by Larry Elder
One of the nation’s premier newspapers fesses up about allegations of pro-Obama bias. The Washington Post’s ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, tracked its presidential campaign stories, front-page coverage and use of photos covering the period from Obama’s nomination on June 4 to Election Day. The result?
Howell writes: “The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board’s endorsement. … “Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.
“The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain’s 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama’s battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.
“McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, three months before Obama won his. From June 4 to Election Day, the tally was Obama, 626 stories, and McCain, 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain, 144 times; 41 stories featured both. …
“But Obama deserved tougher scrutiny than he got, especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling in Chicago. The Post did nothing on Obama’s acknowledged drug use as a teenager. …
“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.”
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Now, when can we expect The New York Times (endorsed Obama); Los Angeles Times (endorsed Obama); Chicago Tribune (endorsed Obama); and the other major papers to man up and admit their bias and their resultant anti-McCain, anti-Republican, pro-Obama coverage? What about ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN? So, what does this admission tell us going forward?
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews already gave us a preview. As a “journalist,” Matthews recently said his “job” is to “make (Obama’s presidency) work successfully.” Put aside the absurdity that the anti-Bush opinion-giving Matthews calls himself a “journalist,” but the same rabid Obama-for-president bias now becomes a cheering section. You have, no doubt, seen and heard stories about Obama facing challenges “more daunting than any president in living memory.”
Take the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Many Americans were alive when FDR took over in 1933. At the low point of the Great Depression, 25 percent of adults were unemployed, including nearly 50 percent of urban black adults. Economist David Wheelock, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, says that by 1934, almost half of urban homes with mortgages were in default, and 7.3 percent of housing structures had been foreclosed. Today 6.4 percent of mortgages are delinquent, 2.75 percent are in the foreclosure process, and 0.6 percent of all housing units are bank-owned.
What about when Ronald Reagan took over the presidency in 1981? He inherited an economy with unemployment at 7.5 percent (versus 6.5 percent today); annualized inflation at 13.5 percent (versus today’s about 4 percent annualized — through the first three quarters — and dropping rapidly); prime interest rates peaking at 21.5 percent (versus 4 today); and conventional mortgage interest rates of 15 percent (versus 6 today). Reagan inherited a presidency in full Cold War mode; the Islamic country of Iran just released 52 hostages held for 444 days; the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan; and the communists had infiltrated many countries in South America (our Western Hemisphere). Because of outgoing President Jimmy Carter’s price controls and the imposition of oil company “windfall profits” taxes, Americans waited for hours in gas lines.
Raising taxes on the so-called rich is bad. Giving welfare “tax credits” to those who pay no federal income taxes is bad. “Bailing” out homeowners and lenders who made ill-advised decisions is bad. Rewarding the Big Three domestic auto companies from decades of poor management is bad. Obama wants to do some or all of this — and more.
What will the pro-Obama media say about all of this? “Hey, come on, after the evil/incompetent/dictatorial Bush, anything is better, right?” “Look, what do you expect? Things are as bad as they’ve ever been, so give Obama a break!”
It’s going to be a long four years.
|Mr. Elder is an attorney, syndicated columnist, syndicated radio talk-show host and author of Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests That Divide America. (St. Martin’s Press, 2002)|