November 9, 2008
In conclusion of two gruesome years of brutal campaigning and rhetoric, global attention and nationwide anxiety, a president has been elected in the form of an eloquently-speaking 46 year old — Senator Barack Obama.
The opposing party has since acknowledged their defeat and seemingly ambled in the direction of moving on, but anonymous political finger pointing from John McCain’s aides at to past running mate Sarah Palin and back have sparked various amounts of media airtime, and again the media bias topic has been thrown onto the table.
So in final closing of the election, this question is more or less ready to answer: is the media in fact biased to one side and if so, by how much?
I think that in looking at this topic, many can see it in very different ways, based on their political views from the election. It is not a rare sight to see both liberal and conservative blogs and strongly left or right press outlets sending out daily attacks at the media, and that is not where or what would be constructive to do in actually answering this question. Instead, what we have to work with are simply facts and what has happened.
Blame in this corner generally comes from clips of news anchors strongly defending or attacking a political figure, which can be taken in different ways based both on the context and the topic.
Fox News, attacked daily for bias, has in fact been “exposed” numerous times of taking anti-Obama clips from interviews and failing to air the rest, which most of the time is in fact against McCain. And respectively, frequently attacked MSNBC has not only been accused of bias toward Obama, but has also devoted air time to attack the supposed “right” media.
But with this aside, to accuse the media of bias is more or less a completely impossible argument to complete in a non-partisan manner. The talking heads most politically attacked are merely hosted by media outlets and not necessarily backed by them — with the exception in my opinion being Bill O’Riley. But in fact, I enjoy viewing O’Riley even though I know him as conservative, in the same way I enjoy watching Keith Olbermann because I know him as a liberal.
But above this, I honor both O’Riley and Olbermann for simply attacking each other, brutally pointing out mistakes in simply the form of media that we Americans have come to know. I personally perceive Fox News as conservative and MSNBC as liberal, but have come to not simply face these facts, but absorb both in light of what each media outlet has to say, and take it into context when choosing what to believe how to believe.
So I’ll open this up to the commenters: What do you think — is there bias in the media, by what magnitude, and how is it perceived by you?
November 1, 2008
On the morning of August 20, Barack Obama and John McCain were in a virtual dead heat for the White House.
Obama was five days away from the Democratic Nation Convention, where his campaign hoped to put in a press swing that would ride him through the GOP’s Convention. He was also riding up attention for his extremely anticipated Vice Presidential decision, as his anxious base and the country alike stood at a standstill.
But as the infamous truth holds, none of this essentially played out — Sarah Palin was standing in the way.
Blanketing world news, Palin’s entrance to the global stage both wiped clean any and all publicity from Obama’s historic convention and in doing so started a “press wildfire,” exploding into the media for weeks, then months.
But now, as we look back on late August, the daunting shadow in our minds looms between McCain, the press, and the oval office — the polls. Gone from a dead heat to a widening eight point Obama lead, McCain’s promising late August media swing has seemed to backfire.
And as early ballots begin storming in, the McCain campaign finds themselves in a run against the media, the independents, and finally, against Sarah Palin.
As a thirteen year old not effected by voting week or polls, it is more or less clearer to see the strategic effect rather than the emotional toll, and in that respect I believe that the choice of Palin as running mate has essentially the snowball that has turned into an avalanche.
Palin’s political entrance in the McCain campaign put an extremely positive effect onto the conservative base, but in doing so moved the McCain campaign significantly to the right.
In addition to strategically abandoning liberal Republican voters and the center, Palin opened the McCain campaign up for examination from almost every political side of the isle, detailing that Palin was the female form of President Bush — far right in many of her individual policies.
But what interests me is that the McCain campaign didn’t solely defend Palin, but set off an array of attack ads to the left, sending off the first signs of agitation from his campaign.
And as Obama simply defended them with response press statements and ads himself, the media simply caught on, causing many have accused the media of — bias. The Obama press endorsements kept racking up, backing the McCain campaign closer and closer to the wall.
The press had caught the strategic unstableness of the McCain campaign, and simply reported it. McCain, in a deeper and deeper hole, executed the response that ultimately will keep him out of the oval office — more attack.
