campaigns; would Obama have REALLY had a chance to win. The final results were close (Obama got 51% of the POPULAR vote and McCain got 47% - only 4% difference)? I am not the only one who noticed this trend by the media; here are a couple of links you might want to check out - http://www.arcamax.com/politics/s-440067-304302 http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Story?id=6099188 With biased reporting of campaigns, why do we even pretend we have a real choice? Why not just as the media who they want for public office and assume that that is who we will have in office? Does the media need to be "reined in"? If they do, would a "media darling" like Obama have the guts to do it?
3 people like this
8 responses
• United States
11 Nov 08
I watched and listened to a huge amount of media coverage during the 2 years before this election. I'm afraid I tend to run for cover every time someone mentions the "mainstream media." We live in an incredibly diverse media environment. I have watched everything from BBC World, to C-SPAN, to CNN, to Fox News, to the traditional networks, and I have listed to a range of radio and cable channels featuring talking heads of all political stripes. Many reporters and commentators had a bias--and many biases for and against the candidates were proudly aired. For the most part, people listen to what they want to, what they already agree with, and filter out the rest. The effort to tag McCain's loss on the "mainstream media" is, in my opinion, a dog that just don't hunt. My 2 cents.
2 people like this
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
11 Nov 08
Estimates of the effect of media bias (and I did not ever say "mainstream") on elections is estimated to effect the outcome by 5% - 10%. This race was lost by 4%. Similar media bias had an effect in Obama winning the Democratic nomination over Hilary in several states. He was getting more positive coverage than she was and she lost. The race is over and done for - period. What I am concerned about is the FUTURE if this trend continues. Will "media" be the ones who decide ahead of time which candidates they like and support and make our choices for us? Will they twist SOME people's perceptions of candidates in an effort to further some "unknown" agenda of their own?
• United States
11 Nov 08
Estimates such as the ones you quote have value only as they relate back to their sources. I read your sources, and all I can say is that they represent just how universally acceptable it is for reporters to put their opinions in print. These are the opinions of individual commentators who function within a system that allows them to voice their dissenting views loudly and strongly. I figure that's a sign of health for the media as a whole. Back to one of your points: actually, it was the Obama campaign that said McCain was just another Bush. The media only reported it. McCain had his own set of exaggerations and misleading statements, and the media reported those too. I saw a number of reports (including several submitted by CNN types) that took great pains to point out just how different McCain is from Bush. Indeed, CNN broadcast a number of "Keeping Them Honest" spots where they researched and disputed misleading statements and outright deceptions on BOTH sides. Blaming the media for the candidate's failure to articulate his message better is, to a great extent, blaming the messenger. McCain didn't lose because of the media. He lost because the message he offered was not the message the majority of voters wanted to hear. Again I reject the conclusion that McCain lost because "the media" was biased. There is NO single "media"--the sources you cited above demonstrate that point strongly. The word "media" itself is plural for "medium." Individual members of the media are, of course, biased--and baised in many directions. McCain himself owned up to his failures on the campaign trail. It would be better for the political process if voters on the losing side of an election came up with more convincing arguments that blaming the media. As for the FUTURE, what we all need--as responsible citizens--is to wear filters that review the "facts" presented to us (from whatever source) with a high level of skepticism. It's our job to filter all those contradictory messages, just like it's the candidates' job to present concise and convincing arguments for why they should get the office they seek. We have freedom of press in the United States. It is a guaranteed right, ensconsed in the first amendment of our Constitution. Media types with an opinion are not new. They are, in fact, older than the country itself. Some might easily argue that the Federalist Papers, for example, were a seditious lot of writings that yanked the American colonies from the bosom of the Mother Country. Or, contrarily, one might argue that they were the yearnings of a people determined to breathe free. Regardless of the position you take, it is the responsibility of the individual citizen to provide the filters that determine what is credible and what is not. Otherwise, you might as well start talking about repealing the rights of a free press--which is what your discussion comes dangerously close to, in my view. Happily for us both: You have a right to say what you think, and so do I. That's freedom of speech and, within this context, freedom of press all rolled together. That other stuff about the press costing McCain the election is just camouflage for grousing over the results.
