It’s our first year anniversary. It’s our birthday. On April 19, 2007 we debuted the website and posted our first 2 articles. We’ll have a post later today to celebrate and look at what we have done right and what we have done wrong over the past year. But this website has never been about us. This website is a support Hillary website. A whine-free zone of support for Hillary.
Contribute directly to the Hillary Clinton campaign (don’t forget to add 44 cents):
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Now that Senator Spector of Pennsylvania is ill again, the rumors of Chris Matthews running for senate in Pennsylvania increase. If/When Matthews runs for elective office, Hillary supporter will be there to remind Pennsylvania voters of the Chris Matthews record of Hillary bashing and misogyny.
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It occurred to us that a bigger issue was rising in the presidential campaign that was encapsulated by yesterday’s Meet The Press: The rise of a new political party – The Big Media Party.
Readers of Big Pink will notice that we regularly refer to “Big Media” not the generally approved MSM (Main Stream Media) utilized by Big Bloggers and the idiot “frame” obsessed to describe the current state of American journalism.
Political campaigns used to desire “free media” by speaking to issues and policies. The goal was to run a good campaign, with good policies, and the best candidate thereby garnering “free media” coverage of their campaigns. This is no longer true.
Big Media, as represented by the Tim Russerts and Chris Matthews and many others, is no longer just a referree. Big Media wants to be paid homage. Big Media wants their agenda adopted as policy by the candidates.
A shameless candidate like Barack Obama goes on Meet The Press not to appeal to the voters, but to appeal to Tim Russert. [snip]
Big Media will “ref” in Obama and Edwards’ favor now in order to destroy Hillary. But the Big Media wheel will grind them down if they were ever to get the nomination. Big Blogs will help Big Media for their own self interests as they regurgitate Big Media “waitress tips” stories.
Even some in Big Media are beginning to take note of the Big Media Party. As the Big Media Party yells louder and asserts more and more control of our elections in favor of their tool, schisms are emerging even within the Big Media Party.
Politico today takes note of the relationship between the Big Media Party and its tool – Barack Obama:
My, oh my, but weren’t those fellows from ABC News rude to Barack Obama at this week’s presidential debate.
Nothing but petty, process-oriented questions, asked in a prosecutorial tone, about the Democratic front-runner’s personal associations and his electability. Where was the substance? Where was the balance?
Where indeed. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides have been complaining for months about imbalance in news coverage. For the most part, the reaction to her from the political-media commentariat has been: Stop whining.
The protests by us and many other Hillary supporters was not whining. This election season several “correspondents” have had to publically apologize for their open misogyny and abusive comments against Hillary. The abuse has been staggering. At one point we even referred to the attacks as a form of “rape”. T-shirts stating “The Bro before the Ho” have been sold along with “nutcrackers” in the shape of Hillary. Big Media has not had anything to say about the sale of these items other than to grin. If racist items were sold Big Media would get on its high horse and blame Hillary immediately and continuously. Hillary has been portrayed as “cackling” and with her “claws” out in Big Media outlets. Big Media has examined her clothes and her breasts. The abuse has been staggering.
The shower of indignation on Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos over the last few days is the clearest evidence yet that the Clintonites are fundamentally correct in their complaint that she has been flying throughout this campaign into a headwind of media favoritism for Obama.
Last fall, when NBC’s Tim Russert hazed Clinton with a bunch of similar questions — a mix of fair and impertinent — he got lots of gripes from Clinton supporters.
But there was nothing like the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC’s performance as journalistically unsound.
The response was itself a warning about a huge challenge for reporters in the 2008 cycle: preserving professional detachment in a race that will likely feature two nominees, Obama and John McCain, who so far have been beneficiaries of media cheerleading.
The Big Media Party, aware it has had limited effect on voters, is shouting louder and more hysterically as well as skewing, even more, election coverage to benefit Big Media Party tool Barack Obama.
But there was nothing to justify Tom Shales’s hyperbolic review (“shoddy, despicable performances” by Gibson and Stephanopoulos) in The Washington Post or Greg Mitchell’s in Editor & Publisher (“perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years”). Others, like Time’s Michael Grunwald, likewise weighed in against ABC.
In fact, the balance of political questions (15) to policy questions (13) was more substantive than other debates this year that prompted no deluge of protests. The difference is that this time there were more hard questions for Obama than for Clinton.
Moreover, those questions about Jeremiah Wright, about Obama’s association with 1960s radical William Ayers, about apparent contradictions between his past and present views on proven wedge issues like gun control, were entirely in-bounds. If anything, they were overdue for a front-runner and likely nominee.
If Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient and uncertain.
The difference seems clear: Many journalists are not merely observers but participants in the Obama phenomenon.
(Harris only here: As one who has assigned journalists to cover Obama at both Politico and The Washington Post, I have witnessed the phenomenon several times. Some reporters come back and need to go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama’s political skill. Even VandeHei seemed to have been bitten by the bug after the Iowa caucus.)
(VandeHei only here: There is no doubt reporters are smitten with Obama’s speeches and promises to change politics. I find his speeches, when he’s on, pretty electric myself. It certainly helps his cause that reporters also seem very tired of the Clintons and their paint-by-polls approach to governing.)
It’s not a “news business” guys – look at what it actually has become (remember form follows function theory?) – it’s the Big Media Party. Call it what it is – the Big Media Party.