Strategic failure and a political gamble have brought the McCain campaign to their knees — and this is why, as the Fall leaves are raked off the street and world politics comes to a standstill on November 4th, we will see a President Obama elected.
October 10, 2008
In the final stages of the presidential election, there is certainly no disputing that the national spotlight has shifted to Barack Obama rather than John McCain, whether rightfully so or not.
While listening to a Fox Radio broadcast, a republican strategist put out a bold analogy in a similarly bold topic, quoting:
The party that can’t lose [Dem.] has nominated a candidate that can’t win, and the party that can’t win [Rep.] has nominated a candidate that can’t lose.
Although the quote isn’t exactly historically accurate (its very debatable), nor do I necessarily agree with what the man said, he certainly raises a very good point.
Although I am a (obviously non-racist) liberal Obama supporter who frankly doesn’t care about his previous political involvements, I know for a fact that many other people don’t share my views — whether they support Obama or McCain.
Several polls have shown that a great number of people are in fact concerned with Ayers and other people’s involvement with Obama, mostly the people that the McCain campaign have hit on in their recent campaigning.
It is of course also debatable if those campaign tactics have in fact succeeded (maybe another post), but my main point here is to raise an even more subtle question: “Has Obama’s background and not necessarily clear past kept the political race as close as it is?”
In my opinion the answer is yes.
The McCain campaign, in my view, is taking extremely long and (I’ll quote Obama on this) “erratic” bounds as far as attacks, but it has worked to some extent with the general audience. As pointed out in a great post, McCain’s attacks may have not convinced any talking head to intellectual blogger. But I disagree with the post it its claim that they has altogether failed.
But in the same sense, Obama is still a clear shot away from the White House, and this issue most likely would be far from relevant in that were to happen.
So instead I’ll open up another (certainly way off track) concept to the commenters, which is further prompted by my original question: Has Obama’s background and not necessarily clear past kept the political race as close as it is?
What if a non-scandalous John Edwards were in Obama’s political place at the moment? Would the election be more of a landslide?
—- In my opinion, this would be completely irrelevant and false, mostly because I support Obama because of his policies rather than his past involvements. —
October 7, 2008
In what many would call a fascinating debate intellectually as well as strategically, I will say that I am completely shocked by the lack of political and strategic performance that John McCain put forward.
In my opinion, this debate for John McCain held a huge importance — McCain was in need of a breakthrough, and he as well as I knew that it would need to come with negative attacks.
But McCain simply didn’t pick the right fights — he picked all of them. In almost every question and issue, McCain choose to attack his opponent. And this simply did not (and is proven to have not) provoke a positive reaction from the audience.
And this is essentially what part of the outcome is for McCain’s slip in the polls — he has chosen a proven strategy, in this case negative campaigning, and has abused it — both in this debate and in his campaigning in total.
“You don’t want to hear politicians pointing fingers, you want to know how my or senator McCain’s policies will affect you.”
This quote was both the closest point to a knockout punch that this relatively motionless debate held, but also a show that McCain was not pointing his finger correctly at Obama. As a democrat and Obama supporter myself, I will say (and you can quote me on this) the Obama won the debate from a policy standpoint. But as a thirteen-year old American and political blogger, I will also say that McCain lost a debate on the strategic side that he very well could have won if he simply stopped attacking.
And this is essentially because although McCain had very little momentum coming into tonight, the debate’s town hall-style favored him — he purposely holds his campaign events as town-halls because he knows that it is his strength.
But despite this, McCain, instead of capitalizing on the town-hall format by directly answering the questions asked, seemed anxious to put fourth a knock out punch question after question in the form of a political attack towards Obama.
And because of this, McCain left Obama the momentum door a jar and Obama exploited it, using his strengths to please the crowd with his policies, ignoring the sometimes off-topic McCain points. His ratings instantly increased and as an effect, the normally non-commenting people I watched the debate with pointed out that Obama clearly had a strategic and political edge.
And in the end, McCain never got his chance for a knockout punch. Why? Obama never gave him another chance — using his earned momentum to both answer McCain and present his point in the way he wanted to.
And so I think that McCain fared as more anxious in his portion of the debate than Obama, and that is why he clearly lost.