1 person likes this
• Dallas, Texas
11 Nov 08
Well, I am from Oklahoma and I heard all about mccain - from all of our media - (newspapers, radio, local news, ect...) I usually watch fox - even tho I am not a republican - but I like seeing where their heads are at. Fox seemed like they were on McCain's payroll. When Obama won - there are white people that won't even talk to a brutha anymore where I work at. What you are speaking about may have happened where you were at but all I say was McCain here.
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
11 Nov 08
Well I think Oklahoma may have been the reddest state in the nation so it doesn't surprise me that you may have had different coverage there. The nationwide though, there was a clear and obvious bias for Obama and against McCain. Fox News actually had the most fair coverage with 40% negative stories for both McCain and Obama. Here's a study that compared the networks while showing the overall bias against McCain. http://www.journalism.org/node/13437
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
12 Nov 08
I am also from a red state (AZ); however, I get my news from many different sources and I personally saw a lot more for Obama than McCain. Nationwide, it was overwhelmingly Obama who got th ecoverage. Personally, it does not and did not bother me that Obama is HALF black. There is a black man I would have preferred to become president and would have voted for if he had run; but he didn't and I do not know if he ever will. In your case, you saw the media favoring the opposite candidate than what I saw; but, THAT is STILL a problem. I do not beleive the media SHOULD be favoring ANY candidate. I think it is a problem and it needs to be addressed.
• United States
11 Nov 08
Personally I think President Bush did a lot to help. He is a Republican and a bad president. Whoever got the Republican nod was going to called "just like Bush" by the dems no matter who it was. That was going to be a big mountain to try to overcome. Put that with the press coverage being biased and that pretty well did it.
1 person likes this
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
11 Nov 08
Bush definately did not "help" McCain by endorsing him; but, it was to be expected that as a Republican President he HAD to endorse the Republican candidate no matter who that candidate was. The media kept saying how McCain was just another Bush; but, anyone who KNEW McCain knew that was not true. The problem was with Bush being President and the same political party as McCain there were several times the last 7 years where Bush was threatening McCain to get his support. Bush knew McCain really wanted the Presidency and if McCain did not "toe the party line" Bush would see to it that the GOP would NOT support McCain when he ran after Bush was finished. (That was why he withdrew his support for his friend Kerry in the 2004 election.) So, in the recent past, McCain was acting like a beaten, trained wild animal just waiting for a chance to "escape". If elected, he would have "turned" on Bush, the GOP, big business; and the lobbyists; especialy since at his age he had nothing to lose. He knew this was his last chance to get in office and try to really fix things. That is part of the reason he had such trouble raising money during his campaign. His own party was afraid he would turn on them and so were the lobbyists and big business.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Nov 08
Well if you look at the race Obama spent more time running against Bush than he did McCain. The Obama camp did a great job of making McCain seem just like Bush. That would have happened with whoever ran on the Republican side. Bush and Chaney endorsing McCain just helped them say "see he really is like them". They would have endorsed the republican candidate no matter who it was. They should have just stayed out of it. But I do think you are right about one thing. The republicans were not excited about McCain. Where as the democrats were excited about Obama. And it made the difference. McCain had to spend time winning the republican base over were Obama already had his base and just had to work on independents and undecideds.
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@ParaTed2k (22979)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
11 Nov 08
The MSM was and is in the pocket of Obama, they have never even denied it. But it wasn't just the media that helped Obama win. The RNC deserved to lose simply because they forced a candidate on us that must Republicans didn't like.
