Media Are Big Losers in Election 2008

by Roger Aronoff – [producer, media analyst]

The verdict is in: the mainstream media were overwhelmingly in the tank for Barack Obama, and did their part to make sure he will be elected. Their polls predict an Obama victory, but the people have a chance to vote against media bias on Election Day.

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger calls Obama a “con-man” who intends on buying the election with untraceable and possibly illegal contributions or stealing it through the efforts of ACORN if necessary. If this is the case, then it will be up to John McCain to decide what to do?concede or fight. The outcome could fall into the hands of lawyers for both sides, and it could be weeks or even months till we know for sure.

The evidence of bias in favor of Barack Obama continues to pour in. In the last couple of weeks came studies from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), neither of which is considered in any way to have conservative leanings. In the former study, they found that, based on coverage from 48 news outlets between the end of the two party’s conventions and the end of the debates, 57% of the stories on McCain were negative, while only 14% were considered positive, while for Obama, those figures were 29% negative and 36% positive.

Surveys show that, by a margin of seven to one, the public thinks that most journalists want Obama to win. Even Democrats, by a six-to-one margin, believe the same. They also saw the bias in favor of Obama during the Democratic primaries and caucuses. The liberal bias cannot be denied.

The CMPA reported their findings last week: “Based on a scientific content analysis of 979 election news stories with 33 hours 40 minutes airtime that appeared on the ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX evening newscasts (the first half hour of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report”) from August 23 to October 24,” they determined that “On the broadcast network newscasts, evaluations of Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been over twice as favorable as evaluations of John McCain and Sarah Palin–65% positive versus 35% negative for the Democratic ticket compared to 31% positive versus 69% negative evaluations of the Republican ticket.”

They go on to reveal that Fox’s (the Fox News Channel) premier news show, Brit Hume’s “Special Report,” is both more balanced and more negative than the broadcast network shows. McCain and Palin combined have received 39% favorable and 61% unfavorable comments on Brit Hume’s show, compared to 28% favorable and 72% unfavorable comments about Obama and Biden.

What is particularly significant about these findings is that though the size of their audiences are way down from years back, the three broadcast network news shows are seen by 25 – 30 million viewers a night, while even the highest rated cable news show, “The O’Reilly Factor” averages in the 2 – 3 million range per night. So the power of the old media persists.

The Big Picture

In addition, the CMPA findings do not include CNN or MSNBC, the latter of which has been a virtual infomercial for Obama every night throughout its prime time schedule, repeated throughout the late-night blocks as well. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are clear partisan supporters of Obama, and rarely provide a balanced picture on matters regarding Obama or McCain. In fact, much of the time is spent venomously attacking President Bush, McCain, Sarah Palin, or any other number of Republicans and conservatives. Matthews, to his credit, does invite some people on his show to provide balance. What a concept!

In one of the worst editorial decisions of this entire campaign, MSNBC, the cable news arm of NBC, used Olbermann and Matthews to anchor the Democratic and Republican conventions. Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president defended it by saying that they “put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem.” But just days after the end of the Republican convention, and after much criticism even from inside the more staid NBC offices, Griffin relented and said the two of them would no longer anchor live political events. But they were free to continue their partisan hackery on their respective programs.

Many have questioned Olbermann’s emotional stability, especially during his extended rants that he calls “special commentaries.” NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” show even felt compelled to make fun of him last Saturday. The funny bit captured Olbermann’s dishonesty, political bias, sense of self-importance and emotional fragility. What’s most amazing, it came come from his own NBC family and noted Hollywood liberal Ben Affleck, who played Olbermann. In case you missed it, here it is.

Double Standard

Speaking of the popular culture, there has been a relentless attack on McCain and Palin, and Bush. Between Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report,” and shows like “The View,” “Ellen,” and even many prime time entertainment shows, like Tina Fey’s “30 Rock,” the cumulative battering and ridiculing of the Republican ticket certainly has to have an impact on some impressionable people, most of them young potential voters.

