“Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race”
— Headline over November 6 Reuters dispatch claiming no liberal tilt in favor of Barack Obama.
New President = New Rules
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “You know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that-”
Host Joe Scarborough: “Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist.”
Matthews: “Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country....This country needs a successful presidency more than anything right now.”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, November 6.
Moderator Gordon Peterson: “Are the mainstream media bashing the President unfairly?”
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: “Well, our job is to bash the President. That’s what we do.”
— Inside Washington, February 2, 2007.
The New and Improved U.S.A.
“This nation woke up this morning changed. As one columnist put it, America matured in 2008 by choosing Barack Obama.”
— Anchor Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, Nov. 5.
“When was the last time our nation cheered this much?... ’We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union’ — that’s what the Constitution says. Last night, all across America, for so many people, that’s how it felt. A more perfect union.”
— CBS’s Byron Pitts on the November 5 Evening News.
“Melting Pot of Communal Joy”
“When you work here in the crossroads of the world, you get used to group jubilation in various forms. But last night was transcendent. It was something else entirely....A melting pot of communal joy....Voices from around the world shouted of the greatness of America. And it really came in ebbs and flows. When the announcement was made, literal dancing in the streets and then, it calmed down. And people were locking in embraces.”
— ABC’s Bill Weir on Good Morning America, Nov. 5.
Our New Prince of Hope
“Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope....Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.”
— Time’s Nancy Gibbs in the November 17 cover story.
Welcome to Camelot II
“As the nation prepares for President-elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can’t help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy....The similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful vigor to the White House, including, young children....Kennedy had more than his share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it’s their wives who might be the real superstars.”
— CBS’s Harry Smith on The Early Show, November 7.
Leaping to Something Better
“If Americans elect Barack Obama President, we will evidence for ourselves and for the world the truth said by our forefathers to be self-evident....As we start this new century now at full speed, Americans seem on the verge of, in one vote, achieving two goals: taking a great American leap towards something better, and uniting our country as never before in our history.”
— Chris Matthews closing out his syndicated Chris Matthews Show, November 2.
Obama Will Bring Us “Excellence”
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “Obama’s changing everything as he moves. His victory speech last night in Grant Park which was so memorable on so many levels....”
Host Keith Olbermann: “Is there going to be an overarching theme in the appointments? We discussed this last night, competency, bipartisanship, diversity, newness, where are they going?”
Fineman: “Well, it’s going to be all of those. But I think, if you had to pick one, it would be excellence. Barack Obama is a guy who appreciates excellence and focus. He’s a guy who appreciates results.”
— MSNBC’s Countdown, November 5.
One Giant Leap for Mankind
“You’ve seen those videotapes of Walter Cronkite the night that man landed on the moon for the first time, when Neil Armstrong stepped out and he could just barely get out monosyllables. Politically, that’s what this is. This is man on the moon.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann during live coverage, Nov. 4.
Chris Won’t Pull Any Punches
“It was Hollywood. It was romance. It was realism. The technical quality of it, the production values were perfect, the way they timed going to live, the biographical material. But most important, the connection with the average person in the economic turmoil we face right now I thought was fabulous....Everything was just right....You’d have to be a tough customer not to be touched by it.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews moments after his network aired the half-hour Obama infomercial, October 29.
Obama’s “Center-Right” Chief
“Putting the White House team together is critical as well. That’s why the Rahm Emanuel choice [for White House chief of staff] is so interesting. Is the President-elect going to be moving toward the, sort of, center, center-right, which is often where Emanuel is seen?”
— CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno on American Morning, November 6. Emanuel has a 96% approval rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, but just a 13% American Conservative Union score.
GOP’s “Rat Hole of Distraction”
“Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers. We got a plumber who’s the third member of the GOP ticket, in effect, and that’s — it’s all of our fault, yes, and there will be time to bloody our own backs with chains, but it’s also the sorry state of our discourse....We may decide we went down too many rat holes of distractions on our way there.”
— NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on PBS’s Tavis Smiley, November 3.
Palin: “An Empty Designer Suit”
Reporter David Wright: “Last summer, McCain mocked Obama as an empty-headed celebrity....But then he created a celebrity of his own.”
Clip of John McCain: “When you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am.”
Wright: “Many were impressed, but plenty of others came to see Sarah Palin as an empty designer suit.”
— ABC’s World News, November 5.
Charming New York Times
“East Germany Had Its Charms, Crushed by Capitalism”
— Headline over an October 29 New York Times review of a book bemoaning the introduction of Western capitalism to the former Warsaw Pact country.
New Depression Means New WPA
“As I listen to these conversations and I read these numbers about how bad things are, I’m thinking WPA, I’m thinking it may be time for Americans to do something like that once again because there’s so many people unemployed and there’s so much that needs to be done in this country.”
— CNN midday anchor Rick Sanchez, referring to the 1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA) of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, during live coverage after Barack Obama’s post-election news conference, November 7.
Admitting a Little Bias
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “The media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think....Is the media just in love with history here, Mark, do you think?”...
Time’s Mark Halperin: “I think mistakes have been made and people will regret it....If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful President, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn’t done the right way.”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, October 28.
“If Obama wins then he’ll be the object of tough scrutiny even by journalists who share much of his world view. But on the social issues — gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion — I’m not sure we’re that even-handed.... Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it.”
— New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in a November 4 posting to his “On the Ground” blog.
Our Liberalism Has “Nil” Impact
“Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico....We’d take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election....[But] of the factors driving coverage of this election...ideological favoritism ranks virtually nil.”
— The Politico co-founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei in their October 28 column, “Why McCain is getting hosed in the press.”
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Scott Whitlock, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Justin McCarthy
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERN: Lyndsi Thomas