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Anti-McCain Media Bias: Biggest Irony of Campaign ’08?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:30 am - November 11, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Media Bias

At the outset of the presidential campaign just concluded, before I came to support John McCain’s White House bid, I wrote that I was troubled by the Arizona Senator’s “tendency to posture on certain issues to please the media.”  They responded to such posturing by treating him well.  In return, he jokingly called them “my base.

So, you’d think that of all the Republicans to win their party’s nomination for president, John McCain would get the fairest shake from the national news media.

Yet, come the election of 2008 and all that he had done over the years to curry favor with the media, making himself regularly available for their questions, offering choice sound-bytes critical of his own party didn’t make any difference.  While, in recent years, the media have been biased against the GOP and its candidates, this year they were particularly biased, more so than in any preceding presidential election, at least in my lifetime.

Hence, the irony.  The Republican candidate most friendly with the media faces, when nominated, the most biased media in a generation.

Perhaps, the problem John McCain had getting his message out was that in the past, he media had always done it for him.



  1. […] post by WP-AutoBlog Import var AdBrite_Title_Color = ‘0000FF’; var AdBrite_Text_Color = ‘000000’; var […]

    Pingback by Anti-McCain Media Bias: Biggest Irony of Campaign ‘08? — November 11, 2008 @ 9:03 am - November 11, 2008

  2. McCain was a foil to be used against the GOP, thats what made him useful, as soon he became the opponent they slimed and screwed him any chance they could.

    Comment by robert verdi — November 11, 2008 @ 9:29 am - November 11, 2008

  3. It rebukes the notion that Republicans need to kowtow to the media by abandoning conservative principles. The media will always depict the Republican candidate as evil and stupid.

    I sometimes wonder if the GOP should just boycott the MSM for a while. Just quietly refuse interviews with the major networks and news organizations. Let the three networks and the cable channels show nothing but softball interviews with Democrats. See what that does for their ratings.

    Republicans need to give up on the notion that the media will ever treat them fairly, and build new means of connecting with voters.

    Comment by V the K — November 11, 2008 @ 10:03 am - November 11, 2008

  4. Washington Post admits: Oh, yeah, we were totally in the tank for Obama. We were slanted like the deck of the Titanic. Whatcha gonna do about it, suckers!

    Comment by V the K — November 11, 2008 @ 10:06 am - November 11, 2008

  5. The answer is new technology, a.k.a. web-based television, satellite stations over cell networks, campaigns producing DVDs that are mailed to voters explaining issues, etc. Republicans need to follow the path of least resistance — or forge a new one. We can no longer afford to let the ancien regime to write the narrative.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 11, 2008 @ 10:16 am - November 11, 2008

  6. Bypass the “deciders” and go directly to the people. It’s the only way.

    Of course, the GOP will have to actually decide to believe in something and be able to articulate what it is they believe in. That may be an equally hard challenge as getting the senile party to accept newfangled ways of communicating.

    Comment by V the K — November 11, 2008 @ 10:26 am - November 11, 2008

  7. Sorry, I hit the ‘Say It!’ button too soon. I was going to add that it’s really not ironic the media campaigned for Obama and against McCain. McCain’s relationship with the media was a good one as long as it worked to further a liberal divide-and-conquer strategy. McCain was flattered that he could be presented to the public as a maverick, but the essence of the message from the news organizations was that the GOP was a house divided, disorganized, unsure of itself, ineffective, unable to lead, etc. The media did exactly what they’ve always done and perhaps the most damning evidence against McCain is that he played along all these years.

    Let’s hope Palin hones her message and gets some experience under her belt. The Vice Presidential debate was arguably the most interesting moment of the campaign because the media had no idea how to control it.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 11, 2008 @ 10:31 am - November 11, 2008

  8. Perhaps, the problem John McCain had getting his message out was that in the past, he media had always done it for him.

