Why is it that AFTER the election reporters are coming out of the closet to admit the the media coverage of the campaign was pro-Obama. At a Politico/USC Conference Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin called the media bias disgusting. As an example he used the NY Times story about Michelle Obama vs the hatchet job on Cindy McCain. Read the full story below:
Halperin at Politico/USC conf.: ‘extreme pro-Obama’ press bias
By: Alexander Burns
November 22, 2008 04:55 PM EST
Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.
“It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war,” Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. “It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
Halperin, who maintains Time’s political site “The Page,” cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.
“The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies,” Halperin said. “The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn’t talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that’s ever been written about her.”
The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was “like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is,” according to Halperin.
The former ABC News political director acknowledged that some of the press coverage was simply reflecting the reality of Obama’s presidential campaign.
“You do have to take into account the fact that this was a remarkable candidacy,” Halperin said. “There were a lot of good stories. He was new.”
New York magazine’s John Heilemann, one of Halperin’s co-panelists, offered another reason for all the positive press coverage Obama received.
“The biggest bias in the press is towards effectiveness,” said Heilemann, who is authoring a book on the 2008 race along with Halperin.
“We love things that are smart.”
Because Obama’s campaign was generally so well run, he argued, the press tended to applaud even his negative tactics.
“We’ll scold you for being negative,” Heilemann said, “but if it seems to be working, the tone of your coverage becomes more positive.”
Another of Halperin’s fellow participants, Los Angeles Times writer Mark Barabak, disagreed more strongly with the Time writer’s comments. Still, Halperin’s general point met with little resistance
“I think it’s incumbent upon people in our business to make sure that we’re being fair,” he said. “The daily output was the most disparate of any campaign I’ve ever covered, by far.”