Fair and Balanced
My attention was piqued when I read AP’s David Bauder ask, “Is Media Playing Fair in Campaign Coverage?” At last!, I thought. Someone who actually gets it and is asking why Obama’s every silly transgression both real and imagined gets magnified while John McCain makes one idiotic statement after another as he shuffles all over the world and getting one free pass after another in the press.
Uh oh. Turns out that’s not Bauder’s point. Bauder’s trying to point out the fact that the press is cruelly ignoring poor old John and spending the lion’s share of its attention on Barack Obama. Never a mention is made explaining that the press mentions Obama in connection with items that are hardly newsworthy at all, such as Jeremiah Wright speaking his mind, whether or not Michelle Obama used the word “whitey” or Wesley Clark stating the obvious about McCain getting shot down over Hanoi alone doesn’t qualify him to be president or if Obama’s quit smoking.
So, to make his case, Bauder enlisted the aid of The Project for Excellence in Journalism. Of course, this is the same journalism think tank that said last May that there was no difference between Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Bill O’Reilly (Hint: Here’s one major difference- Jon Stewart‘s laughs are purely intentional. Plus, Stewart’s fans understand the jokes because they follow the news, as opposed to the idiots who make up Bill O’s fan base).
Believe it or not, it gets worse: Bauder then quotes that paragon of fairness in journalism, RushBo:
“My prediction is that the coverage of Obama on this trip will be oriented toward countering the notion he has no idea what he is talking about on foreign policy and defense issues and instead will prop him up as a qualified statesman. McCain, on the other hand, is a known quantity on these issues and his position does not excite nor fit the mainstream media's narrative on Iraq and Afghanistan, so they simply ignore it and him.”
And, once again, no challenge on Bauder’s part to Limbaugh, who until recently loathed McCain and ridiculed his own foreign policy, in claiming nowadays that McCain’s “a known quantity.”
Of course, Bauder also never stumbles onto the helpful fact that a large but simple reason why all three network anchors are following Obama and his entourage as if they’re the Grateful Dead is this is Obama’s first trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain, on the other hand, has already been to Iraq a total of 13 times. It’s like the Apollo lunar landing missions: After 13, who gives a shit?
If you want an indication of how the press fawns over Obama and gives him more media attention than McCain, consider in this Plame-esque moment McCain giving away basically Obama’s entire Gulf itinerary at a GOP fundraiser (and picked up by Reuters). One wonders why McCain didn’t just slip that information to Robert Novak on the sly.