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Obama: Media Darling
by Jeremy Browning
Nov. 08, 2008 09:01

I was not wrong nor even stretching the truth when I ranted the day after the election that the media will be swooning over "the man they helped elect."

Today brings us a story from Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell titled, "An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage."

The story begins:

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

She cites continuous examples of favoritism for Obama, including:
Positive op-ed pieces: Obama 32, McCain 13
Negative op-ed pieces: 58 McCain, 32 Obama
Stories since Nov. 11: Obama 946, McCain 786
Stories since June 4: Obama 626, McCain 584
Front page stores: Obama 176, McCain 144
Campaign stories June 9 to Nov. 2: Obama 66 percent, McCain 53 percent
Photos more than 3 columns wide: Obama 133, McCain 121
Smaller photos: Obama 178, McCain 161
Color Photos: Obama 164, McCain 133
Black and white photos: McCain 149, Obama 147

Howell writes: "Post photo and news editors were surprised by my first count on Aug. 3, which showed a much wider disparity, and made a more conscious effort at balance afterward."

There were disparities with regard to vice-presidential candidates, too.

Howell writes:

One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.

So we can all congratulate our new president-elect on a well-run campaign and also remind ourselves that it was historic on another account as well: journalists became unpaid campaigners, blanketed the fruited plain with favorable coverage, and truly helped to elect the leftist, Barack Obama.

Edited Nov. 08, 2008 09:14


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