Fairness and Flatulence

The McCain campaign claims that the New York Times rejected an op ed McCain wrote about Iraq. McCain’s campaign fed this to Drudge, who reprinted the op ed. I don’t link to Drudge, but you can find it if you really want it. The Times asked the McCain campaign to write a piece that “mirrored” the one they published by Obama a few days ago.

Remarkably, Daniel Finkelstein of the Times Online (UK) agrees with the New York Times‘s decision.

It wasn’t about Iraq. It was about Obama. If I received it I would have done exactly what the NYT did – send it back and ask them to redraft it so that it was about Iraq and was more, well, interesting.

Why was I only able to say I “think” they “may” be right? Because I don’t know exactly what they asked the Senator’s staff to do to the piece. But if they simply asked for a piece that matched Obama’s because, like Obama’s it was actually about his views on Iraq, well then I am right behind them.

Finkelstein is right that McCain’s op ed is just a big whine about Obama. I think he’s right about what the NY Times meant by “mirror,” also. That makes sense. The wingnuts, of course, think it means they want McCain to write a piece that agrees with Obama’s which does not make sense.

Rasmussen reports that there’s a growing belief reporters are trying to help Obama win. This is an opinion poll, mind you, not a report on the actual activity of journalism. 78 percent of Republicans think the press is trying to help Obama win.

What do you think? I don’t watch the entire media that closely any more. I check in with MSNBC in the evenings, scan through newspapers during the day, and that’s about it. I would say from what I’ve seen on MSNBC that their coverage is kinder to Obama than it was to Al Gore in 2000 or to John Kerry in 2004. Olbermann is unabashedly pro-Obama, of course.

At the same time, I haven’t seen MSNBC (except for Olbermann) be as harsh to McCain as it was to Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004.

Does this mean MSNBC on the whole is stumbling around somewhere in the general territory of “unbiased”?

11 thoughts on “Fairness and Flatulence

  1. Morning Joe used to be prime Obama bashing time. It’s been fun watching them grudgingly come to the conclusion that Obama is very, very good at this politics stuff. Tipping point (at least for Mike Barnacle) was the Ryan Lizza piece in the NYer.

    It’s not that they want him to win, but they’re realizing he probably will no matter what they do, and the political junkies among them have finally realized that it’s not just beginner’s luck.

  2. Wait, let me see if I get this straight. You’re asking for our opinion, yet you only provide perspective on and quotes from the side that agrees with the New York Times? Not to mention your condescending “the McCain campaign *claims*” line – as if they’re making this up.

    If you’re really interested in opinions, then you’d link to the story, and not have some holier-than-thou “I don’t link to Drudge” policy.

    Give me a break. As for an honest opinion when you’re ready to air both sides.

  3. Just One Guy — learn to read. I didn’t ask your opinion about McCain’s op ed. I asked it about whether news media is favoring Obama.

    Don’t bother telling us what you think, however. We all already know.

  4. It seems to me that unlike past presidential campaigns when the MSM picked up on and fed to viewers every and any latest epithet coming from the Right – flip-flop foreinstance – this time around they’re not. Whether the MSM has suddenly realized the epithet for what it is (highly unlikely since it’s their stock-in-trade), or whether the McCain campaign has yet to hit on an easily repeatable and marketable zinger directed at Obama, I don’t know.

    It’s rather like the McCain campaign, so far, isn’t giving the MSM any marketable catch phrases dissing Obama so naturally, in their absence, Obama coverage fills the vacuum.

  5. What they’re really complaining about is Obama not getting the treatment the media has typically dished out to democrats, the way they did Gore and Kerry. The wingnuts see that as “unfair,” to McCain.

    On the other hand McCain has actually been treated very well, considering all of his gafffes and mistakes that the media has ignored. They’ve covered for him. Some mistakes that he’s made have been so obvious and egregious that its been hard to ignore, and hence they’ve been noted. But still, even in those cases, they haven’t treated McCain in the typically horrid, over-the-top way they would have had these same mistakes been made by a democrat.

    For example, McCain (not his “camp” but the man himself) speculating in public and to the press about Obama’s trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was noted in the press that McCain did that. If anyone should know better it would be him. To my knowledge no one in the press never pressed him as to why he did that and whether it was wrong and something he should apologize for.

