Obama: Is the press on his side?

The media coverage of Obama may seem outsized, but "more" does not equal "softer" and last week it drew attention away from some of McCain's gaffes.

“Ever since MSNBC’s Chris Matthews confessed that Barack Obama sent a ‘thrill’ up his leg,” said Margery Eagan in the Boston Herald, “we’ve known much of the media has been in the throes of Obamamania.” But last week, things really got out of hand when the media covered Obama’s overseas trip as if it were a cross between a coronation and the second coming. With hundreds of reporters chronicling Obama’s every utterance, with the three major networks’ top anchors on hand for any morsel Obama would bestow upon them, a casual observer would be forgiven for thinking John McCain had “already lost.” I believe this phenomenon already has a name, said John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. It’s called “liberal bias.”

Obama does get more coverage than McCain, said Steve Chapman, also in the Tribune, but not because most journalists are liberal. Obama is simply a far better story. A newcomer with just three years in the Senate, Obama beat the vaunted Clinton machine, and the fact that he’s the first black presidential nominee “gives him huge historical significance.” And even Obama’s critics acknowledge that he’s got the finest oratorical skills since Mario Cuomo and Ronald Reagan. Besides, said James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times, more coverage is not the same as “softer” coverage. The tired trope about “liberal media” notwithstanding, an analysis by George Mason University found that since June, ABC, NBC, and CBS actually were “tougher on Obama” than on McCain. Nearly three-quarters of the opinions the anchors and reporters voiced about Obama in recent weeks were negative.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us