Except for “American Carol,” a film making fun of the far left and especially Michael Moore, Hollywood is careful not to do anything to help the Republicans. Consider the recent Warner Brothers decision to not release the new DVD version of the 1988 film, “Hanoi Hilton,” because it includes as an extra feature an interview with Sen. McCain, who was, as is well known, tortured as a POW in Vietnam over much of his five-and-a-half years in captivity. After initially saying last month that their reason for delaying the release was to avoid violating any campaign finance laws, Warner later changed the rationale to, “It’s just us trying to be cautious and not affect the election one way or the other.”

But this is the same Time Warner that brings Bill Maher’s show “Real Time with Bill Maher” on its HBO network for the last two and a half months leading up to the election to engage in a weekly hate-fest aimed again, at Bush, McCain, and Palin. And it is repeated many times over the week. And the same HBO has been running the HBO-produced film “Recount,” which premiered earlier this year and won several Emmys in September, and has re-aired a minimum of 20 times over the past couple of months. “Recount” offers a version of history that strongly suggests, with virtually all the good guys being the Democrats, that Al Gore had the presidency stolen from him in 2000. It is apparently just a coincidence that it’s running now.

Another notable figure has just added his voice to the many who experience the media’s bias in favor of Obama. Harold Evans was the editor of the Sunday Times (London) for 14 years, which he left over editorial differences with Rupert Murdoch, and as a naturalized American citizen, has been the editorial director of U.S. News and World Report, the New York Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly magazine, as well as the head of Random House publishing. He is also the husband of Tina Brown, formerly the editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

In a piece he wrote for the UK Guardian, he states that “In this 2008 race, it’s the American media that have voted very early and often. They long ago elected the star graduate of Chicago’s Democratic machine, Barack Obama.”

Evans cites a laundry list of complaints against the media: “All the mainstream national outlets were extraordinarily slow to check Obama’s background,” he writes. “And until it became inescapable because of a video rant, they wouldn’t investigate the Reverend Jeremiah Wright connection for fear of being accused of racism. They wouldn’t explore Obama’s dealing with the corrupt, now convicted, Chicago businessman Tony Rezko. They haven’t investigated Obama’s pledge to get rid of the secret ballot in trade union affairs. After years of inveighing against ‘money in politics,’ they’ve tolerated his breach of the pledge to restrict himself to public financing as McCain has done (to his cost). Now the L.A. Times refuses to release a possibly compromising video, which shows Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet, saying its promises to its source prevent it from doing so.”

Regarding that L.A. Times story about the suppressed video, the question is how close of a relationship did Obama have with Khalidi, and does it matter. After all, as Keith Olbermann and others have pointed out, didn’t John McCain have some connection with an organization that gave more money to Khalidi’s group than did any of Obama’s foundations? The answer to that is yes, but it is not the same kind of relationship.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) gave nearly a half million dollars to “the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies (CPRS) for polling in the West Bank/Gaza.” Their full statement of explanation can be found here, and says in essence that this was the only organization qualified and in a position to do polling in the West Bank and Gaza during the so-called Oslo peace process in the 1990’s, and they cleared doing so with Israel, while not doing background checks on individuals involved with the group.

While there was no evidence of a personal or professional relationship between Khalidi and McCain, there was between Obama and Khalidi. This makes all the difference in the world.

The Pattern

The problem for Obama is that this was just one part of a pattern of relationships that Obama had over a number of years that shed light on his mindset and world view. In this youtube video, a segment from a Sean Hannity TV show, the links among Obama, Khalidi and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers are shown. More detail is provided in an article by Daniel Pipes of the Hoover Institution, who identifies and documents several close associations between Obama and various Islamists with ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, as well as people associated with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombers, wrote a powerful article that helps explain what is so troubling about the various relationships that Obama had with William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, and others. “Whether clothed as a terrorist or an academic,” wrote McCarthy for National Review Online, “Ayers has made abundantly clear in his public statements, both before and after he established a working relationship and mutual admiration society with Obama, that he remains a revolutionary fueled by hatred of the United States. And while Obama now ludicrously pleads ignorance about Ayers’s terrorism—the terrorism that made the unabashed Ayers an icon of the Left—understand that this rabid anti-Americanism is the common denominator running through Obama’s orbit of influences.”