    Had Obama done that you can imagine the firestorm that would have created. It would have concluded with the press either imputing that to mean Obama (a) didn’t understand foreign policy and/or national security, or (b) he was dissing McCain’s POW experience, or both.

    I still don’t know why the press is not giving Obama the typical democrat treatment. On that I’m not complaining. But on balance McCain has been a horrible candidate running platform that the voters have already resoundingly rejected. His campaign is not generating any excitement the way Obama’s has. The press has bent over backwards to help him, its just that he’s not giving them much positive to work with.

    The wingnuts problem isn’t with the press; its with their own dull, lackluster candidate.

  6. …I don’t see any particular evidence that Obama is gaining any sort of favorable treatment by the press in general. Recent events would suggest that he is making news while McCain is making mistakes, and the MSM’s treatment of those mistakes portrays a rather gentle handling of the Ol’ Maverick. From lack of focus on his flip-flops through failure to discuss all his “confusion” about who’s what in the Middle East to the profoundly muted Phil Gramm kerfuffle, McCain is getting the sort of treatment from the press that John Kerry would have killed to receive in ’04…

    The winger side of the fulcrum has had a pretty good gig going for quite a while because of what seemed to be an excessive desire on the part of the MSM to avoid being called “the liberal media” (which never really worked in any case), so the failure to see an ’08 equivalent of endless discussion of a Democratic’s color themes or his windsurfing outings may look to them like playing favorites. I suspect the bloom will be off that rose the moment Obama makes some sort of gaff that MSM wishes to deem “significant”…

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  8. Corporate NBC seems to have decided that the election belongs to McCain this time around. I don’t have detailed notes for what follows; it’s just what I remember noticing. NBC news is on at my house most of the time. I don’t see it every night, but I do most nights.

    Several weeks ago, Brian Williams had McCain on via remote, and gave him a good five minutes of medium-hard questions that McCain could bat back then turn into an Obama bash.

    A week later, Brian did it again. I figured this time it might have been fair, because it was the same night that ET had the Obama family on. (ET follows the NBC nightly news in my market.)

    Last week, Matt Lauer gave 10 minutes or so to Romney. Same format as BriWi: he tossed some hard-sounding questions, but Romney was able to dismiss them in three words then trash Obama for a while. And Matt didn’t follow up or stop the bashing, and in fact was fawning about the possibility of Romney as VP.

    This morning, they did a report on Obama’s trip to Iraq (3 minutes – I timed it), with quite a bit of the report dedicated to the reporter doing a “he said / he said” comparison, and including some juicy anti-Obama-position tape from Patraus (sp?). Certainly not a pro-Obama segment. Then Meredith did a slightly harder interview with McCain via remote (7-8 minutes) where McCain was pretty much able to swat down the gist of the question then spend some time bashing Obama. She did try to follow up on some of his dismissive answers, but it was pretty much a McCain forum.

    I have not seen a “live” interview with Obama on NBC news in the same month. Not to say there wasn’t one; I just haven’t seen it. They did run 15 seconds of the recent CBS interview.

    My take: advantage McCain at NBC.

  9. As has been often noted, reporters are Sen. McCain’s base of political power; so I am not surprised to note that both TV and print media have ignored or minimized the Republican candidate’s many recent policy blunders, campaign problems, errors of fact, and reversals of previous positions.

  10. If the media wanted Obama to win, McCain would no longer be a viable candidate. They would have reported faithfully and in detail every single faux pas and gaffe of the McCain campaign, which would have been a story every day this month. The idea that McCain is a confused old man surrounded by Marie Antoinette Gramm and an assortment of racists whackos and moneybags would be firmly lodged in the public consciousness, so that November would be a mere formality.

    The bias I see in the media is the opposite of pro-Obama.

  11. My wife thought I was nuts, because I would come home every day with the McCain gaffe-of-the-day and shed say, “That can’t be – I didn’t see that on the news. Where the *&^% are you reading this stuff?”

    So I’d show her the video clip posted on HuffPo or elsewhere… She’s finally a believer in media bias in favor of McCain.

    God help us, if the electorate is getting its news primarily from the networks.

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