October 6, 2008
Today Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin presented her second speech in as many days on the topic of opponent Barack Obama’s political involvement with past leader of radical group Weather Underground — a subject repeatedly punched by the McCain campaign. Palin’s words were responded with boos and shouting alike from the McCain supporting crowd, a harsh way of showing they wanted more.
But has this been the response from the general public, especially neutral undecideds?
The popular trend has been no, but past and present pollster stats have had a history of contradicting this claim. But in contrast, Barack Obama’s recent climb in the polls have been widely linked with the fact that his campaign has been running a lower percentage of attack ads.
But in truth it really comes down to the campaign making their attacks carefully and with strategy. Although incredibly dated, my case in point is knockout campaign ad “daisy” by then-presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson. The ad (click here) was truly a textbook attack that although was in fact a PR gamble, paid off handsomely for the Johnson campaign, and is even credited at times in part for his presidency win.
Why? Though a gamble alone because of its topic, the ad was in fact very well played. The Johnson campaign found a large stumble by opponent Barry Goldwater where he stated that nuclear bombing Vietnam was a possibility.
For those as young as me, to put this into prospect: the political importance of capitalizing on the uncertainty and fear of a nuclear war in 1964 was by all means not the equivalent but rather of the same concept as a candidate in this race falling on a political pot of gold. In other words, finding something (most useful would be a quote) coming out of the opposing campaign that involved the prospect of funding the people who are suspected to have started the financial crisis.
What is my point? There are essentially three steps a campaign must take to orchestrate a successful ad — a juicy and controversial topic (in Daisy’s case a nuclear war), a somewhat truthful piece of information from the opponent (the more untruthful it is the more skilled the director must be), and finally a non-generic: “and this is why you should vote John ’64” quote.
And “daisy” not only hit straight on all of those topics, but also found time to put fourth an intense start (the young girl counting roses that turns in to a T-Minus countdown for an nuclear bomb) that has made people think and argue for decades.
And what does this have to do with the 2008 presidential race? In a strategic sense, almost everything.
In my opinion, Obama’s lead has come from two things — his policies and the topic of this post — McCain campaigning.
But not as you might suspect — I am not discrediting McCain for his negativing campaigning itself, but rather the fact that it has not successfully followed all the points to make a successful PR ploy. This is simply because he has thrown out way too many talking points as ads, and hasn’t followed what has worked in the past and will continue to — a central arguement.
October 4, 2008
As an American, I have recently been surrounded at all angles by the financial crisis, both presidential and vice-presidential debates, and already interestingly enough, the ongoing saga of Sarah Palin.
So as I tuned in to CNN, passing through images of Wall Street, abandoned houses and OJ Simpson’s Trial, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before I saw Sarah Palin. And when that did in fact become reality, I was completely dumbfounded — not only did I see her, but rather I heard her.
What do I mean? CNN’s routine coverage of a McCain campaign stop in Carson, California showed Palin addressing the public, but not like I was used to. I’ll get to the point — she wasn’t delivering a stump speech.
Yes, a non-stump speech wouldn’t have been such a spectacle at any other campaign event in recent history, but the truth is recent history has never seen Sarah Palin. Although today I will lay off the long saga of Palin herself, I must point out something like this has not only been a rarity in the past few months, but to me shows a turning point in the McCain campaign.
Although I believe that Joe Biden won the Vice Presidential debate, I also will point out that Palin didn’t lose it. She fought, but was taken captive by Biden’s foreign policy credentials and successful soundbite gambles.
But what I think Palin accomplished in the debate gave her more long term firepower than any single thing she has done as running mate for John McCain (and sorry for the bluntness) — she is now no longer a joke.
If you asked strategists from both the right an the left on the morning of the VP debate, there would be no disputing from them across the board that Sarah Palin has been in the public’s eye a PR ploy. Whether that is what the McCain campaign intended to accomplish is another analysis in itself, but my blunt point here is that the Vice Presidential debate simply changed the way people thought of Palin.
She didn’t have any coupe-de-grace moments, she didn’t gaffe, and she certainly didn’t win, but Palin kept up. And in doing that she passed a certain point of public status — from more of a joke and PR stunt to a vice presidential candidate. This will admittedly not change opinions on her policies, especially mine, but as pointed out in a rather comic tone by one of my friends, “Palin achieved the expectations of stringing together multiple coherent and complete sentences.”