There has been excellent reporting on the background of Barack Obama, but it has been mostly on conservative websites, and largely ignored by the mainstream media, with the obvious purpose of protecting Obama.

AIM Editor Cliff Kincaid has documented the involvement of Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn, in a bombing that killed a San Francisco policeman. The media pretend not to notice, even though Dohrn and Ayers were both associates of Obama, and Dohrn may be the more notorious of the two.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has attempted to put many of Obama’s associations in context for the National Review and the Wall Street Journal. His latest piece is intended as a summary of his articles over the past several months: “Obama’s troubling associations are more than isolated friendships or instances of bad judgment. His ties to Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi, Michael Pfleger, James Meeks, ACORN, the New Party, and the Gamaliel Foundation all reflect Obama’s sympathy with radical-left ideas and causes—wealth redistribution prominent among them. At both the Woods Fund and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, for example, Obama and Ayers channeled money into ACORN’s coffers. ACORN, a militant group pursuing economic redistribution, succeeded in undermining credit standards throughout the banking system, thereby modeling the New Party’s plans to tame capitalism itself. So the association with Ayers is not an outlier issue, but part and parcel of a network of radical ties through which Obama’s supported ‘major redistributive change.’”

ACORN is also the group that has allegedly been engaged in voter registration fraud for many years and is under investigation in more than 10 states.

In October, the state of Ohio was caught up in a lawsuit in which the Republicans were asking the Democratic Secretary of State to be sure that all of the voter registration forms were verified and cross-checked to ensure they were legitimate. She resisted, and a lower court ruled she didn’t have to do it. Then a federal appeals court said she must comply. That bulletin came in on the wire during the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, when her guest was Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter.

Alter quite stunningly stated that “The important thing for Democrats is that the Secretary of State and the Governor are now Democrats. In 2004 both were Republicans, and dedicated in a very obvious way to trying to suppress the vote. These Democratic officials are dedicated to trying to allow as many people to vote as possible. So they have control of the machinery, and as we found in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000, the party that controls the machinery of the election process has the upper hand.” Alter then concluded, “If I were a Democratic candidate in Ohio I wouldn’t get too worried about this.”

This is the liberal media attitude: An unproven charge about Republican voter suppression in Ohio justifies ACORN’s allegedly corrupt activities. But since the Democrats in charge “have control of the machinery,” the Democrats and their media allies are feeling pretty good. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned a federal appeals court, and though there were some 200,000 voter registration forms “that don’t match records in other government databases like the motor vehicle and Social Security lists,” the Secretary was off the hook as far as having to cross-check them in time for the election. It is an open invitation to fraud.

Censoring Critics

Having watched people like Stanley Kurtz become the subject of intense criticism for simply being invited on a radio talk show in Chicago to explain his findings, one wonders what an Obama Administration might do to its critics. An email went out from Obama’s camp to jam the phone lines and send in harassing emails when Kurtz went on that show. The Obama camp was also reportedly involved in an effort in the St. Louis area to warn citizens of criminal libel prosecutions if they made controversial statements about Obama. Now there are stories that reporters working for newspapers which endorsed McCain over Obama for president have been kicked off the campaign plane.

These and other incidents were described in Michael Barone’s shocking article, “The Coming Obama Thugocracy.” It warns of threats to freedom and dissent under an Obama Administration.

The mainstream media have done what they do best?slant the coverage in favor of liberals and Democrats. They have sabotaged the notion of an informed citizenry that needs accurate news and information. The hope is that more and more members of the public will get their information elsewhere, and make their decisions accordingly. ExileStreet

Roger Aronoff is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media, and is the writer/director of ”Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.” He can be contacted at

In one of the worst editorial decisions of this entire campaign, MSNBC, the cable news arm of NBC, used Olbermann and Matthews to anchor the Democratic and Republican conventions.

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