Sep 15 2008

The Myth of Pro-Obama Media Bias

Little evidence for self-proclaimed ‘lovefest’

If there has been one unquestioned assumption of the 2008 election, it is that the media love Barack Obama. Rush Limbaugh declared that the media were following Obama with “their tongues dragging along the concrete to the floors.” “Lenin, Stalin never got this kind of coverage from their media,” Limbaugh claimed (7/22/08), which he blamed on the “chickification of our culture and the news business” (7/21/08). Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader, wrote an editorial headlined “Obama Orgy” (7/21/08) that denounced “the outrageous imbalance in the major media’s coverage of the candidates.” Such proclamations bolstered a […]

Sep 2 2008

ABC Errs on Obama’s Iraq Votes

Echoing McCain line on 'funding for troops'

ABC‘s Good Morning America (8/24/08) inaccurately described Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as opposing funding for U.S. troops in Iraq–an erroneous charge being circulated by the McCain campaign. In the wake of Barack Obama’s selection of fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Biden as running mate, ABC reported: “There are some policy differences between Biden and Obama. You can expect the Republicans to exploit those.” One of those differences, ABC correspondent John Berman noted, was that “Biden voted for extending funding for U.S. troops in Iraq, which Obama opposed.” While Biden and Obama were indeed at odds on one war funding vote […]

Sep 1 2008

Inventing Obama’s Race Problem

Media muddle needs some sort of trouble

Barack Obama has a race problem—though corporate media can’t quite decide what it’s supposed to be. Take an article by New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney published toward the end of the primary race with Hillary Clinton (5/6/08): If Mr. Obama loses in Indiana because of white blue-collar support for Mrs. Clinton, it would be the third time in a row, after Ohio and Pennsylvania, that he has lost a big state because of an inability to win over enough of those kinds of voters. So Obama’s problem is “white blue-collar support.” The very next paragraph, though, gives him […]

Aug 8 2008

Adam Serwer on Obama and race, Eric Boehlert on TV diversity study


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Playing the race card. John McCain expressed outrage after Barack Obama suggested his critics would use his race to dismiss his candidacy. Much of the media conversation about the back-and-forth seemed to support McCain’s claim that he was the victim. What does all of this say about the kind of discussion we’re having about race and the election? Adam Serwer of the American Prospect will join us to share his thoughts. Also on CounterSpin: A new study of primetime cable TV news shows finds an ‘abysmal’ record of gender and ethnic diversity. The narrow […]

Jul 15 2008

Obama Moves Right? Pundits Cheer

Recent campaign coverage has scrutinized the ideological positioning of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, with corporate media reporting that he has shifted toward the center on numerous issues in order to improve his chances in the November election. While some of the “flip-flops” are debatable–with media sometimes treating longtime Obama positions as new stances–what is undeniable is that for years corporate media have advised Democratic candidates to make just this sort of ideological shift (Extra!, 9/92, 1-2/95; Extra! Update, 10/00; Extra!, 7-8/06). The shifts cited by media included clear examples of Obama switching to a more rightward position, such as […]

Jul 11 2008

Robert Dreyfuss on Obama’s foreign policy, Amanda Marcotte on ‘pregnancy pact’ story


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama’s image as a harbinger of change has many hoping his election will bring change in foreign policy. He certainly differs from George Bush on the need for diplomacy. But what about issues such as the projection of American power and so-called humanitarian intervention? Does Obama’s thinking really represent a departure from, say, Bill Clinton’s views, or from the bipartisan thinking of the Cold War period? We’ll talk to journalist Robert Dreyfuss about his Nation magazine report, “Obama’s Evolving Foreign Policy.” Also on CounterSpin today, a story that proved too good to be […]

Jul 1 2008

Obama the Snob?

Hanging the ‘elitist’ label on another Democratic candidate

It’s safe to assume that Barack Obama knew he could expect certain lines of attack when he decided to run for president: whispers about his religious beliefs, for example, or questions regarding his patriotism. And sure enough, those issues came up almost as soon as the campaign started. But it’s difficult to imagine that Obama—whose one grandfather was a high-school dropout and the other a colonial servant—expected to fend off the accusation that he is “elitist.” Corporate media coverage of political campaigns often rests on certain storylines, though, that don’t necessarily bear any relationship to reality—Al Gore the exaggerator vs. […]

Jul 1 2008

Sidebar: The Most Liberal Senator?

[Note: This is a sidebar to “Obama the Snob?: Hanging the ‘elitist’ label on another Democratic candidate“] In the 2004 election, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was crowned by an influential Beltway publication with an unexpected designation: He was, according to its calculation, the most liberal member of the Senate (National Journal, 2/28/04). The ranking was endlessly trumpeted by Republican spokespeople. Almost four years later, the soon-to-be Democratic presidential candidate had the same label attached to his record—by the same publication. On January 31, 2008, the National Journal’s annual ranking of senators placed Barack Obama as the furthest left Senate […]