    In those days his message was always counter to the prevailing ideas in the GOP.
    Once he ran for president, as much as he called himself maverick, he was still much closer to the Republican party line.
    So maybe McCain still thought of them as ‘his base’, they sure were out to get him!
    btw, I’m losing respect for the man again, in the Wall Street Journal today:
    McCain owes Sarah some straight talk

    Comment by Leah — November 11, 2008 @ 11:07 am - November 11, 2008

  9. Not only that but this was the absolute worst campaign coverage that I remember in the 20 years I’ve been voting. If you wanted substantive issues coverage, you had to go to the blogs. The newspapers were all too busy with sideshows and tabloid type coverage.

    They were not nice to McCain, but they didn’t even cover the issues. Just “Voting for McCain is a vote for Bush!” over and over. that’s a campaign slogan, not issues coverage. Even when they went after Obama, they didn’t cover any issues. Just stuck to who his friends are. That may be an important issue, but it’s certainly not the only issue.

    It was only the week before the election a major paper asked “how will Obama pay for all this?” like out of the blue suddenly someone realized federal programs cost money. It would have been nice for that question to be asked a year ago when he was debating Hillary. Or ask someone who voted for Obama and blames “Bush economic policies” for the recent bailout: “who is Barney Frank and how is he related to Fannie and Freddie?” you’ll just get a blank stare.

    And the sad thing is for most Americans voting based on emotions alone was enough. It’s like the media checked their brains at the door every day, and so did most of us.

    I wish I could say McCain was defeated on issues, or Obama won on the issues, but neither were.

    Comment by plutosdad — November 11, 2008 @ 11:20 am - November 11, 2008

  10. Ignatius and v the k,
    absolutely, play on their turf and we make a tough fight that much tougher.

    Comment by robert verdi — November 11, 2008 @ 11:54 am - November 11, 2008

  11. The problem isn’t the media though, necessarily.

    The media is, will be, and always has been about selling advertisements w/information.It only become “un-biased” in order to appeal to a broader audience.

    Stations, Papers, writers, hosts, will always have their own view. I would rather know where they are coming from, then be told they have no opinion.

    The thing is, you have the majority of the population who can’t tell the difference between fact and opinion, and can’t be bothered to look to more than one news source – and form their own views.

    Then MSNBC & Fox, who both represent different ends of the spectrum, and both try to act as though they are impartial. If they just laid out the truth, you’d have people who made an actual choice in what bias they want to hear, and then have that in their minds when they hear it.

    I hope people would then start being a little more aware of the opinion mingled with fact, and then maybe even look to more than one source.

    I hope.

    Comment by Duke — November 11, 2008 @ 12:25 pm - November 11, 2008

  12. To add on what was being said above, I do agree with not cooperating with the drive by media and conservatives hold their ground no matter how nasty they get. No interviews or Sunday talk show venues unless it’s Fox News. Also another venue is talk radio; you’ll be able to reach more of that valuable conservative base. McCain hated people like Rush and that served to his determent. In essence it’s back to basics and old fashion one on one communication.

    For the next presidential election, barring any fascist take over from Obama, keep the press at bay and no one on one interviews unless the journalist has a reputation of giving people a fair shake. The only way to tell is how difficult they ask questions of liberals. There may be some frustrated liberals asking tough questions of Democrats in order to gain access to conservatives. But you still not grant interviews unless they have a long history of being tough to all politicians of any stripe. During the presidential debate always insist on a specific conservative journalist to moderate along with a liberal one of their choice at all times. Each can take turns asking the equal amount of question. If the Democrats don’t agree to those terms then NO DEBATE!

    The point is, this is a WAR and we should never appease are adversaries. We must have a win win attitude or conservatism then eventually this country will parish and freedom will be no more. As General Gorge Patton once said, you never be nice to your enemies, you grab by the nose and kick them in the ass!!!

    That’s how the Democrats won the last two election cycle, conservatives can beat them at their own game!!!

    Comment by Dave_62 — November 11, 2008 @ 3:40 pm - November 11, 2008

  13. Ron Fournier, the Washington Bureau chief for the Associated Press, was an obvious McCain supporter. Fournier routinely launched hit pieces against the Obama campaign under the guise of “analysis” during the campaign. In October 2006, prior to returning to the Associated Press, Fournier considered a job with the McCain campaign.