1 person likes this
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
12 Nov 08
"forced a candidate on us that must Republicans didn't like." Speak for yourself. MANY Republican DID and still do like John McCain. He has been the Senator from my state for MANY years because the Republican here do like him. Of the candidates who were running for the nomination John McCain was the best qualified. Actually, I am amazed he did get the nomination becasue usually the best qualified is not the one who is nominated in either party and the Democrats proved that once again. But, that does not really answer the question. Without media bias would the race have turned out differently? Should blatant media bias be allowed to continue? Can anything be done about about it; if we even want to? These are things that need to be considered and dealt with before 2012 or the media may end up deciding that race too. (Don't worry, McCain will be too old to run in that race.)
@newtondak (3949)
• United States
11 Nov 08
The media was part of it. Part of it was that people believed Obama's rhetoric that McCain was the same as Bush. The other part involves the monumental amounts of money spent by Obama on his campaign and all the promises he made to the American people.
• United States
11 Nov 08
Obama said he had the same policies as Bush and because of this the government would be ran the same. The same as the comparrison of Obama and Clinton. This is politics.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27279)
• United States
12 Nov 08
In one of the GOP debates McCain himself boasted that he'd supported Bush over 90% of the time and said he'd supported his President more than his opponents for the nomination did. Why is it wrong for either the Obama campaign or the media to repeat what McCain himself had said and what his votes in the Senate shows to be fact? Annie
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
12 Nov 08
Annie, that is only ONE incident out of MANY. They never even asked Obama the same type of questions that they asked McCain (except during the debates when they had to). They did not dig into his background the way they did Palin's when she was nominated even though people knew less about him and his past than they did hers. They did not dig into his families personal lives the way they did Palin's family. Obama refused to turn over MANY of the same personal records that the McCains were required to turn over and did (health, financial, etc) and that was never questioned by the press. He received almost three times the amount of FREE press coverage than McCain/Palin did (and without Palin's nomination it would have been almost 5 times the amount of FREE publicity). The coverage was not equal by any means.
@emmanola (482)
11 Nov 08
I feel the right answer to your question is none of the above; McCain defeated himself! It was McCain and Palin and their campaign team that popularized dirty stories about Obama and it back-fired. If any person is claiming that the press was biased against McCain the person, I feel, is not being realistic. McCain should have learnt from the mistakes Hilary Clinton made but he didn't. He was constantly attacking Obama as if Obama were a baby who has no sense of reasoning. The whole of America has proved McCain wrong. What a sweet victory!
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
11 Nov 08
I'd say anyone who doesn't think the media was biased against McCain is simply lying to themselves. The facts make it VERY clear that the media was biased against him. Here are the statistics in case you really want to make an issue out of the bias. http://www.journalism.org/node/13437 Aside from Fox News, which was 40% negative for BOTH McCain and Obama, the media was overwhelmingly negative towards McCain while more positive about Obama. MSNBC set the record for bias with 73% negative towards McCain and 14% negative for Obama. I'm sure they fired the people responsible for that 14% fluke.
@tammytwo (4302)
• United States
11 Nov 08
Something to think about from someone who works in the media, most media sources are owned by Democrats. I saw unfair coverage as well during the entire campaign, not only on the national level but on our local level as well. Fortunately on the local level some of our better candidates did still win despite the unfair coverage by the local newspaper but not all of them did. It is a news sources' job to cover the news in an unbiased manner yet none of them do this 100% of the time.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
11 Nov 08
I agree that biased reporting is at all levels. It is just becoming more and more blatant. It is like they no longer even care about "appearing" to be unbiased. They are free to vote any way they want. They are free to write editorials favoring or against a candidate. BUT, when it extends to "news" coverage, they are supposed to be unbiased and report facts and it is tarting to appear that htey would rather ONLY write "editorials" even when they are not editors.
@kdhartford (1152)
• United States
11 Nov 08
We all know that the mainstream media was in the tank for Obama. I hope that they are right, for our Countries sake. I hope that they will now turn and do their job...to question the government.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
11 Nov 08
Why would they want to question the qualifications and abilities of their "darling"? IF they supported him just so they could get him into office and then turn around and tear him down - then their "games" with American politics are really "sick and twisted".