Although that comment wasn’t exactly correct, it was essentially in the right direction. Palin’s expectations were in fact incredibly low, and because she exceeded them in such a national stage, my guess is that Palin became a valid political figure to many people.
So what does that have to do with Palin not delivering a stump speech? In truth, a lot.
In more of a bold statement, because of Palin’s renewed status, she has essentially set herself into the position to carefully open herself up to the MSM and public alike. My point here is that because of her partial success in the debate, Palin was either herself motivated or given the green light by the McCain campaign to open herself up to the press.
And this of course temps the question: what would have happened if Palin had gaffed and knocked herself out of the debate?
In my opinion the McCain campaign would be very hard pressed to do virtually anything in that situation. They would face a press fire if they didn’t bring Palin to an event, but would also face a brutal media wall if they let her speak.
So I’ll let the commentators have a say at this.
September 30, 2008
It seems like the press is now convinced on two topics — the economic bailout that has cost us one trillion in a day — and everything about Sarah Palin. Because I am no economics professional and am too young to have a bank account, I have become more or less obsessed with Palin and her press craze.
Very early this month, I found a small blog offering that John McCain’s campaign should ask Palin to step down as running mate, in what seemed like a drunken tone, which I had very little interest for mostly because the blog’s credibility and links were nothing less than bogus.
I then started seeing more and more blogs pop up with this topic, along with the occasional webzine posting a opinion piece with similar views to the original blog. But I was extremely surprised to see the story go all the way to CNN’s Jack Cafferty File, a very prestigious, and to me, credible opinion blog. So as I sifted through the hundreds of comments, some (let us say) “interesting” points came up. This is one that I will center my analysis around — written by “erica”:
If he [John McCain] has half a brain he will – but I think we know how much brain he has, based on the fact he chose her in the first place.
I originally noticed this comment because it was so overly partisan that it triggered dozens of follow up arguments, but after staring at it for quite a long time, I saw something different in it — it was completely true…without the “brain” comments.
In truth, McCain made a smart decision, but a very important one in his acquisition of Palin. And many can agree that it has not paid off.
In my perspective, Palin was chosen in the most part for a nation-wide press boost and to collect outer right conservatives who otherwise wouldn’t support McCain. It is widely disputed if they intended to also herd in former Hillary Clinton supporters, but that is completely off topic.
In short, for whatever reason John McCain choose Sarah Palin, he cannot avoid the fact that he has chosen her. He also cannot avoid the fact that he has backed her up and called her “the best running mate I could have chosen” multiple times. So this now brings me to a revised version of the comment I saw.
John McCain is now feeling his Sarah Palin press fire burn out in the midst of the economic crisis, and although he and his staff know that Palin does not have a good chance of coming out of the debate (or really any public appearance) with an increase in the polls, he has chosen her. He cannot replace her.
He simply can’t. Sending Palin into a debate that now seems impossible to win and hard to stay alive would prompt any political writer, commentator, strategist, blogger — anyone to think that it would be a good campaign move to replace her. But he can’t.
Palin, in her VP beginnings, was a literal press flame although she barely ever choose to enter the media. And I, as well as many liberal and conservatives alike thought it she could carry that media flame all the way to the White House. As a Democrat and teenage citizen of the US, I was terrified by her, but as a political strategist I strongly thought that she could eventually carry her stardom all the way. But I forgot one thing — she had to debate. I stand corrected.
The McCain campaign has found themselves in a trap. Their favorite baseball was hit as a home run, but instead of clearing their fence to their friendly neighbor’s yard, it was hit too hard, landing in the haunted house that Joe Biden lives in.
In more simple words, Palin was a genius idea that worked, perhaps too well. The conservatives just didn’t look far ahead enough politically and tested all available traps to see that this could happen. Palin started off brilliantly, but then she made some mistakes and the press as well as many others have exploited them. Hence her “Bridge To Nowhere” claim that everyone from Bono to Keith Olberman have capitalized on. Her two failed interviews that are now legendary on youtube, being smashed to pieces by comedian Tina Fey. But most of all, it is the few information that has been given out, most of it called lies.
So as Palin limps into the debates, there is a very low chance she will make it out. And there is literately nothing John McCain can do about it.