    No doubt, if the Washington Bureau chief for the AP had considered taking a job with the Obama campaign, that would be cited as a high crime in this blog entry.

    But since that doesn’t fit the narrative,

    the most biased media in a generation

    I guess we’ll just ignore it.

    The running tally in the last two elections is a GOP loss of (at least) 51 House seats, (at least) 12 Senate seats and the White House.

    But there is no way the media could simply be reflecting public sentiment? It has to be media bias? Is it the media’s job to prop up the sinking electoral prospects for the Republican Party?

    Comment by Erik — November 11, 2008 @ 3:52 pm - November 11, 2008

  14. Erik,
    The media have slanted coverage of event after event, here is a simple example. Why was Palin’s wardrobe the front page of the times? Here is a more substance based complaint. Its widely understood that Katrina was caused by warming and Al Gore received accolades for an inconvenient truth which turned the hurricane into icon for the dangers of global warming. Only a couple months ago Kerry Emanuel the man who authored the study that warming hurricane connection was based on backed off his own findings. As we speak millions of people are basing political decisions on science which its questionable at best. Why are Gore’s claims accepted at face value by the media? I could go on and talk about the numerous democrats who have been brought down by scandal or simply behaved in scandalous behavior, only to be given a free pass by the media. The same media which fed of the “culture of corruption” storyline. Anyway, I have no illusions about the bad behavior of many republicans, its the one sided nature of the coverage that is the bias. By the way, who is Obama?

    Comment by robert verdi — November 11, 2008 @ 4:15 pm - November 11, 2008

  15. Erik,

    You really are a piece of work. The job of the press is not to “reflect public sentiment”. The job of the media is to report the facts, no matter who they help.

    That you have to have that explained to you is staggering.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 11, 2008 @ 8:56 pm - November 11, 2008

  16. Chris Matthews has said: “I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new (Obama) presidency work.”

    Somehow, I don’t think Erik has trouble with that kind of bias.

    Comment by V the K — November 11, 2008 @ 9:12 pm - November 11, 2008

  17. IMHO, Republican candidates must face the reality that they have not one opponent – but two; the Democrat and the media. Somehow, Republicans have to communicate their ideas in a positive manner to the public, all the while adequately informing people that the media no longer performs the same function it did in the past.

    A tall order, but I see no other solutions.

    Comment by Peg — November 11, 2008 @ 9:42 pm - November 11, 2008

  18. I’m afraid Fox News is a little too “fair and balanced,” as I sometimes have to hit the mute button when the Libs go on too long and loud. But Fox is beating all the other cable news and it would seem the Republicans could stick to Fox News to get their word out.

    Once they decide what their word is.

    Comment by Polly — November 11, 2008 @ 11:33 pm - November 11, 2008

  19. The thing is, you have the majority of the population who can’t tell the difference between fact and opinion,

    Doesn’t that stem from the liberal public education system keeping people as dumb as a brick?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 12, 2008 @ 12:00 am - November 12, 2008

  20. Ron Fournier, the Washington Bureau chief for the Associated Press, was an obvious McCain supporter.

    Sooooo…..the liberal media and MediaMoronswithSorosCash leave you with a pearl necklace and you obligingly lap it up.

    No doubt, if the Washington Bureau chief for the AP had considered taking a job with the Obama campaign, that would be cited as a high crime in this blog entry.

    As you said, he wasn’t the Washington Bureau chief at the time. What’s more, the Associated (with terrorists) Press was already working for Comrade Obama gratis(?). Why would any of us be surprised?

    But there is no way the media could simply be reflecting public sentiment?

    One only has to look at their ratings, revenues and circulation to see that they don’t.

    Is it the media’s job to prop up the sinking electoral prospects for the Republican Party?

    Is it the media’s job to serve as the Glavlit for Comrade Obama?

