Media’s Treatment of Hillary, Barack and Sarah

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on September 17, 2008

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-Read the excerpt below (from James Edmund Pennington's AmericanThinker.com commentary).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

from a commentary at AmericanThinker.com by James Pennington:

If Barack Obama’s past had been subjected to one tenth the media scrutiny during the full year of his candidacy, to which Sarah Palin has been subjected during the last 11 days, Obama very probably still would be junior senator from Illinois, and Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. …

For during the last week-and-a-half we have been treated to an astonishing affirmation of how thoroughly our nation’s impartial media can [pursue] the tiniest, least relevant fact about a candidate, how quickly it can [thoroughly research] back to the beginnings of a politician’s career, all with the laudable goal of testing whether the image the candidate projects accords with the record.

Where was this frenzy of journalistic zeal and competence when Barack Obama was building up a [huge] delegate lead over Hillary?

Where were the media articles, … explaining Obama’s long, close and deep connection to unreformed Marxist revolutionary and proud domestic terrorist Bill Ayres?

Where was the in-depth series on how Obama came to his first prominent job in 1995 as Chair of Ayres’ $100 Million plus Annenberg Challenge grant? …

Where were (are?) the articles on just how closely these two men worked together for at least four years (1995-2005)? On who received the grant money, what they did with it and to what effect?

And, even more crucially, where are the … media analyses of Ayres’ views – about education and other matters – and how [similar] Obama’s are with his?

Where were the probing analyses of Obama’s improbable claimed shock at his minister’s racist and hate-filled ravings? Where were the mainstream media’s interviews of parishioners (and others) in Chicago who could affirm or contradict that Obama was asleep during the Reverend’s worst rants? Or the reverse — that Obama in fact agreed with some or all of them? …

Hillary would like to have seen a lot of such such stuff back in December, 2007, and the cold days before Super Tuesday in February of this year. If she – and the public – had, she very probably would have a different status now. …

Measuring whether a candidate is in fact who he/she claims to be by digging into the candidate’s record is the core function of the media in our electoral democracy.

The complaint… is that the media never for a moment, let alone a week, scrutinized Barack Obama’s origins in Chicago at all, let alone to the extent it already has Sarah Palin’s in Alaska. …

[Suggestion: The media should] decide how many reporters … and investigators you intend to send to Alaska in an effort to discredit Governor Palin. Then take that number – be it 20, 200 or 2000 – divide in half, and send one battalion to Chicago to find out how Obama rose from total obscurity to great heights in record time, who his closest associates were, what portion of those associates’ beliefs he shares, and what he really believes.

In short, send a team to Chicago to find out and tell us who Barack Obama is.

Read the entire commentary at AmericanThinker.com.

Questions

1.  Mr. Pennington asserts that if the public had read investigative reports on Sen. Obama’s connections to former domestic terrorist Bill Aires, Sen. Clinton would probably be the Democratic nominee for president today.  He implies that the media gave Barack Obama an unfair advantage over Hillary Clinton.
Do you think that the media’s reporting on Sen. Obama favored him and therefore cost Sen. Clinton the nomination?  Explain your answer.

2.  Mr. Pennington suggests: 
“The media should decide how many reporters … and investigators [it] intend[s] to send to Alaska in an effort to discredit Governor Palin. Then take that number – be it 20, 200 or 2000 – divide in half, and send one battalion to Chicago to find out how Obama rose from total obscurity to great heights in record time, who his closest associates were, what portion of those associates’ beliefs he shares, and what he really believes.  In short, send a team to Chicago to find out and tell us who Barack Obama is.”
Do you think this is reasonable?  Explain your answer.

3.  What types of bias does Mr. Pennington believe are demonstrated in news reporting on the candidates?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1.  and 2.  Opinion questions. Answers vary.

3.  In his article, Mr. Pennington presents bias by omission, story selection and spin.