But the protectiveness toward Obama revealed in the embarrassing rush of many journalists to his side this week does touch on at least four deeper trends in the news business.
1. The breakdown of journalistic conventions about point of view. In an earlier era these standards — favoring austere, stoical language conveying voice-of-God authority — were designed in part to ensure that stories betrayed no hint of the writer’s real feelings. [snip]
This shift is also what allows NBC News to feel comfortable with its Obama reporter, Lee Cowan, who has acknowledged that he finds it hard to keep his objectivity covering Obama.
But when does a legitimate attempt to capture the energy and mood of a political movement become boosterism? Did Cowan cross the line in this dispatch for the “Nightly News” on Feb. 5?: “Since the early days of his campaign, the candidate has morphed from the intellectual to the inspirational. … And it’s that theme that’s brought crowds in the door and to their feet.”
It is a thin and often illegible line between this kind of journalism and outright favoritism.
Wherever the line, it is clear that the profession collectively has stepped over it — based as much on what it hasn’t covered as what it has.
Stop whining Politico, you have the resources and the talent to cover these stories. That is what is frustrating. These Big Media outlets who whine about the coverage when they are Big Media and can cover stories instead of exhorting others to be substantive. Politico – Cover the Rezko and Auchi connections to Obama – give this story the prominence it deserves. Stop whining Jim and John – Do it. You did well with the “questionnaire” story. The “questionnaire” made it to prime time television in a big debate. If you cover Auchi/Hussein/Rezko, people will read your articles. Do it, stop whining.
Two of the questions ABC asked Wednesday were related to subjects that have largely been met with media yawns.
One was Obama’s casual association with 1960s era radicals and would-be bomb-setters William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn: What is the nature of his relationship?
Another was about a questionnaire from a 1996 legislative race in which he endorsed a ban on handguns. Obama said the questionnaire was filled out by someone else and was in error about his views at the time. But it was later found that his handwriting was on the document: What gives?
One can dispute the relevance of these stories — though it seems certain they will be of interest to many moderate voters Obama would need in the fall — but it is indisputable that if Clinton was facing similar questions they would be the subject of constant and all-consuming coverage. There is an obvious double standard.
Stop the double standard Jim and John. Stop whining and get your reporters to report.
2. The rise of the liberal echo chamber. It used to be that if a reporter received a letter that started, “You biased S.O.B.,” it was almost certainly coming from someone on the right. In 1998 — the year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment — those notes began coming in equal measure from the left. During the Bush era — when the media stumbled in coverage of the march to war in Iraq — complaints are much more likely to come from liberals.
But it has only been in this campaign cycle that we have seen the liberal echo chamber — from websites like The Huffington Post and cable commentators like Keith Olbermann — be able consistently to drive a campaign story line. In the past, it was only the conservative echo chamber — Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh — who regularly drove stories in new media and old media alike. This is a huge shift.
Jim and John – stop whining. Why don’t you report on the connections between the “liberal echo chamber” and the Obama campaign. Write about founders of Facebook shutting down a Myspace site. Write about the connections between Arriana Huff n’ Puff and her organization and the Obama campaign. Write about how DailyKooks and the HeadKook are Obama shills and the HeadKook is now a Newsweak Kook too. Write about these connections and stop whining.
3. The blurring of lines between journalist and advocate. The Huffington Post is an admirable enterprise, staking a flag in a new media landscape. Its success this year was made possible by the openness of the Web and the decline in what was once the near-monopoly power of old media institutions like The New York Times to set the agenda on national politics. (Politico is itself an experiment in that new media landscape — one reason we admire Huffington.)
But it covers politics with a mix of traditional reporters and analysts, like Tom Edsall, and with people who define themselves principally as advocates. Many of these advocates, like The Huffington Post as a whole, are proudly cheering for Obama. (This is true even though the site, almost apologetically, broke the story about Obama’s recent remarks saying small-town Pennsylvanians turn to guns and God because they are bitter.)
Obama benefits also from probably the strongest bias of traditional, old media reporters: Against partisan combat and for a brand of politics that would transcend differences in favor of cooperation and centrism on elite issues like entitlement reform. Many of these reporters see Clinton representing bad, angry, contrived old politics and Obama bravely leading the way for good, civil, authentic new politics.
Stop cheerleading for Arriana Huff n’ Puff and cover her the way you do any political bed hopping courtesan. Do your job Politico and stop whining.
4. Covering politics as it is versus as it should be. Many of the people complaining about ABC’s coverage, even some Clinton supporters, disliked the questions and the tone because they felt they were serving as a warm-up act for Republican attacks in the fall.
It is not an easy balance. It is not reporters’ job to promote the opposition’s story lines — especially dubious ones like the suggestion that because Obama does not favor flag pins on his lapel it reflects adversely on his patriotism. But nor can serious reporters avert their gaze from the fact that questions about how well candidates connect personally and culturally with voters matter a lot — they were decisive factors in both the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Gibson and Stephanopoulos handled this balancing act responsibly. They asked tough questions of both candidates. In the wake of the debate, it is time for Obama’s cheerleaders in the media to ask some questions of themselves.
Jim and John, you done good today. It’s tough calling out your friends. You are right “it is time for Obama’s cheerleaders in the media to ask some questions of themselves”. It’s also important for you to keep calling out your friends and to also ask some questions about your coverage. Ask some questions of yourselves. You done did good today fellas. Keep it up.
Fight the Big Media Party.