    Seems to me that Fournier is a pretty bipartisan person. You know, the kind of person liberals claim they wished we all were? Given the treatment of Fournier, what’s our motivation? Why in the hell would anybody want to “unite” with the Neo-Socialists hell bent on destroying the foundations of our country?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 12, 2008 @ 12:13 am - November 12, 2008

  21. “While, in recent years, the media has been biased against the GOP” Unquote

    Not only in recent years! Gen. Isenhower was considered a great hero by the media. Truman wanted him to run as president on the Democratic ticket. But when Ike decided to run on the Republican ticket, the media made a nose dive. The political cartoonists, according to Time magazine, pictured Ike with all of his marbles. They had all just rolled to one side,. The media soon found out that the people (The Greatest Generation) could not be fooled so they turned their hate toward the Vice President, which they kept up until they were able to drive him out of office.

    And the bias continues.

    Comment by John W — November 12, 2008 @ 1:48 am - November 12, 2008

  22. Again, you act as though the media is a sovereign entity that has responsibilities and is regulated. That’s just not the case, never has been and most likely never will be.

    news is a business, it sells what people want to hear. that is why conservatives watch fox and liberals watch msnbc. though CNN is more center, moderates watch PBS 😀

    this idea that they didn’t correct falsehoods about palin – well, they didn’t correct falsehoods about obama either – according to you, their job is to report and nothing else.

    robert has a problem with the coverage of palins wardrobe, but forgets the converage of lipstick on a pig, being a muslim, being a marxist. let’s be honest here, these things are not true either. The media reported what each party said.

    the problem for us? the McCain campaign couldn’t quite figure out what they wanted to say.

    go ahead and refuse to talk to journalists that you don’t think are fair – you’ll get no media exposure. You’ll have to pay for every 30 seconds you are on TV.

    we need the media more than they need us.

    all we would have left is fox news, which is losing power and is now #2 – behind MSNBC. the only people that watch fox are conservatives = people that already agree with us. the only way to get away from 45% is to appeal to the people who don’t watch fox – hence, we need the media more than they need us.

    the difference between democrats and republicans getting in trouble, is that democrats are not the ones that run on a platform of moral superiority. We say that our families are stronger, that our god is better and our morals higher – and then we have more instances of corruption and sexual deviancy. even if there were equal amounts – heck, MORE democrats – we are the ones that pride ourselves on our superiority, so when that is gone what do we have ?

    Comment by Duke — November 12, 2008 @ 9:40 am - November 12, 2008

  23. What baffles me is this business of going around speaking to crowds who already are in your camp. Candidates should hit all the local media. They should go on local talk shows, give interviews to the daily blast and have press conferences for the T.V. people. Afterwards, they can hold their silly rallies.

    There is a lot of free press if you take advantage of it. Palin would have had 24/7 coverage if they had let her out of the cage.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 12, 2008 @ 10:28 am - November 12, 2008

  24. My favorite part of the media “bias” was how after each debate our punditry class would attempt to sell that John McCain (or Sarah Palin) won the debate, only to be smacked down by the public 60 minutes later when the insta-polls would come out.

    Which by the third and final debate, led an exasperated Tom Brokaw to say on air something akin to – I tend to look at these debates one way. I don’t know what the public is looking for.

    Had it not been for the insta-polls, McCain would’ve “won” every single debate.

    But yea, we have a totally biased media. Uh huh.

    Comment by Erik — November 12, 2008 @ 11:42 am - November 12, 2008

  25. fox news, which is losing power and is now #2 – behind MSNBC.

    Excuse me?.

    Comment by V the K — November 12, 2008 @ 2:37 pm - November 12, 2008

  26. @ V the K

    sorry, I should have been more specific. They are losing ground with their target demographic at the 8 and 9 pm spots. Oreilly has been behind KO many times this election cycle, and with them being the big boys for each network, considering fox had 2x msnbc viewership a year ago, shows that they are in fact losing power.

    not EVERY day, but again, considering they had double MSNBCs viewership a year ago, even having MSNBC close at all shows how far Fox has fallen. O’Reilly complains about it in his own show, claiming Nielsen is biased now.

    I did not mean to portray them as being behind, I said that part wrong – but as I also said, they are losing power – which is completely true.

    Comment by Duke — November 13, 2008 @ 10:17 am - November 13, 2008

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